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York Dante Meeting – Day Two Through The Card Selections

The York Dante Meeting continues into it’s second day and GG Editor Jake Russell guides you through his selections & analysis for all 7 races on the card, including his picks for the Group 2 Dante Stakes.

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Odds correct at time of posting – 2.40pm Tuesday 16th May

Updated – 5.10pm Wednesday 17th May (4.45 + 5.15 selection prices added)

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1.50 – Lindum York Handicap (Class 2)

A competitive race to kick start Day 2 of York’s Dante Festival, although not particularly in form, you could make a case for most of these runners on a going day. However, I will side with Karl Burkes horse KORKER, who seems to always run well at this venue and did win at this meeting last year. Karl Burkes horses are going well at present, as the yard operate with a 21%-win strike rate for the last 14 days, and he tends to well at this course. Korker holds course form of 27213, and placed in the Listed City Of Walls Stakes last season, when coming out of gate 9. He has already had the run this season, finishing 10th of 13 runners in a Group 3 at Newmarket last time, and although the placings don’t suggest it, he wasn’t beaten far by just under 7 lengths on unsuitable conditions. Back down into company more suitable to him and on good conditions that he has won on previously, he will go well in this baring any issues.   

Lindum York Handicap

2.25 – Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Middleton Fillies’ Stakes (Group 2)

With pretty much all of the field in this having their first runs of the new season, it will be hard to judge who needs the run and who is fit enough to land a contest of this nature, and I think it could pay to side with FREE WIND in this. A horse who is a five-year-old, who is also very lightly raced, so she is clearly fragile, and the fact connections persist with her could be telling. She only had the one run last season (7 runs altogether in her career, 5 of them wins) which was in a very strong Group 2 Lancashire Oaks, where she beat Sea La Rosa by just under 3 lengths. That is decent enough form, and she obviously goes well fresh, and her career record speaks for itself. Although she hasn’t run since last July, that shouldn’t be any issue as her previous form suggests she goes well fresh. Toskana Belle is an interesting runner, the German Oaks winner has a new yard with Roger Varian, so she could be the young pretender to land her first Group contest in the UK at the first time of asking, and one to watch for the rest of the season.

Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Middleton Fillies’ Stakes (Group 2)

3.00 – Sky Bet Hambleton Handicap (Class 2)

A very wide-open contest, with 20 runners heading to post, this could be the contest to potentially throw up a bit of a priced winner. CROUPIER was one I thrown up for the Lincoln back in March, and it was clear that race was too hot for him coming last of the field, with conditions really not in his favour. He has blown the cobwebs away now, with that run under his belt I could see him improving as the season progresses in these sort of big field handicaps. Simon & Ed Crisford’s horses are going well at present with the strike rate of 20% for the last 14 days, and Champion Jockey William Buick is booked to ride Croupier in this, a very eye-catching bookie jockey considering Harry Burns has ridden him the last twice. I’m absolutely convinced he has a big race in him somewhere at this sort of level, and these better conditions will be there for him to suit should he take to York, but there is no reason why he shouldn’t.  

Sky Bet Hambleton Handicap

3.35 – Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Dante Stakes (Group 2)

A real headscratcher of a race to decipher who will win it, but it does look to have some star quality in it. This race is a Derby trial, so you need to ask yourself which horse is the best in the field that could go on to bigger and better things as the season goes on. Epicetus was workmanlike when winning the Blue Riband Trial at Epsom last time, where he was sent off a short price but only really just scraped home, he will be sure to come on for the run however. Flying Honours ran a fair bit as a two-year-old, and hails from connections who are very powerful, he probably has the best form on offer when winning the Group 3 Zetland at Newmarket on his last two-year-old start. But I’m willing to pick a horse who was a real eye catcher at Newmarket last time out, and that is CANBERRA LEGEND. He won the Listed Feildan Stakes last time out, and really sort of cruised to victory holding on well up to the line. That was only his second career start, and I feel there is more to come from this son of Australia. He looks to have to do a fair bit more on the ratings with the leaders in the market, but he is clearly unexposed and judging on his last run, I expect to see more from him, the more he steps up in trip. He is the one I will be keeping a close eye on in this.    

Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Dante Stakes (Group 2)

4.10 – British EBF 40th Anniversary Westow Stakes (Listed)

Some nice horses in this Listed contest, and some of the ones up there in the market were fairly well tried as a two-year-old last season. Walbank was talked about as a nice prospect, having placed at Group level, and he did get his first career win at York last May, he comes in this race off the back of a 290+ day layoff, but hails from top connections having an excellent season. Rocket Rodney ran a lot at Listed and Group level as a two-year-old, however didn’t win on many occasions, and was well fancied on some of those second placed finishes last season. I would look to take a chance on CHANGEOFMIND for Declan Carroll, who is two for two in his short career so far. He has a bit to prove on the bare form with some of these, but he only ran 22 days ago so clearly has fitness on his side. His win at Catterick last time was eye-catching, hanging left to win going away by 3 lengths. That clearly showed he is talented considering his antics in the race, and the form in behind has been franked nicely since (2nd and 4th have both won since, the pair winning nicely). He looks a nice prospect and is worth taking a chance on that he can improve past most of these.

British EBF 40th Anniversary Westow Stakes (Listed Race)

4.45 – Frank Whittle Partnership EBFstallions.com Maiden Stakes (Class 2)

A nice maiden with some big named trainers and owners having runners in this race. Amo Racing are one of those ownership groups that is really making waves in flat racing, and they could have another two-year-old winner on their hands with CUBAN THUNDER. They have already had plenty of two-year-old winners this season, and Dominic Ffrench Davies could have found a good opportunity for his Profitable Colt to win his first race. He was a decent 2nd on debut at Newmarket over 5 furlongs last month, finishing strongly to come second by just over a length to another useful looking prospect. Stepping up slightly further in trip will suit this horse, and I can see the Amo Racing bandwagon continuing with their two-year-olds, for a yard going very well at present (27% win strike rate for the last 14 days). 

Frank Whittle Partnership EBFstallions.com Maiden Stakes (GBB/IRE Incentive Race)

5.20 – Collective Green Energy Handicap (Class 3)

A Middle-distance contest to end Day 2 of York’s Dante Festival, could go the way of the powerhouse Godolphin pairing in Charlie Appleby and William Buick with TABARETTA. He has come on well with each passing run and won a decent enough class 4 contest over this trip at Wolverhampton last time out, with Mighty River a length in behind, always keeping on well heading to the line. Godolphin are being pretty persistent with this horse, and the Champion Jockey is booked to ride as he bids to defend his crown this season. This is a hard race to gauge to end the card, so a tentative vote goes the way of Tabaretta who could follow up his success from last time out.     

Collective Green Energy Handicap


1.50 – KORKER (8/1 generally)

2.25 – FREE WIND (13/8 generally)

3.00 – CROUPIER (12/1 generally)

3.35 – CANBERRA LEGEND (13/2 generally)

4.10 – CHANGEOFMIND (15/2 generally)

4.45 – CUBAN THUNDER (13/8 generally)

5.20 – TABARETTA (6/1 generally)

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