Not the best results for me on day one at York, it did slowly build to a winner though, with my four bets in order finishing 4th, 3rd, 2nd, 1st. Day two up on the Knavesmire Thursday and it is another card of tricky handicaps and Pattern races. The Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Dante Stakes is of course the race of the day, is there a Derby winner in the line-up?
Best bets for day two of the York Dante Festival
It is a fair line-up for the 1m2f Group Two Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Middleton Fillies' Stakes at 2.25. Noon Star was second in the G.3 Musidora Stakes here last year behind subsequent Oaks winner Snowfall but was then a little disappointing in the G.2 Ribblesdale at the Royal meeting after that (I tipped her) and she wasn’t seen again for the rest of the season. She got her four-year-old campaign underway with a with a Listed win at Nottingham last month showing a willing attitude in a bit of a battle with Technique late on which is always nice to see. Sure to strip fitter for that run and with improvement yet likely for one so lightly raced the daughter of Galileo and Midday is the fancy for this at the 3-1 I took on Wednesday afternoon as she had been nibbled at in the betting from the day before. Thunder Kiss looks the main danger but the selection can hopefully improve passed the reliable Ger Lyons trained mare.
The 1m2f Group Two Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Dante Stakes is due off at 3.35. Sir Michael Stoute has been lacking in real firepower at the top level for a few years now but a few judges think he might have one to propel him back into the big-time in the shape of Desert Crown. As impressive as he looked winning over a mile last back end at Nottingham nothing has come out of that race and won – in fact none of them are rated better than 80 - so you can question the form. Magisterial won well on seasonal debut but the four that have run since have done little to boost that form so I can’t have him, Royal Patronage should be suited by this step up in trip and has an each-way shout. El Bodegon has perhaps the best form on show having beaten current Derby favourite Stone Age in the G.1 Criterium de Saint-Cloud on his last run at two. All of the colts’ form is on soft ground though and he won’t get it that soft Thursday, the going remains good despite the odd shower on Wednesday. If he goes on the going, he has a great chance. White Wolf is thrown in at the deep end by Saeed bin Suroor having run just once when winning a Southwell Novice Stakes a couple of weeks ago over a mile at the Nottinghamshire track. Unsurprisingly somewhat green on debut he won well enough despite inexperience and he has a fair pedigree being by Invincible Spirit out of Group winner Long Lashes. That doesn’t scream middle-distance but dam on the sire side Rafha won the G.1 Prix de Diane Hermes (French Oaks) and he is related to a few decent ones that stayed 1m2f at least. He holds entries in the Derby and St James’s Palace Stakes and though it is a leap of faith, at the prices, I have taken a chance each-way at 25-1 on the Godolphin owned colt.