Channon stars bound for York

Elidor and Harlequeen are likely to spearhead the Mick Channon team for York’s Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival next week.

Elidor is on course for the Ebor after his win at Goodwood

Owned by Jon and Julia Aisbitt, Elidor is set to contest the Betfred Ebor, the showpiece event on Saturday 20 August, with a prize fund of £280,000 this mile and six furlong feature is Europe’s richest flat handicap.

The son of Cape Cross has been a star for the West Ilsley-based trainer, winning the 2013 renewal of the King George V Handicap at Royal Ascot and just last month returning to form with a gutsy win in the £100,000 Summer Handicap at Goodwood.

Elidor has also proven himself at Pattern race level and finished just a length behind subsequent Hardwicke Stakes winner Dartmouth in the Group Three Ormonde Stakes at Chester.

Michael Channon Jnr, son and assistant to trainer Mick, said: “The Ebor is the plan for Elidor and he has been perfect since Goodwood. We haven’t done much with him – just kept him happy and fresh.

“He is has a four pound penalty for his Goodwood win and obviously a fair bit of weight on his back. That said, he is a class horse – he was beaten just a length by Dartmouth in the Ormonde Stakes.

“After that run at Chester he ran poorly twice and we gave him a thorough MOT. Nothing came to light and he bounced back at Goodwood. If the same Elidor as that, turns up a York, he’s in with a chance.”

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Elidor finished third in the 2014 renewal of the race behind Mutual Regard and is available with the sponsor at a starting price of 14/1.

Channon is also looking to saddle Harlequeen in the £340,000 Darley Yorkshire Oaks, the feature on Ladies Day (Thursday 18 August).

Having finished fourth in the Tattersalls Musidora on the Knavesmire in May, the daughter of Canford Cliffs was placed in both the Investec and Darley Irish Oaks, before a narrow defeat in Group Three company at Cork.

She seems none the worse for that effort and Channon Jnr is relishing the prospect of stepping her up to the top level again.

He said: “Harlequeen is a very good filly – she could travel with anything and has a very high cruising speed.

“We were disappointed that she couldn’t win at Cork – there is no such thing as an easy Group race but having been placed in both Oaks we were hopeful that she would go there and win.

“She didn’t but she has returned in great shape and is worthy of her place in the line up next week. She has proved that already. She is versatile regarding ground and the track should suit.”

The Channon team are never afraid to shirk a challenge and having runners at the big meetings is what it’s all about for them.

On the Welcome to Yorkshire Ebor Festival, Channon Jnr added: “It’s a great meeting – one of the highlight’s of the year and somewhere everyone wants a winner.”

The four-day festival takes place between August 17-20 inclusive.

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