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Daryl Carter’s Best Bets – Thursday, 18th May

Top Tipster Daryl Carter gives a trio of selections for Day Two of York’s Dante Meeting, including a confident NAP selection in the opener.

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Posted: 4.10pm May 16th (Odds correct at time posted)

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1.50 York – ILLUSIONIST *NAP* (1.5pt win – 9/1 Bet365, 8/1 generally)

Korker is very much respected, having won the second time out for the last two years and returning to his favoured York, but there is no better-handicapped horse than ILLUSIONIST in this race, and he is taken to enhance his excellent York record after his eye-catching seasonal return at Ripon. He won this race last year off a two-pound lower rating at wild odds of 33/1 for this column despite being slowly away and rousted along in the early part of the race. He should have followed up at Newcastle when a lack of pace caught him out, finishing all too late, and this progressive six-year-old is drawn well down the centre of the track today with plenty of pace to aim at.

He is a horse to back at York despite having scored elsewhere with his last two visits resulting in victory. His run in this race in 2021 saw him gambled on but ridden too prominently as he hit his flat spot and ran on again at the finish. Sam James had clearly learned from that having dropped him out on his next visit to score over course and distance and his effort in October 2020 saw him fly home for a narrow 3rd off of today’s rating of 90. Many of these are handicapped to their best, but with the front-running Copper Knight drawn close in one, and the speedy Clarendon House in seven, he should be in the right place in stall four, and older horses carrying less than 9st have had a good recent record. Mondammej (behind the selection at Ripon could easily improve for the run and is eight pounds better off with Korker for their meeting in the Listed City Of Wall Stakes last year (finished ahead of him) and rates the main threat.

Lindum York Handicap

3.35 York – WHITE BIRCH (1pt E/W – 10/1 generally) + PASSENGER (1.5pt win – 11/2 generally)

PASSENGER to win the Epsom Derby (1pt win – 16/1 ante-post generally)

Quite how WHITE BIRCH is a double-figure priced runner is baffling, given he arguably has some of the strongest form in the book with his Group 3 Ballysax victory at Leopardstown. The runner-up has since chased home 12/1 Derby chance Sprewell (beaten just three lengths), while the third was a good winner of a strong Galway Maiden on debut, and the fourth chased home unlucky Chester Vase runner-up Alder at Cork before being narrowly touched off in Listed company next time. White Birch had absolutely no right to win his latest assignment, having been held up well off a slow gallop and overcame interference in the home straight. That race has produced a handful of Derby contenders in the past, and he is no back number here now, tackling a sounder surface which should see him to even better effect. He was a huge eye-catcher on debut behind the above-mentioned Spreywell, and there’s plenty more to come from him, granted a solid pace today.

The fact that PASSENGER was supplemented for this at the cost of £14,000 in a bid to follow in the footsteps of stablemate Desert Crown does catch the eye. He would have been on my Betfair ante-post Derby list had he been priced up by the Sportsbook after a taking display at Newmarket, but he is yet to be supplemented for the and given he is not on their list, I wouldn’t mind adding him to this column having been priced up by a firms at a general 16/1 chance. That form undoubtedly needs to be improved on significantly, but this standard is not set beyond his reach with natural improvement given how his race compared to the Craven Stakes run on the same card and his final furlong was much stronger than Idestructable and The Foxes – the latter he meets here and is a similar price. To win on debut at Newmarket is a feat in itself. Still, he was so professional and straightforward and well-balanced, and given the effortless nature of jockey Ryan Moore using hand and heels riding, it was hard to ignore. Flying Honours is not as clear as the market makes him, particularly on this reappearance and on the bare form of his Flying Zetland victory, while Epictetus’ return run at Epsom was below par. There’s not a stack of promise in this race, in all honesty, and Passenger could be about to put in a hell of a run.

Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Dante Stakes (Group 2)

Daryl Carter’s Best Bets

1.50 York – ILLUSIONIST *NAP* (1.5pt win – 9/1 Bet365, 8/1 generally)

3.35 York – WHITE BIRCH (1pt E/W – 10/1 generally) + PASSENGER (1.5pt win – 11/2 generally)

PASSENGER to win the Epsom Derby (1pt win – 16/1 ante-post generally)

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