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2019 Dante Festival day two tips - Four horses to back at York with William Hill

Jonathan Vine 15 May 2019
York races.

Our expert takes a look through the full card on Dante day and picks out four horses to back at York with William Hill on Thursday 16th May.

The second day of action at York is headlined by the namesake race of the meeting and this year’s renewal of the Dante looks set to be one of the best in recent memory. Along with that key Derby Trial there are plenty of other good races to take in and our expert has picked out four horses to back at York with William Hill.

Sign up with William Hill today, place your first bet of £10 on our expert’s best bet of the day at York and get four £10 free bets to use through the rest of the card!

Jon’s Best Bet on Dante Day

3:35pm Matchbook Betting Podcast Hambleton Handicap (Class 2) 1m



Beringer has a good chance of making it two wins on the trot. Just Hiss is a course-and-distance winner who currently sits on an appealing price. Yet, both have plenty of experience in handicaps of this ilk and it could pay to back a younger, less-exposed rival.

Hortazar is unbeaten since arriving from France and Ledham shaped well on his reappearance. The one who really captures my imagination, however, is Simon Crisford’s MUTAFANI and I’m hopeful Silvestre De Sousa’s mount will prove himself to be well ahead of the handicapper.

Following a weak debut in a hot maiden at Newmarket last April, Mutafani showed plenty of promise on his second outing at Windsor, finishing just a length behind the winner despite carrying odds of 16/1 into the stalls. A first appearance on an artificial surface followed and Crisford’s charge got off the mark, travelling nicely at the front before pulling clear in the closing stages.

Once runner-up Drill and third-placed Team Decision – now-rated 95 and 93 respectively – had come out an won well in subsequent appearances, it was only natural to see Mutafani carry an odds-on price into another novice contest at Thirsk. De Sousa’s mount was giving plenty of weight to many of his rivals that day, but even that didn’t stop Mutafani putting on another classy display of front-running, easing to a four-length success.

This will be Mutafani’s handicap debut, but the conditions of the race won’t be completely alien to this son of Exceed And Excel. Crisford’s charge has experience in large field races, he loves fast ground and excelled on turning, left-handed tracks on his two most recent runs. I really like Mutafani’s profile and his bold, front-running style should perfectly match a one-mile handicap on the Knavesmire.

Three Horses To Back With Your Free Bets

1:50pm Matchbook Betting Exchange Handicap (Class 2) 5f



Day two at York opens up with another wide-open handicap sprint, where Cowboy Soldier and Copper Knight are sure to garner support. The one I prefer at an each-way price is DARK SHOT, who was touched off by El Astronaute in this race last year and returns to York two pounds lower in the weights.

That runner-up finish was as good as it got for Dark Shot in 2018. There were a couple of decent placed efforts along the way, most notably in the Dash at Epsom and the consolation race for the Stewards’ Cup at Goodwood, but fourth was the best Paul Dixon’s sprinter was able to muster during the rest of the campaign.

Epsom, once again, brought out the best in Dark Shot on his reappearance this term, where Dixon’s six-year-old came up a neck short of Just That Lord in a high-quality Class Three. It’s clear you have to catch this capable handicapper during the first half of the season and, despite being bumped back up the ratings after last month’s run, Dark Shot has proven he’s capable of challenging off this sort of mark. 11/1 offers plenty of each-way value.

Nyaleti (left) stays on nicely behind Worth Waiting (right) in the Dahlia Stakes.

2:25pm Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Middleton Fillies' Stakes (Group 2) 1m2½f 



Lah Ti Dar should have no trouble winning this, if fully wound up for her reappearance, and I’d be surprised if John Gosden’s St Leger runner-up didn’t land a Group One later in the season. However, given that this is a free bet, there’s no value in backing the favourite at 2/7.

Sun Maiden is a lightly-raced horse who’s open to improvement, but I’m struggling to get those dismal effort towards the back-end of last year out of my head. Mrs Sippy progressed nicely last season and could pose a threat, but the one I feel offers the most amount of value is NYALETI.

Mark Johnston campaigned his mare at a very high-level last term, running Nyaleti in huge Grouped races all around the globe. With Joe Fanning in the saddle, Johnston’s four-year-old won the German 1000 Guineas, finished second to God Given in an Italian Group One and gave a good account of herself in two stateside outings at Arlington and Keeneland.

Fanning tried to steal a march on his rivals rounding the bend at Goodwood on her reappearance. Worth Waiting reeled in the leader two furlongs from home, but Nyalti battled bravely right up until the line. Fanning’s favourite mount saw out ten furlongs on heavy ground last season, so the extra furlong here shouldn’t cause an issue and the firm ground may help emphasise Nyaleti’s natural turn of foot. She could serve a stiff challenge up to Lah Ti Dar.

3:00pm Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Dante Stakes (Group Two) 1m2½f



If Too Darn Hot is fully fit and gets the trip, he may simply be too good for his rivals at York. That being said, at no point last season did I feel the winner of the Dewhurst was crying out for trips beyond a mile and a setback early in a horse’s three-year-old campaign is far from ideal. So, with two big ifs hanging over the favourite and some question marks against those in behind, I’m hoping LINE OF DUTY will enforce his derby credentials with a powerful showing on the Knavesmire.

After being narrowly defeated by Arctic Sound and Great Scot, both now rated around the 110 mark, on his first two career starts, the step up to a mile brought around an upturn in fortunes for Line Of Duty. The Godolphin flag-bearer beat recent Lingfield Derby Trial runner-up, Pablo Escobar in a hot maiden at Goodwood, before comfortably seeing off future Group One winner, Wonderment in the nine-furlong Prix de Conde at Chantilly.

Unlike many of his fellow British raiders, Line Of Duty entered a favourable stall ahead of his outing in the Juvenile Turf. Appleby’s colt still had to do the business on the track and, under an excellent ride by William Buick, Line Of Duty did just that, swooping late to claim his first major Group One.

I have no doubts about Line Of Duty’s staying ability, he’s proven on all kinds of ground and he should relish the challenge posed by this historic course. I’ve already put up Line Of Duty as one of my selections in the Derby next month and a strong showing in the Dante would ensure those current, lengthy odds in the Derby are slashed significantly.

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2019 Dante Festival day two tips - Four horses to back at York with William Hill

Our expert takes a look through the full card on Dante day and picks out four horses to back at York with William Hill on Thursday 16th May.

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