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Dante Festival Day 3 Tips – Through the Card Selections at York on Friday

Wobwobwob ridden by Tom Marquand wins the Sky Bet Handicap during day one of the Dante Festival at York Racecourse.

York’s excellent Dante Festival concludes on Friday with Day 3’s card featuring a final seven fascinating races. Our expert has provided through the card selections for the Friday action on the Knavesmire, which you can check out below, along with Sky Bet‘s new customer offer of £30 In Free Bets, when you place any bet.


YAHSAT – (1.50 York, Knights Solicitors British EBF Marygate Fillies’ Stakes) 8/1

A typically competitive renewal of this Listed contest and Carmela looks an interesting contender for David Loughnane on the back of her Yarmouth debut win.

Preference instead goes to YAHSAT, however, who has looked all speed in her brief career on the track to date.

Karl Burke’s filly looked desperately unlucky not to make a winning debut at Newmarket when nabbed in the shadows of the post, but what caught the eye that day was her ability to quicken when it looked as though she was about to be swallowed up by the chasing pack.

The third has franked that form since, and Yahsat did her bit for the formbook when going in (albeit at prohibitive odds) at Pontefract just over a fortnight ago. She beat just the three rivals’ home that day (all debutantes) but it was still a very impressive success when considering she veered badly to her right and it’s notable that the third and fourth home have both won since.

That extra experience may just be crucial here, and therefore at an each-way price she looks the one to be with.


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PERFECT NEWS – (2.25 York, Oaks Farm Stables Fillies’ Stakes) 7/2

Grande Dame looked a potentially smart filly when scoring at Ascot on debut 16 days ago and an entry in the Coronation Stakes suggests that connections like her quite a bit.

Whilst that may be the case, however, she is priced up on potential rather than form and the one to beat here is surely the 100-rated PERFECT NEWS.

The second foal out of Lowther winner Besharah, Perfect News has long shaped like a filly who’d benefit from stepping up to a mile, and she wasn’t far behind subsequent 1000 Guineas winner Cachet in the Nell Gwyn on last month’s 3yo debut.

That came in Group 3 company, but she is dropped into a Listed contest here and her form figures below Group level currently read 211. Tom Marquand maintains the partnership here and her stable love having winners on the Knavesmire, so there’s every chance that they’ve long had their eye on this race for Perfect News.


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ROGUE BEAR – (3.00 York, Paddy Power “I Love Steak” Stakes) 3/1

Connections seem to have resisted the urge to up Belloccio to pattern level after the gelding’s recent Kempton handicap success, and given he contested races like the Dante and King Edward VII last year they clearly feel he has a chance of scoring in Group company at some stage.

He must be respected but would almost certainly prefer softer ground than that he is expected to encounter and therefore the vote goes to ROGUE BEAR.

Tom Clover’s charge was thrice a winner in 2021 and whilst he’s yet to get off the mark this campaign he has been highly tried in both the Lincoln and Spring Cup, finishing a close third on both occasions. The handicapper has raised him 2lb for that latest effort, but Rogue Bear looks almost certain to benefit from going up to this 1m2f trip for the first time, with his dam racing at up to 1m6f on the all-weather.

The remainder is either making their seasonal reappearance or arriving with questions to answer and therefore Rogue Bear looks a solid bet to land the spoils.


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SEARCH FOR A SONG – (3.35 York, Paddy Power Yorkshire Cup Stakes) 5/1

All eyes are on Stradivarius who’s currently 5-5 on the Knavesmire and a dual previous winner of this race. He is almost certainly at his best over further than 1m6f, however, and lacks a recent run, which at the age of 8yo may now be required.

The call is to oppose the favourite with SEARCH FOR A SONG, a classy mare who has twice landed the Irish St. Leger.

Dermot Weld’s charge tends to need her first start back from a break (0-4 on the back of 100+ day absences), so it was a little surprising to see her so short in the betting for the Listed Vintage Crop at Navan last month, and whilst ultimately beaten there, better can be expected today with the outing under her belt.

She’s unlikely to be as disadvantaged as many with this track, trip, and ground, and on official ratings actually fares best at the weights, so there appears on paper to be plenty in her favour.


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SPEYCASTER – (4.10 York, Paddy Power “Fill Thi Boots” Handicap) 10/1

Wild Crusade had a subsequent Listed winner behind on penultimate start and although workmanlike last time you get the impression that he’s a horse that only does the bare minimum.

He can be expected to go well here off a mark of 88 but looks plenty short enough in the betting considering he’s yet to race on turf and it might just pay to oppose him with SPEYCASTER.

Rob Hornby’s mount was off the mark at Chelmsford on his final juvenile start and looked a huge eyecatcher when third at Nottingham on reappearance, looking set to fall out of the back of the telly at one stage before rallying for third.

He has ground to make up with Al Qareem on that running, but given the 1-2 that day essentially filled those positions throughout the race and he raced stone last for much of it, it’s safe to say that it wasn’t run to suit him.

Going up 2f will be of great benefit to Speycaster and if they manage to go off hard on the front end expect to see him finishing faster than most late on.


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SIR MAXI – (4.45 York, Yorkshire Equine Practice Handicap) 14/1

Challet is a fascinating runner dropped to 7f, which appears to be a good move.

He’s just one of quite a number of potential pace angles, however, and it’s hoped that they go quick enough here to set things up for the closing SIR MAXI.

Richard Fahey’s 4yo hasn’t won since October 2020 but he went close on the all-weather this winter and has carried his form onto turf, building on a Catterick sixth when runner-up at Musselburgh last time out.

The enterprisingly ridden winner just got first run on Sir Maxi that last day, yet he continued to close on the dash to the line which, given how far back he came from, looks like a performance worth upgrading.

Sir Maxi clearly has races in him when everything drops right, and if those circumstances occur this afternoon, his current odds look a shade too big.


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CRUSH AND RUN – (5.20 York, Longines Irish Champions Weekend Handicap) 9/1

Meredif is bred to be better than a mark of 79 and represents a yard in flying form, so must be respected.

At more than double her current price, however, the vote instead goes to CRUSH AND RUN.

This lad has a very speedy pedigree being closely related to sprinter Primo Uomo and he caught the eye at Nottingham last time when bumping into a potentially smart rival in Sandbeck.

The front two pulled over 3l clear of the remainder that day, so it was no real surprise to see the handicapper push Crush And Run up 4lb as a result, yet connections have enlisted the services of George Rooke here, who negates 3lb of that additional weight.

Blinkers now go on Crush And Run for the first time and if the headgear manages to bring about even a small amount of improvement then he is almost certain to go close.


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York Dante Festival Day 3 Tips

YAHSAT – (1.50 York, Knights Solicitors British EBF Marygate Fillies’ Stakes) 8/1

PERFECT NEWS – (2.25 York, Oaks Farm Stables Fillies’ Stakes) 7/2

ROGUE BEAR – (3.00 York, Paddy Power “I Love Steak” Stakes) 3/1

SEARCH FOR A SONG – (3.35 York, Paddy Power Yorkshire Cup Stakes) 5/1

SPEYCASTER – (4.10 York, Paddy Power “Fill Thi Boots” Handicap) 10/1

SIR MAXI – (4.45 York, Yorkshire Equine Practice Handicap) 14/1

CRUSH AND RUN – (5.20 York, Longines Irish Champions Weekend Handicap) 9/1


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