Day 2 of the York Dante meeting, which includes the race itself at 3.10.

The Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Dante Stakes (to give it its full title) has a field of 10, with High Definition installed as favourite at 6-4.

Erstwhile favourite for the Epsom Derby after two impressive wins last season, High Definition has been usurped in the ante post betting by stable-mate Bolshoi Ballet, after failing to turn up for the Lingfield Derby Trial on Saturday on account of ‘wrong bloods’. (Their plural, not ours)

So here we are, just five days later and the ‘bloods’ are OK.

We think, with a ten runner field, each way bets on a couple of the others is the best way to go, starting with the only Group 1 winner in the starting line up, Gear Up, which won at Saint-Cloud in October, beating, among others, the aforesaid Bolshoi Ballet.  This is Braceheart‘s main Derby hope and should be backed at 11-2.

Our other selection is the only gelding in the race, Flying Visit, trained by Big Jim Bolger. Less than a length behind High Definition at the Curragh last August, FV showed it could perform without the accoutrements by finishing strongly into second behind, you guessed it, Bolshoi Ballet at Leopardstown a month ago. Almost guaranteed to give its running, a tickle at 8-1 is the plan.

The card starts with the usual nightmare, a 17 runner 5f handicap (oh goody), this time called the Matchbook Betting Exchange Handicap at 1.40.

We think the right horses are at the front of the market and advise each way bets on Count D’Orsay at 9-2 and Illusionist at 11-2. With six places on offer, you never know, we might scramble out.

The Middleton Fillies Stakes at 2.10 will witness Queen Power make her 8th attempt to return to the winners enclosure since her Listed victory at Newbury in 2019. Never out of the first four in any of those races, we believe her attitude is not in question and today may be the day. Have a win bet at 6-4.

At 2.40 we get the Hambleton Handicap over a mile and we are sweet on the chances of Matthew Flinders, from Ed Walker‘s yard. Progressive last season, this 4-y-o was an unlucky third in the Newbury Spring Cup on return to action and the subsequent 2lb nudge by the assessor should not prevent a return to the winners enclosure. Have an each way bet at 9-2.

The Listed Westow Stakes at 3.40 completes the coverage and this race looks at the mercy of the big ‘class dropper’ Acklam Express, trained by Nigel Tinkler.

Already a Listed winner over this course and distance, Acklam Express has been plying its trade in Group company in Meydan, finishing off with a close third in a Group 1 at the end of March.

Much calmer waters here and we should back it at a generous looking 2-1.

More musings tomorrow – bonne chance!


Gear Up 3.10 York 1pt e/w @ 11-2 (4 places Hills, Betfair, Skybet)

Flying Visit 3.10 York 1pt e/w @ 8-1 (4 places Hills, Betfair, Skybet)

Count D’Orsay 1.40 York 1pt e/w @ 9-2 (6 places Hills, Betfair, Skybet)

Illusionist 1.40 York 1pt e/w @ 11-2 (6 places Hills, Betfair, Skybet)

Queen Power 2.10 York 4pts win @ 6-4

Matthew Flinders 2.40 York 1pt e/w @ 9-2 (5 places SkyBet)

Acklam Express 3.40 York 4pts win @ 2-1

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