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2019 York Dante Festival meeting tips - Race-by-race selections for day one of York's top-class May feature

Brian Healy 14 May 2019
York hosts the opening day of the Dante Festival meeting on Wednesday.

Brian Healy looks ahead to the opening day of the York Dante Festival meeting, and he gives his race-by-race selections and best bets for the first day racecard.

The first of three days’ top-class horse racing action goes to post at York on Wednesday as the Dante Festival meeting gets underway with a seven-race card which features the Group Two Duke Of York Clipper Logistics Stakes providing the feature race of the day.

There is also the Group Three Tatersalls Musidora Stakes on a cracking card alongside some classy handicap action.

1:50 - Sky Bet Race To The Ebor Jorvik Handicap Cl2 (4yo+) 1m4f
2:25 - Infinity Tyres Handicap Cl2 (4yo+ 0-105) 6f
3:00 - Duke Of York Clipper Logistics Stakes (Group 2) Cl1 (3yo+) 6f
3:35 - Tattersalls Musidora Stakes (Group 3) (Fillies) Cl1 (3yo) 1m2½f
4:05 - Conundrum Rowing For Christian Hobbs Gym Handicap Cl3 (3yo 0-95) 7f
4:35 - British Stallion Studs EBF Novice Stakes (Plus 10 Race) Cl3 (2yo) 5f
5:05 - Lindum Construction Group Handicap Cl4 (4yo+ 0-85) 1m4f

The pick of Wednesday’s action will be shown live on ITV Racing as Ed Chamberlain and the team will have four races live from the Knavesmire, including the feature race of the afternoon, and they will have their usual expert tips, insights and post race analysis on all the Wednesday TV action.

Brian Healy assesses the day one racecard on a fantastic opening day of the Dante Festival at York, and he gives his race-by-race selections.

1:50 - Sky Bet Race To The Ebor Jorvik Handicap Cl2 (4yo+) 1m4f


A hugely competitive big-field opener to kick off the first of three days’ action on the Knavesmire, and STEALTH FIGHTER (12/1, Paddy Power) could be worth siding with to build on his latest success at Yarmouth last month where he readily came clear of his rivals to post a six lengths’ success.

Saeed bin Suroor’s charge was a debut winner last term on turf prior to struggling on the all-weather subsequently; but he appeared well suited by the stiffer test of stamina latest when building on a promising fourth behind Candelisa on his reappearance, and this further step up in trip could unlock even more progress.

The Kodiac gelding didn’t appear to be stopping at the end of ten furlongs latest, and while the handicapper has hit him hard for that win, he could prove equal to the task of defying his new mark with the potential for better still to come.


2:25 - Infinity Tyres Handicap Cl2 (4yo+ 0-105) 6f


STAXTON (12/1, Coral) often runs well on the Knavesmire, and Tim Easterby’s charge could be worth chancing to get off the mark for the season.

A winner of two of his first three starts as a juvenile, he contested at Group and Listed level thereafter, often acquitting himself well. He got back on the scoresheet in a four-runner race at Newmarket,last July, after which he made the frame in two of his four subsequent starts including in the City Of The Dales Handicap at Ripon on his penultimate start.

The Equiano gelding made a pleasing return to action back at Ripon last month, finishing four lengths’ third behind Reputation, and he ought to remain competitive back at this venue where he has been in the frame in three of his five starts here.

The ground will be no issue, while he is only 1lb higher in the weights than for his last success, and it would be no surprise to see him firmly in the mix once more on the back of his reappearance.

3:00 - Duke Of York Clipper Logistics Stakes (Group 2) Cl1 (3yo+) 6f


BRANDO (9/2, William Hill) was possibly just undone by a lack of sharpness when finishing a close third in the recent Abernant Stakes at Newmarket during the Craven meeting, where he was bidding to win the race for a third successive year.

Despite his failure to land the spoils, Kevin Ryan’s charge can get back on the mark here and go one place better than he did in this race twelve months ago.

The Pivotal gelding developed into a very high class sprinter last term in the wake of that success, twice finishing runner-up in Group One company, which included a near miss in the Haydock Sprint Cup behind The Tin Man before finishing fourth to Sands Of Mali in the Champion Sprint at Ascot.

That reappearance at Newmarket last month should have him spot on now, and while he does appear at his best when he’s had a bit of time between races, he held his form better last term than had been the case previously following wind surgery.

