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2019 Duke Of York Stakes tips - Ryan's 5/1 chance can strike gold in York's Wednesday feature

Brian Healy 14 May 2019
Brando can get back on the scoresheet with success in Wednesday's York feature race.

Brian Healy gives his runner-by-runner thoughts on the big race field for Wednesday's Group Two Duke Of York Clipper Logistics Stakes.

A cracking renewal of the Group Two Duke Of York Clipper Logistics Stakes spearheads the day one racecard of the 2019 York Dante Festival, and ten runners will go to post for a top-class sprint contest.

Getting underway at 3.00pm as the third race of the afternoon on a cracking racecard, the six-furlong Group Two contest boasts a first prize pot just north of £70,000 to the winner, and the race boasts an illustrious roll-of-honour with past winners including Harry Angel, Tasleet, Magical Memory, Maarek and Society Rock in recent years.

Heading up the racecard, Limato (7/1, Ladbrokes) comes into the race having enjoyed a resurgence of fortunes last term which saw the Tagula win three times at Listed and Group Two level having perhaps looked to be past his best.

Henry Candy’s smart performer won the 2016 July Cup over this distance, as well as the seven furlong Prix De La Foret prior to going on a five-run winless streak that was ended in the 2017 Challenge Stakes where he beat Massaat.

However, he was well beaten in his first three runs of last campaign, including beating only two home in defence of his July Cup Crown. But following confidence-boosting wins in Listed company at Newmarket and here, the seven-year old returned to Group company to beat Zonderland in a successful defence of his Challenge Stakes crown, and his subsequent run behind Sands Of Mali can be discounted on account of the softer ground.

He needs good ground to be seen at his best, and he has conditions here to be fully effective; but his record when fresh isn’t great, and he has often appeared to need his first run of the campaign.

While he certainly can’t be discounted if back to his best, there is a feeling that he might be better for this return to action and he may prove vulnerable.


Invincible Army (11/4, William Hill) won twice as a juvenile, scoring in a Group Three contest on the all-weather prior to finding only James Garfield too strong in the Mill Reef Stakes.

James Tate’s charge kicked off last season with a win over Eqtidaar at Ascot to win the Pavilion Stakes, and having been denied only a nose behind Sands Of Mali at Haydock in the Sandy Lane Stakes, he struggled to match that level in two runs subsequently. 

However, the Invincible Spirit colt bounced back from those lacklustre efforts to score at Doncaster in March, beating Major Jumbo by two lengths readily to win the Cammidge Trophy, and on that performance he won’t need to improve too much to feature.

He rates a major player to land this big prize, as does BRANDO (5/1, William Hill) who made a pleasing enough return to action in the recent Abernant Stakes at Newmarket where he was bidding to win the race for a third successive season only to be narrowly denied by the winner Keystroke and runner-up Yafta.

The Pivotal gelding was beaten only a half-length, hitting the front in the last furlong but unable to maintain his effort to the line, and he should prove a lot sharper now with that under his belt.

Kevin Ryan’s star finished runner-up to Harry Angel in this race twelve months ago, and the Group One winner could prove a tough nut to crack if building on that reappearance.

He held his form better than had been the case last term following wind surgery, and while he has yet to win at this venue - placed four times from seven starts - he should be in the thick of things again as he bids to go one better than he did twelve months ago.

A tough and generally reliable sort, he won’t be far away if running up to his best.



Hey Jonesy (18/1, Ladbrokes) also represents the Kevin Ryan team, and the Excelebration gelding has proven himself to be a useful performer at his best.

His sole win however came as a juvenile here back in July 2017, although he later stepped up on that effort to finish fourth to US Navy Flag in the Middle Park Stakes prior to a break.

His form last season was patchy, but he did run decent races to make the frame behind the reopposing Projection at Ascot, and then finding only Donjuan Triumphant too strong at Doncaster on his final outing of the season when beaten only a head in the Listed Wentworth Stakes.

He has had wind surgery, and he reappearaed at Chelmsford where he was beaten behind Dream Of Dreams; but while he should strip fitter for the run, he needs to find considerably more, and he may be in the race to help force the pace for stablemate Brando.

Yafta (9/2, William Hill) finished one place ahead of Brando at Newmarket latest, and the Dark Angel colt is another for whom a strong case can be made.

Richard Hannon’s charge won twice last term, scoring at Newmarket in May and following up later in the campaign with a defeat of Projection to land the Group Three Hackwood Stakes.

