Following a winning day Wednesday with two winners from three bets my concentration is back on the Knavesmire at York Thursday for day two of the Dante Festival.
Group Two Middleton Stakes at 2.55 over 1m2f for the fillies has some decent types lining-up. Coronet was in with some of the best last year but this trip may be a tadge on the sharp side for her. Mori was second to Coronet in the 1m4f G.2 Ribblesdale Stakes last term at the Royal meeting headed in the shadow of the post. You can forgive her last two starts in 2017 as they were on ground too soft for her and the good-firm here will suit much better and I think the distance is her ideal. We all know Stoute is a master of getting more out of his horses as they mature and I think the daughter of Frankel out of the top-class racemare Midday, who claimed this prize in 2011, can gain revenge for that Ascot defeat in this and have taken the 7-2 about her doing so.
The race the meeting is named after the group Two Dante Stakes is due off at 3.30 over the mile-and-a-quarter trip. Regarded by many as one of the main Derby trials Golden Horn, Authorized, Motivator and North Light have won this prior to Epsom glory since the turn of the century while Workforce was of course beaten here before going on to triumph at Epsom in 2010. Qatar Racing owned grey Roaring Lion arrives top rated and will be the jolly but does look potentially vulnerable to my eyes. Third in the Craven and fifth in the 2,000 Guineas, he may be vulnerable to an improver here. Nordic Lights, will need to improve a lot from what we have seen so far. The Charlie Appleby trained chestnut has won both his starts to this season, having not run as a two-year-old, a 1m2f Lingfield polytrack maiden in March following up over the same trip under a penalty at Newmarket the following month. At 11-1 I am prepared to take a chance each-way in what is quite an open-affair I think.
The speedsters are out for the Listed Westow Stakes over five furlongs at 4.35. I tipped Sound And Silence 15 days ago for the G.3 Pavilion Stakes at Ascot where the colt never really got involved over the six; underfoot conditions went against him. Three of four career wins over five furlongs on good or good-firm ground, one over this track and trip in a Listed heat, so no excuses today. Slight concern that Buick has chosen Roussel but at 12-1 I am on each-way. Declarationofpeace coming over from Ireland for the Ballydoyle ‘lads’ is feared as is the filly Main Desire making her 3yo bow.