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Dante Festival: Future Winners

Hi all,

In today’s main piece, you’ll find three potential future winners from last week’s Dante Festival at York.

Insights from the Dante Festival

The York Dante Festival offered much more to analyse than the Chester meeting from the previous week. Although we didn’t witness any future Derby or Oaks winners in the Dante or Musidora Stakes, the festival still highlighted some impressive performances.

The meeting got underway on Wednesday on good ground which had quickened up to good to firm on Friday. It paid to be handy on the round course on all three days of the meeting.

Let’s begin with my two standout performances from the three days.

The race produced a likely future Group 1 winner in Economics. However, it seems unlikely that he will be supplemented for the Epsom Derby, as he was withdrawn from that race just before last week’s race.

Middleton Fillies' Stakes:

The Group 2 Middleton Fillies' Stakes showcased a standout performance by Bluestocking. Often the bridesmaid last season, finishing runner-up in both the Irish Oaks and the Fillies & Mares on Champions Day, the four-year-old returned to winning ways for the first time since her racecourse debut in September 2022.

Bluestocking appeared in the paddock looking like she would improve with the run, not yet fully in her summer coat. Nevertheless, she quickened clear of her rivals one furlong out to win by an impressive six lengths. The drop back to 1m 2½f didn’t inconvenience her, and she seems set for a good season ahead. A Group 1 victory, which has so far eluded her, appears to be well within reach in the coming months.

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Duke Of York Clipper Stakes:

Mill Stream clinched the Group 2 Duke Of York Clipper Stakes in a dramatic finish. He edged out Shouldvebeenaring by a nose, with Diligent Harry and Washington Heights close behind. The winner, runner-up, and fourth are all expected to compete in the Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot, while Diligent Harry may drop back to 5f for the King Charles III Stakes (formerly the King's Stand). With no standout contender in the Jubilee Stakes, all three, along with Azure Blue (who finished seventh and was conceding race fitness), have strong claims.

Musidora Stakes:

Secret Satire won what was a sub-standard Group 2 Musidora Stakes. While the winner is likely to head to the Oaks, her victory was more about speed than stamina, raising doubts about her ability to stay the 1m 4f trip. Runner-up Francophone and third-place Classical Song appear to be stronger stayers based on their pedigrees, with the latter also conceding race fitness to the other two fillies.

Boodles Yorkshire Cup:

Giavellotto showed his liking for York by securing back-to-back wins in Friday’s Yorkshire Cup. His cause was helped by the short-priced favourite Tower Of London producing a below-par performance. Giavellotto’s trainer Marco Botti has indicated that he won’t be heading to the Ascot Gold Cup, as he doesn't stay further than two miles and is better over 1m 6f. The Irish St Leger in September is a possible target, provided the ground is good or quicker. Third home Gregory, returning from an eight-month absence, seemed like he needed 2m+ and would be a contender for the Ascot Gold Cup as long as the ground is on the quick side of good. It will probably pay to draw a line through Tower Of London’s run and I’m sure he’ll bounce back before too long.

Dante Festival: Future Winners

The segment many of you will be most interested in. Here’s my idea of some future winners from the Dante Festival.  I have put up ten in my tracker and here are three of them.  One from each day of the meeting.


Percy Shelley – David O’Meara

Percy Shelley, a three-time winner when trained in France, has yet to score in five starts for David O’Meara. However, his performance in the opening 1m 4f handicap on Wednesday showed promise. He finished 6th out of 13, 8½ lengths behind the winner, Crystal Delight. Although probably not straightforward, he did best of the hold-up horses. Percy Shelly appears to be on a winnable mark when he gets a stronger pace to chase.


Clarendon House was an impressive winner of the opening 5f handicap. He is expected to go for the Epsom Dash, a race in which he finished a close third last year. Connections are also considering bringing him back here for the Group 1 Nunthorpe Stakes in August. Additionally, keep an eye on Bergerac, who in the same race was slowly away and didn’t get the best of runs between the final two furlongs. In the circumstances he did well to get as close as he did to the winner.

The concluding 1m 4f handicap went the way of the Aidan O’Brien trained London City.  A winner of a Dundalk maiden on his seasonal return the colt improved to win on handicap debut. He looks like he can progress again for the step up to 1m 6f and he could go for the Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot. If he was to win there he would emerge as a St Leger contender.

My future winner from Thursday’s card is once again trained by David O’Meara.

Bopedro – David O’Meara

Bopedro did best of the hold-up horses when finishing 3½ lengths 3rd of 17 to the all-the-way winner Point Lynas in the mile handicap. He was doing his best work at the finish and is now down to his last winning mark. Bopedro is one to keep onside in big-field handicaps at Royal Ascot and throughout the summer.


Botanical dispelled concerns about quick ground by winning the 1m 2f handicap. Having improved from three to four, he won like a horse with the potential to become a Group-level performer this season.

Devoted Queen was a decisive winner of the Listed Sky Bet Fillies Stakes. The daughter of Kingman is now three from three and continues to progress. With no outstanding three-year-old mile filly this season, she could be a contender for the Group 1 Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Vantheman – Kevin Ryan

Vantheman had improved for the drop back to 5f when beating five rivals at Newcastle on is seasonal reappearance and progressed again when a 1 ¼ length 2nd of 17 in Friday’s concluding five furlong handicap. He took a 7lb rise for his Newcastle win in his stride and despite an awkward start was soon disputing the lead in the near side group. Given the three that finished around were drawn low his effort can be marked up a bit. The Palace Of Holyroodhouse Handicap at Royal Ascot looks an obvious target. The 5f track at Ascot suits prominent racers and he goes well on quick ground.

All the above horses have shown significant potential during the Dante Festival and are worth following closely in their upcoming races. More insights on future winners next Tuesday.

Tuesday Racing

There are six fixtures on Tuesday, three of them over jumps and three on the flat.  I have no intention of going through the NH cards and none of the Brighton races are better than Class 5. The Cork card is moderate. However, 97 horses have been declared for its 8 races and it looks competitive if moderate racing floats your boat.


For those of you who like systems I have a qualifier from one I have in horseracebase running at Cork this evening

The system I’m sharing with you today is a very simple one as you’ll see.

The system had another winner at Newmarket on Sunday with Woodhay Wonder. Today’s qualifier is Kendall Roy in the 5:20 at Cork.


Trainer Ben Brookhouse has a good record with his runners at Nottingham – 5 winners from 13 runners +38.58 since he started training. He saddles four on today’s card. His best chance of a sixth win could be with Sarsons Risk (4:10).

Sarsons Risk did too much out in front when last seen in action at Lingfield 52 days ago. The cheekpieces go on for the first time and if you forgive his latest run he’s competitively weighted on the best of his form and handles quick ground.

Tuesday Selection:


4:10 – Sarsons Risk.

In Wednesday’s column I’ll be looking ahead to the weekend’s big race action and on Thursday I’ll be delving into what seems to be a murky Derby and Oaks picture.

Good luck with your Tuesday bets.


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