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York Dante Festival – Day 1

Morning all,

The start of the three-day York Dante meeting and the feature race is the Musidora Stakes (3.35). Impressive Sandown winner Emily Upjohn faces four rivals as she bids to enhance her Oaks claims. They include Newbury maiden winner Life Of Dreams and the Aidan O’Brien trained filly The Algarve.  The other highlight of a seven-race card is the Group 2 1895 Duke Of York Clipper Logistics Stakes (3.00).

Inside today’s main piece I look ahead at the day’s action at the Knavesmire. If you’re lucky enough to be not working today you can watch the first five races from York on ITV4.

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York Dante Festival – Day 1

3:35 – Tattersalls Musidora Stakes (Group 3) – 1m 2 ½ f

Emily Upjohn has won both career starts and last time out comfortably saw off 11 rivals to win by nearly ten lengths at Sandown.  The daughter of Sea The Stars is open to plenty of improvement, looks the most likely winner, albeit the second at Sandown has been beaten in a maiden. Where she to win nicely here she could well be the Oaks favourite after the race.  That said she does face two potentially smart fillies in Live The Dream and The Algarve.  Both of whom possess excellent pedigrees.

Live The Dream looked above average when winning at Newbury on her racecourse debut. In liked her a lot that day and I think she can prove a lot better than that bare form. The Algarve got off the mark at the third attempt when winning a Galway maiden (heavy) last October. It will be interesting to how well she’s progressed from two to three. Give the form of the Aidan O’Brien it’s a surprise to see her as big in the betting as she is.

3:00 – Duke Of York Clipper Logistics Stakes (Group 2) – 6f

Dragon Symbol is having his first start since switching from Archie Watson to Roger Varian.  The 4-year-old placed in three Group 1 sprints last season. Today’s ground should be fine and if he’s ready to roll first time looks the one to beat on from.

Emaraaty Ana relished the fast ground when winning the Group 1 Betfair Sprint Cup at Haydock. Prior to that success the 6-year-old had finished runner-up to Winter Power in the Nunthorpe here over 5f. His Group 1 success means he has 5lb penalty to carry which makes life tough and he hardly beat a rival on his two starts at Meydan.

Garrus has fitness on his side and looked as good as ever when a short head 2nd of 8 in the Group 3 Abernant Stakes at Newmarket last month. Good ground suits and Ryan Moore takes the ride.  The blinkers go on for the first time and if the headgear has the desired effect he could get into the places.

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Minzaal comes into the race with most upside. The 4-year-old won the Gimcrack over C&D as a juvenile. He wasn’t seen out until October last season and only had two runs. The best of them came on his final start when a 2-length 3rd of 20 to Creative Force in the Group 1 Champions Sprint at Ascot. He looked a smart sprint prospect for this season that day and could be a Champion sprinter in the making. If he’s ready to roll first time up he can win this.

There are four competitive handicaps on the York card this afternoon and that where I’m going for today’s nap.

4:45 – Conundrum HR Consulting Handicap – 1m 4f

A few of these come into the race with questions to answer. One who doesn’t is El Picador who bounced back from a poor effort to win at Musselburgh 13-days ago. He’s up 4lb for that win but shouldn’t be far away if liking the track.

The fact that Eagle Court is as short as 7/1 shows the lack of depth to the race. He should be sharper for his Newbury reappearance and is nicely treated on the best of last season’s form for his previous yard but he’s doesn’t find winning easy.

All five of Pearl Beach’s career wins have come on the all-weather. The last of them came at Newcastle two starts back. The mare returned from 9-month layoff and was just caught on the line when a short head 2nd of 6 at Wolverhampton 22-days ago.  If she can reproduce her consistent all-weather form on grass.

Obsidian Knight is the least experienced of the field but he shaped well enough when a 1 ¼ length 5th of 6 on his handicap debut at Lingfield two starts back. However, the 4-year-old ran to bad to be true back at the same venue last time. He’s on a workable mark but this is his first start on the grass.

Kihavah won twice over hurdles last winter and ran better than his 5-length 6th of 15 at Chester five days ago.  The slow pace didn’t suit him that day and today’s more galloping track should suit.

Highwaygrey has dropped down to a winning mark and he shaped better than his 6 ½ length 7th of 11 at Thirsk (1m 4f) suggests last month. He didn’t have a hard race once his chance had gone and the 6-year-old remains unexposed over 1m 4f.

Wednesday Selection:

Bath and Gowran Park complete today’  flat action and there are jumps fixtures at Newton Abbot, Worcester, and Perth.


4:45 – 1pt win – Highwaygrey – 15/2 @ Bet365.

Good luck with your Wednesday bets.


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