Egan puts International Stakes glory above cash after York win atop Mishriff

David Egan banked at least £500,000 when Mishriff won the Saudi Cup in February and perhaps a 10th as much when the same horse ran away with the International Stakes here on Wednesday, but the clear-eyed 22-year-old rider had no doubts about which had been the better day at the races. “This horse means everything to me, he’s going to make my career, hopefully,” Egan said. “This is my best day at the race track. The money doesn’t matter, it’s all about the horse.”

Many of the sport’s most famous middle-distance performers have won this race but few have done so as smoothly and easily as Mishriff, who was eased down a few strides from the line but still passed the post six lengths in front of Alenquer. Love, who stepped in as a late substitute for St Mark’s Basilica when her stable companion was ruled out on Monday, was six-and-a-half lengths behind the winner in third.

A fit and healthy St Mark’s Basilica would, in all probability, have given Mishriff and Egan more to think about – they finished nearly four lengths behind him in the Eclipse Stakes at Sandown in July, after all – but Mishriff has now won at the highest level in France, Dubai and England, taking his career earnings past £11m. With races including the Arc, Breeders’ Cup Turf and Japan Cup under consideration later in the year, Arrogate’s all-time record of £13.6m in prize money could soon be under threat.

“He’s had this strange year where he raced in a truncated season last year, then he raced in the winter and we gave him a holiday, now he’s run in the middle of summer,” John Gosden, the winner’s trainer, said.

“If I’m going to go deep into the autumn, I’ve got to take a pull with him, freshen him again through September. He’s having to run in sort of segments, with holidays in between. I think he’s right up there [with the best Gosden has trained]. To win over a mile and a furlong on the dirt [in the Saudi Cup] and beat the Americans, and then come here and do this, he’s a super horse.”

Yibir returned to form after a disappointing run at Glorious Goodwood to land the Group Two Great Voltigeur Stakes, but the traditional path toward the St Leger for winners of this race is closed off to Charlie Appleby’s three‑year-old as he was gelded earlier in the year. The Mediterranean, however, who stayed on well to finish a length‑and‑a‑quarter behind Yibir, has been cut from 33-1 to 10-1 to give Aidan O’Brien a seventh win in the Doncaster Classic.

“The reason we keep running him is because he just shows us so much potential in the mornings,” Appleby said. “He might go to America now for the [Grade One] Jockey Club Stakes [in mid-September]. He’s a gelding now and he’s hopefully around for a few years and we’ll have a bit of fun with him.”

The Darley Yorkshire Oaks on the Knavesmire on Thursday looks like a straightforward head-to-head between Snowfall and Wonderful Tonight and the question for punters is whether there is really as much as the betting suggests between the two previous Group One winners in the field.

Snowfall is priced up at around 2-5 while Wonderful Tonight (3.35), who has thrived since winning the Filly & Mares race on Champions Day last year, can be backed at 5-1. The ground may be a little faster than she prefers but David Menuisier’s filly has only 3lb to find with Snowfall on the official ratings. The form of Aidan O’Brien’s runners on Wednesday, with Love and High Definition both well beaten, is also a concern for favourite backers.

York 1.50 Hello You was well backed to turn around Royal Ascot form with Sandrine when the two fillies lined up for the Duchess of Cambridge Stakes last month but finished another half-length further adrift. Sandrine’s 3lb penalty for her cosy win there should bring them a little closer together but Andrew Balding’s filly looks likely to extend her unbeaten record to four starts.

York 2.25 The usual tricky puzzle in this valuable sales race, with a wide range of abilities on show and half the field priced up at 50-1 or bigger. A draw in stall 16 is a tricky obstacle for Wings Of War to overcome, but he has more scope for improvement than most of his rivals with just two runs behind him and had plenty in hand when breaking his duck at Newmarket last time.

York 3.00 The big betting race of the day and perhaps the moment for Escobar to end a long losing run. David O’Meara’s gelding is well suited to big fields and looked as good as ever when third behind Maydanny in the Golden Mile last time. He scarcely came off the bridle when successful over track and trip from a 4lb lower mark in 2019 and 14-1 is a fair price to reverse the Goodwood form on 8lb better terms.

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