2021 Nunthorpe Stakes Ante-Post Preview – 25/1 Dakota Can Strike Gold
The Nunthorpe is one of the most demanding tests for any sprinter. The recent retirement of 2019 and 2020 race winner Battaash guarantees that there will be a new Nunthorpe winner this season. In anticipation of what promises to be an unmissable race, our ante-post expert has delved into the current Nunthorpe betting market, identifying a selection freely available at odds of 25/1!
Coolmore Wootton Bassett Nunthorpe Stakes (5f, Saturday August 20th, 3:35pm)
Coolmore claim sponsorship for this year’s Nunthorpe, and the breeding supremo appears to hold chances with lively contender Golden Pal.
Yet to finish out of the first two in a five-race career to date, Golden Pal returned from a break with a facile victory at Saratoga last month. These powerful connections had runner-up Acapulco in 2015 and will be hoping Golden Pal can go one spot better this year.
The major bugbear I have with Golden Pal is that I don’t believe that what he has achieved thus far quantifies his price (3/1).
Golden Pal failed to win a painfully weak renewal of the Norfolk Stakes last season (third home now rated just 72), and the form of his victory in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint has arguably worked out even worse with the second 0-4 since, the third beating just one rival home in three subsequent starts, the fourth being twice a beaten favourite in his subsequent two outings and the fifth home finishing only sixth on seasonal reappearance.
Purely on that basis Golden Pal must be avoided at his current price.
Suesa the new sprint sensation
Suesa burst onto the scene with an impressive victory in the King George at Goodwood last time, a race which has proven a good recent trial for the Nunthorpe.
She is now 5-6 in her career and open to improvement over the minimum trip, yet her victory hardly went unmissed and at 3/1 she can also be avoided considering she could have ground/track concerns come raceday.
One horse with no such concerns on that score is Winter Power, who has gained two course and distance victories already this season and seems effective on a range of ground conditions.
The question mark hovering over her, however, is that the twice she has stepped above Group 3 level she has finished last of ten and ninth of sixteen, suggesting that at a single-figure price she can once again be avoided.
Dragon Symbol is a hardy three-year-old who deserves to breakthrough at this level, and things could set up nicely for him should they go a decent pace. He would certainly look no forlorn hope here, yet I wouldn’t be convinced that he will confirm placings with Glass Slippers on their recent King George running.
Slippers running into form
Glass Slippers was reported to need the run there so did well to finish a keeping on third. She often improves as the year progresses, something confirmed by form figures of 6116111121 from August onwards, compared with 30524523 in the early part of the season.
That alone makes her a potential bet at odds of around 10/1, but with her main target reported to be the Abbaye at Longchamp, there is no guarantee that she will be spot on even for this prize, and therefore others look more attractive options.
The horse currently catching my eye from an ante-post perspective is the 25/1 DAKOTA GOLD.
The first port of call when looking at the Nunthorpe in recent years has been to back anything trained by Michael Dods. Since 2015, Dodds’ Nunthorpe runners form figures read an impressive 101242. He has just the two entrants for this year’s renewal in Dakota Gold and last year’s runner-up Que Amoro, but it is the former who looks the most interesting.
Dakota Gold currently holds a more than respectable career record of 13 wins from 41 starts, and – in recent years at least – the gelding has shown the pick of his form later and later in the season. Since 2018, Dakota Gold has attractive form figures of 1112171231112 when running from August onwards, compared to 515695 in the early part of the season – his victory during that period coming on July 27th.
He tends to go on most ground conditions and is equally effective over 5f or 6f, making stamina appeal should this prove a real burn up at the front end.
A real lover of the Knavesmire, with his form figures at York reading 120111215. Those doubting Dakota Gold will undoubtedly point towards his age (7), yet somewhat unusually for a Group 1, 7yos have won three of the last ten renewals of the Nunthorpe – suggesting that experience counts for plenty in a race such as this.
Dakota Gold holds an official rating of 111, which is three pounds superior to that of Came From The Dark, who is currently half the price of Dakota Gold.
Whilst he shouldn’t mind what the weather does in the build-up to the Nunthorpe, if we have a spot of rain beforehand expect the 25/1 available on Dakota Gold to look a little big come raceday.