George Baker is eyeing up a tilt at the Sky Bet Ebor with Cemhaan following his gallant effort in the Copper Horse Handicap at Royal Ascot.
The six-year-old has been somewhat of a stable star for Baker, winning five of his 18 starts since joining the the Robins Farm handler from John Gosden in 2020 and this year competing at the Royal meeting for the second successive season.
He bettered last year’s seventh in the Duke of Edinburgh Stakes, with a fine effort to finish third in the opening day’s concluding contest – a run which can be marked up given the impressive nature of the winner Vauban and the fact Cemhaan only lost second in the dying strides when pipped to the runner-up spot by another Willie Mullins-trained runner, Absurde.
“It was a wonderful run,” said Baker.
“I thought a leg had fallen off because he drifted so much. I genuinely thought he was around a 20-1 chance and to see him on the boards at 66-1, you do wonder if a leg has actually fallen off.
“He ran a hell of a race and he has been a star for us. He’s been in great form recently and Pat Cosgrave gave him a lovely ride. Pat said he would have been second if he hadn’t had to commit to chase the mighty Vauban which just paid in the last 20 yards and we got done for second, but it was a huge run and we were clear of rest.
“Take out the annoying Mr Mullins – who luckily is a mate of mine – and we have won the race really nicely.”
Delighted with his charge’s performance, Baker now feels the £500,000 Ebor on August 26 is the obvious long-term target for his ever-improving son of Muhaarar and options ahead of the valuable York contest include possible trips to Germany and France next month, or even an early sighter of the Knavesmire in the John Smith’s Cup on July 15.
He continued: “We’ve got much to look forward to and the Ebor would be the obvious plan. We’ll revolve the season around that.
“He’s in a Group race in Germany in July and he’s in the John Smith’s Cup which is back to a mile and a quarter, but I think this horse is pretty flexible and a mile and a quarter up to one-mile-six and maybe even further is fine for him.
“For now, all roads lead to the Ebor and if we have a run in July, we may sneak over to Germany or France for a Group race. That may make sense as some of those sometimes do cut up between festivals.
“He’s an exciting horse and we’re lucky to have him.”