Best Bets For York Dante Festival – Thursday 18th May 2017

Day two up at York on the Knavesmire for the race the meeting is named after the Dante Stakes this afternoon. I wanted to back So Mi Dar in the Group Two Middelton Stakes and Cracksman in the Group 2 Dante Stakes but neither will be lining up so I am leaving the races alone.

As for the Middelton Queen's Trust and Smart Call are good fillies.

Crystal Ocean trained my Sir Michael Stoute has been all the rage the last few days without stepping foot on a racecourse following a glowing Gallops report ‘lightly-raced colt worked with éclat ahead of the Betfred Dante Stakes at York.’ His odds for this ‘trial’ and the Derby at Epsom shrinking quicker than a silk shirt in the boil wash. He will need to win this in style to back-up the hype. Nicola McGeady of Ladbrokes said earlier this week: “There has been a really interesting gamble for Crystal Ocean in both the Dante and the Derby, forcing us to cut his odds for both. If he wins the Dante well, we reckon he could possibly be the favourite for the Derby.” As it stands he won a maiden at Nottingham in which the second has come out and won a maiden since but the other five to run again from that race have all been well beaten so I would advise a watching brief.

I have been trying to get a win out of Chelsea Lad all season but the four-year-old pulled-up lame last time at Newbury when going well having been my fancy for the Lincoln where he didn’t get in. He is due to go in the Listed Hambleton Handicap at 4.05 drawn in one. It is hoped that he is fully recovered from Newbury as I am on at 8-1 being convinced he can win a race such as this sooner rather than later – did win his maiden on good-soft.

At 4.35 the sprinters are out over the five for the Listed British Stallion Studs EBF Westow Stakes. Ardad simply has to be considered off the back of his G.2 Flying Childers Stakes victory last back end at Doncaster, Afandem fourth. The Gosden colt was beaten fair and square in the G.2 Gimcrack Stakes won by Blue Point (impressive at Ascot recently) over the six here in the summer which is a slight concern but there is nothing of the quality of the Godolphin colt here and five furlongs looks to be his game. Won the Listed Windsor Castle Stakes on soft at the Royal meeting, get on at 11-4.  

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