Quicker ground is no problem, and while he might have preferred some rain he is fully effective on this surface. He sets the standard on form from last season, and he could prove a tough nut to crack if building on his reappearance for all he has yet to win on the Knavesmire.


3:35 - Tattersalls Musidora Stakes (Group 3) (Fillies) Cl1 (3yo) 1m2½f


SAND SHARE (9/2, William Hill) was a debut winner last term, scoring on the all-weather at Kempton, and Ralph Beckett’s charge can get back to winning ways here on her return to action.

The Oasis Dream filly stepped up on that debut effort to finish third behind Fleeting in the Group Two May Hill Stakes after which she posted a solid fourth to Cala Tarida when taking in a French Group Two contest at Deauville.

Those efforts set the standard, and she could have improvement to come this year as she steps up in trip. She hinted in that French foray that a stiffer test might suit, and with an extra quarter mile to travel here a potential source of improvement then she could go well for a yard which has a very good record in developing fillies.

The winner from that French encounter subsequently wasn’t beaten far herself behind a subsequent Group One winner when finishing fourth in the Prix de la Grotte, and the Beckett runner can post a big effort here on her reappearance. 

4:05 - Conundrum Rowing For Christian Hobbs Gym Handicap Cl3 (3yo 0-95) 7f


JAMES STREET (16/1, William Hill) looked a progressive juvenile last term, winning two of his first three starts prior to shaping as if amiss when trailing home last of eight runners here behind Phoenix Of Spain in the Group Two Acomb Stakes.

The Gale Force Ten colt showed improved form over the winter on the all-weather, winning at Kempton prior to posting a pair of back-to-back runner-up finishes at Kempton and Lingfield. The race might have come too soon when disappointing at Wolverhampton in January, and he was given a break until returning with a solid third to Pizzicato at Lingfield last month.

Hugo Palmer’s charge returns to turf here from the same mark as that reappearance effort, and first-time cheekpieces could help deliver some improvement. He is worth another crack at this longer trip despite appearing stretched by it on his only previous try, and it wouldn’t be a surprise to see him go well with the benefit of a run under his belt.

4:35 - British Stallion Studs EBF Novice Stakes (Plus 10 Race) Cl3 (2yo) 5f


Only a handful of these runners have the benefit of previous experience, and both Harswell and Kidda are penalised for recent successes; it could be wortch chancing then on DAZZLING DES (7/1, Paddy Power) who posted a promising debut fifth of eleven runners behind Ventura Rebel at Thirsk last month, and the Brazen Beau colt could improve for the run.

David O’Meara’s charge was beaten around three lengths in that first run, unable to sustain his effort having come with a challenge; but it was a promising introduction, and sure to know more this time around, he can progress.

The winner has struck again since to give the form a boost, and likely to improve he can go close here.

5:05 - Lindum Construction Group Handicap Cl4 (4yo+ 0-85) 1m4f


LORD OF THE ROCK (12/1, William Hill) has been around a few yards in his time, but the Rock Of Gibraltar gelding is 2-4 since joining current trainer Lawrence Mullaney and he could find some further improvement for this stable on the back of his latest success.

He was a winner on his first outing for this yard at Sedgefield over hurdles, after which he finished fourth in starts at Newcastle and Huntingdon; but having returned to the flat at Haydock last month, he ran out a neck winner over Chingachgook, and that form has been subsequently boosted by the third horse home winning since.

He has just a 3lbs rise in the weights to contend with here, which leaves him well treated on his old form given he has won from 90 in the past, and he ought to remain competitive with underfoot conditions no issue; while the longer trip here could provide some further improvement in the seven-year old.


2019 YORK DANTE MEETING TIPS - DAY ONE SELECTIONS


1:50 - STEALTH FIGHTER (12/1, Paddy Power)

2:25 - STAXTON (12/1, Coral)

3:00 - BRANDO (9/2, William Hill)

3:35 - SAND SHARE (9/2, William Hill)

4:05 - JAMES STREET (16/1, William Hill)

4:35 - DAZZLING DES (7/1, Paddy Power)

5:05 - LORD OF THE ROCK (12/1, William Hill)


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2019 York Dante Festival meeting tips - Race-by-race selections for day one of York's top-class May feature

Brian Healy looks ahead to the opening day of the York Dante Festival meeting, and he gives his race-by-race selections and best bets for the first day racecard.

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