He finished runner-up in two starts inbetween those wins, although he rounded his season off on a sour note when disappointing behind Sir Dancealot at Newbury on his final outing of the campaign in the Hungerford Stakes.

It may be that the seven furlongs just stretched him, and all his career wins to date have come over this six furlong trip. He showed improved form to finish well at Newmarket latest, but he could face a harder time to confirm the form with third-placed Brando now.

It could be argued though that he was unlucky not to win at Newmarket as he was slightly hampered before running on again; but Kevin Ryan’s charge may have needed the outing more, and while there shouldn’t be much between the pair again, he’ll do well to confirm the form here. 


Projection (10/1, Coral) finished behind Brando in last season’s Abernant Stakes, and Roger Charlton’s charge also failed to beat both Yafta and Limato in starts last term, although he did win a soft-ground Group Three at Ascot when beating Dream Of Dreams by a neck.

The Acclamation gelding failed to follow up that success when beaten just over three lengths behind Sands Of Mali in the Champion Sprint back at Ascot, again finishing behind Brando, and he looks held on those pieces of form.

He’ll need to find significant improvement this term to feature, while he hasn’t usually delivered at the first time of asking and there’s a strong feeling that he’ll need this first run of the campaign.

Major Jumbo (14/1, Paddy Power) proved himself a consistent performer last term in several valuable sprint handicaps, often making the frame before gaining a deserved win here in October when beating Flying Pursuit in the Coral Sprint Trophy.

That was his first win since he scored on his seasonal debut, and the Zebedee gelding has continued his fine form into this season where he has chased home Invincible Army at Doncaster prior to posting a solid third to Mabs Cross at Newmarket latest in the Palace House Stakes.

He has a higher grade to contend with here, which could catch him out; but he is a tough and largely consistent sort who should continue to give his running and he can give a good account although it is questionable whether he’ll be quite good enough to strike at this level.

Similar comments apply to George Bowen (20/1, Bet365) who won last season’s Scottish Stewards’ Cup as well as bolting up on this card twelve months ago when demolishing Foolaad and others at a lesser level.

Richard Fahey’s Dark Angel gelding couldn’t quite match the level he had shown at the Scottish track when beating Classic Seniority; but he did manage to post a creditable fifth under a penalty in the Goodwood Stewards’ Cup, although subsequent outings saw him struggle.

He has race-fitness on his side having campaigned on the all-weather in the spring, winning at Kempton before finding only the speedball Kachy too good at Lingfield on All-weather Champions Day, beaten three lengths.

This will demand a good deal more, but he remains a capable sprinter who can post a big run without being quite good enough at this level.

El Astronaute (33/1, Paddy Power) made hay last term, blazing his way to three wins throughout the campaign as well as making the frame on several other occasions in some valuable sprint handicaps which included the Shergar Cup Dash and Scottish Sprint Cup.

John Quinn’s Approve gelding rounded off last campaign with a Listed win in France, and having shaped well on his return behind Tanasoq at Musselburgh in April in the Borderlescott Sprint, he lost little caste behind Mabs Cross at Newmarket, finishing sixth.

On that run he is held by Major Jumbo, but is is worth noting that while he does run well here usually his best form has come over the minimum distance so he’ll surely prove vulnerable over this trip.


Completing the field for this classy renewal of the Duke Of York Clipper Logistics Stakes, Ornate (66/1, Ladbrokes) won twice earlier in the year on the Southwell fibresand, including scoring under a penalty; and the Bahamian Bounty gelding got back on the winning trail at Newmarket in April with a defeat of Roman River.

Derek Griffiths’ charge ran a creditable fifth of eleven runners behind Mabs Cross in the Palace House Stakes, but he looks hard to fancy at this even higher level and he likely won’t be good enough to lay down a serious challenge to this field of rivals for all he is a smart customer in his own right.

He is the only runner in the field to sport a double-digit handicap mark, and he has 7lbs to make up on the next lowest-rated runner in the line-up; he looks firmly up against it as a result, and he is hard to make a case for here.

VERDICT


BRANDO (5/1, 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.

2019 DUKE OF YORK CLIPPER LOGISTICS STAKES SELECTION - BRANDO (5/1, William Hill)


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2019 Duke Of York Stakes tips - Ryan's 5/1 chance can strike gold in York's Wednesday feature

Brian Healy gives his runner-by-runner thoughts on the big race field for Wednesday's Group Two Duke Of York Clipper Logistics Stakes.

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