The Guineas are still fresh in the memory and the dust has hardly settled on the Chester Boodles May Festival but at this time of year the Flat season is relentless. This week we find ourselves in Yorkshire on the Knavesmire with the spotlight on York Racecourse and the three-day Dante Festival. Left-handed a pretty flat York is considered a fair course with powerful gallopers perhaps at an advantage on its wide track and sweeping turns. The run-in is just short of 5f so you shouldn’t see too many hard luck stories. ITV4 are trackside for all three days as well as coverage on Racing TV.
Day one looks really competitive with a couple of proper puzzler handicaps on the card alongside the Pattern races. My four fancies for the afternoons action follow.
Best bets for day one of the York Dante Festival
I have said before on this site Global Storm rarely runs a bad race and the chestnut gelding has turned into a decent handicapper; was third in the G.2 Dubai City Of Gold out at Meydan earlier this year which is solid form. Back to Handicap company today though off top-weight with an OR 106 Harry Davies in the saddle is taking off a valuable 7lb making it 99 effectively which gives the five-year-old a very good chance here. At 7-1 he is worth a punt. Gaassee was improving at a rate of knots over the winter and as one that may have more to offer yet is the obvious danger but is up to 94 now.
The 6f Group Two Duke Of York Clipper Logistics Stakes at 3.00 is, as you might expect, pretty competitive. Dragon Symbol ran well in defeat several times last season and have to be considered on his first start for new stable having moved to the yard of Roger Varian. Vadram with the allowances is also considered but I did notice Charlie Fellowes said earlier this week “She looks a picture. Although this is not the end-goal, she is ready to rock and roll and I would be really disappointed if we don’t get a good performance.” Happy Romance is consistent and could be in the places again. Dirty Dozen 2022 member Minzaal went in many notebooks in 2020 winning the G.2 Gimcrack as a two-year-old, over this track and trip, but his three-year-old campaign was derailed by problems. He managed two starts in the autumn of last year including when third to Creative Force in the G.1 Champions Sprint at Ascot. Lightly raced and open to improvement yet he could finally take his place towards the top of the sprinting ranks this season and I have the 7-2 about him starting with a victory here. As I said in the Dirty Dozen 2022 write-up earlier this year 'If Owen Burrows can keep him fit as a four-year-old he will surely pick-up a few sprint prizes in 2022.'
At 3.35 we have the Group Three 1m2½f Tattersalls Musidora Stakes with five fillies that could prove very nice indeed, two of which are toward the head of the Oaks betting. Impressive Sandown winner Emily Upjohn will run it would appear as a prep for the Oaks for which she is second favourite at around 4-1. My one concern with her is the Dam side of the pedigree doesn’t scream middle-distance and her five half-siblings were all no more than fair handicappers at around a mile. I tipped Life Of Dreams on her debut at 6-4 in the 1m2f Maiden Fillies' Stakes she won at Newbury last month. I mentioned then that she is a daughter of Dubawi out of multiple Group winner for the stable, including the G.2 Lancashire Oaks, Endless Time. Her grandsires are Dubai Millennium and Sea The Stars and she has middle distance class throughout her pedigree. She is bigger in the Oaks market at around 8’s but they will flip-flop after this as I think the Charlie Appleby trained filly is the one to be on. I have 5-2. The trainer told the Godolphin website earlier this week “We were pleased with Life Of Dreams on her debut at Newbury, when she won comfortably. You would expect some progression from her first to second start, which will hopefully make her competitive at this level.”
At 4.10 we have the 7f Paddy Power 'Here For The Craic' Handicap and one jumped of the page at me on Monday, so much so I backed the colt then. Samburu is a son of multiple G.1 winner and top-class miler Kingman who has won both starts to date, one as a two-year-old at Yarmouth last October and then on his three-year-old debut at Salisbury last month. Dam Tempera was a winner over seven in her short career and she is by that top-class miler and sire Dansili, I think he is the potential Group horse in a handicap here; he is actually entered in the G.1 St James’s Palace Stakes at the Royal Meeting which might prove over ambitious but shows connections rate him. He looks a nice type that still has plenty of improvement to come and I took the 13-8 Paddy Power were offering on Monday, everyone else shorter.