Day 2 of the York Dante meeting today, with the eponymous race taking place at 3.35.
First of the five races on ITV is the Paddy Power Handicap at 1.50, a 5f sprint with a field of 13.
Prime pick in this is the David O’Meara trained Alligator Alley, which won a Listed race over this very CD as a 2-y-o when trained by Joseph O’Brien.
This now 5-y-o made its stable debut, after 532 days off the track, at Wolverhampton in March, finishing a staying on third of six.
Not impressive on first reading, but the winner has a rating of 105 and the second, Highfield Princess, hosed up in the Group 2 here yesterday and has a mark of 106.
Alligator Alley runs in this handicap off a mark of 95 and surely will give Danny Tudhope a great spin at 5-1.
Our other pick in this race is the consistent and likeable Digital from Kevin Ryan‘s yard. One of this 4-y-o’s best runs was on its only visit to this course and its latest 3rd at Newbury reads well. Take the 5-1 offered.
The Group 2 Middleton Stakes at 2.25 has just six runners, headed by Sir Michael‘s Ville De Grace, which made a more than satisfactory re-appearance with a close second at Newmarketon Mayday.
However, we think the best form on offer is owned by the Irish challenger Thunder Kiss, trained by Ger Lyons. This 5-y-o grey ran away with a Listed race at Cork on her first run since October and, although dropping slightly in trip, should have the hoof to just about win this. At 11-4, a win bet is recommended.
The Hambleton Handicap at 3.00 is next up and our main selection here is What’s The Story, trained to the minute by Keith Dalgleish.
Winner of this race in 2019, WTS was an unlucky fifth in it last year off a mark 9lbs higher than it runs off today. Two ‘prep’ runs will have done the trick and Callum Rodriguez can do the biz at 6-1.
Likely pace setter in the race is Isla Kai, which we picked for the Newbury Spring Cup when it made the frame at 16-1 and, although there are no fancy prices available this afternoon, a saver at 4-1 is suggested.
The Dubai Dante Stakes at 3.35 features the current Derby second favourite in the once raced Desert Crown, seen turning handsprings when winning a Nottingham Maiden by half the track in November.
Yes, could be anything but we prefer substance over style and plump for El Bodegon from the James Ferguson yard.
This son of Kodiac boasts a comfortable victory over the current Derby favourite Stone Agewhen taking the Group 1 Criterium De St Cloud last October and there is no better form on offer. Reported to have wintered well, we should back it at 3-1.
Finally, to the Listed Westow Stakes at 4.10, in which we are very keen on another Kevin Ryan inmate, Boonie.
Placed in Group races at Goodwood and Royal Ascot as a 2-y-o, Boonie made the perfect start to this season with a smooth victory over a subsequent easy winner at Nottingham.
With a dead eight field we can’t resist going each way in spades at 4-1.
The extra televised race is also on the Flat, the 2.05 at Salisbury, and we are content to leave this to Braveheart & Son‘s runner Madame Ambassador, which we suggest you back to win at 4-1.
Tomorrow will follow, er, tomorrow.
Alligator Alley 1.50 York 1.5pts e/w @ 5-1 (5 places Hills/Skybet)
Digital 1.50 York 1pt e/w @ 5-1 (5 places Hills/Skybet)
Thunder Kiss 2.25 York 2pts win @ 11-4
What’s The Story 3.00 York 1.5pts e/w @ 6-1 (5 places Hills/Skybet)
Isla Kai 3.00 York 2pts win @ 4-1
El Bodegon 3.35 York 2pts win @ 3-1
Boonie 4.10 York 2.5pts e/w @ 4-1
Madame Ambassador 2.05 Salisbury 2pts win @ 4-1