BetVictor’s Charlie McCann looks at York’s Dante meeting Day One
The feature event on the opening Day of York’s Dante meeting is the Group 2 Duke of York Stakes and thirteen sprinters will hurdle down the Knavesmire in search of the £70,000 first prize.
Magical Memory won the corresponding race 12 months ago and would have got a narrow vote for the contest (9/2 with BetVictor) had it not been for the threat of significant rain on Wednesday. Charlie Hills’ grey had a prep run before taking this prestigious event last season and the combination of rain-softened ground and seasonal reappearance is enough
Brando (3.35) made a winning reappearance when cutting down Ornate in the Abernant Stakes at HQ last month for Kevin Ryan.
The selection (11/4 at BetVictor) has run five times at York and never got his head in front but he won the Ayr Gold Cup carrying 9st 10lbs on good to soft ground last autumn and he receives 5lbs from his subsequent Ascot conqueror The Tin Man who likes to hear his hooves rattle.
The unbeaten Shutter Speed won her maiden on soft ground but she bounced off the ground when winning a Conditions race at Newbury last time when she had stablemate and subsequent Cheshire Oaks winner Enable three lengths away. The filly is 2/5 to make it three out of three in today’s Musidora Stakes, but the Irish raider Vociferous Marina (4.05) showed improved form when winning the listed Salsabil Stakes at Navan last time. At 11/2, I would prefer to back the Irish raider each way with BetVictor rather than the odds on favourite despite the market leader’s maiden win on soft ground.
The form of the selection’s Navan win was franked when the runner up (Pocketfullofdreams) finished runner-up in the Lingfield Oaks Trial at the weekend in a race where she travelled like much the best horse in the race although her stamina ultimately gave way in the final furlong.
In the opener Al Neksh is the 6/1 market leader for William Haggas and this lightly-raced sort will be a big danger to all if the rains stay away. Two For Two has been knocking on the door and is interesting at the foot of the weights but I thought Repercussion (2.20) looked ready for a return to further when finishing sixth on his British debut at Newmarket over a mile last time and at 8/1 with BetVictor he can reward each way support for Charlie Fellowes.
In the 6f sprint, I am going to take a chance on the stands’ rail being the place to be as is often the case on good to soft or soft ground. Northgate Lad (2.55) looked to be coming to hand when finishing third at Pontefract over the minimum trip last time, and the Brian Ellison sprinter gets the each way vote (20/1 with BetVictor).
There is significant rain also forecast for Worcester and Druid’s Folly (2.30) makes his chasing debut for Fergal O’Brien and must go close if adapting to the larger obstacles. The selection is often well backed but does act on soft ground and was highly thought of earlier on in his career.
There should be perfect racing ground at Perth this evening and Just Before Dawn (6.05) can go one better than when runner up at Kempton back in March for Tom George and Adrian Heskin. The selection was coming back from a long break on that occasion and this Bumper/Pointer winner has been given plenty of time to get over those exertions.
I like the booking of Brian Hughes for Clan Chief (6.35) in the handicap chase over two miles. The selection has bits of form which suggest he could be very well treated from his current mark and it will be interesting to see if there is any market support.
Ryalex (7.35) was the horse who fell heavily at Carlisle on March 9th breaking the collarbone and wrist of Derek Fox. History tells us that the jockey recovered in time to ride One For Arthur to Grand National success a month later but I feel the combination can take the 2m 4f handicap chase as long as they are still on speaking terms.
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