THURSDAY 18TH MAY 2023
AUTHOR: JORDAN YATES (EVRACING_)
Welcome aboard to my preview for this year’s Dante Festival at York which gets underway on Wednesday and concludes on Friday with three days of top-class action on the Knavesmire. I’ll be previewing each day so as ever, if you are having a bet make sure you do it in a responsible manner.
The 1:50 gets underway on the second day of this fine meeting and this is handicap action over five furlongs. I think that this can go to Illusionist for the team of Sam James and Grant Tuer. He’s a course and distance winner having won at this meeting last year, and he made a fine return to the track when finishing third at Ripon last month. He remains on the same mark as that effort and comes here with a very solid chance.
It’s the 2:25 which is the second race of the afternoon and this is Middleton Fillies’ Stakes a Group 2 affair over a mile and two and a half furlongs. This looks to revolve around Free Wind for me who represents the Gosden team and Frankie Dettori who tasted success here on the opening day in the Musidora Stakes, she won back-to-back Group 2 contests when she was last seen, signing off her season with success in the Lancashire Oaks at Haydock in July. She looks to be an exciting filly for connections who have had some very nice types over the years in these silks.
Moving onto the 3:00 which is more handicap action this time contested over a mile. This is another seriously competitive affair but I think I’ve found one who can go well in the form of Toshizou for the combination of Jamie Spencer and Roger Fell. He’s progressed with each run for his new yard this term, having had three outings so far, and will run here off a pound lower than his run at Newmarket last time. If continuing his progression I class him a pretty big player.
The 3:35 is the feature race of the day and the meeting, which is of course the Group 2 Dante Stakes over a mile and two and a half furlongs. The race is seen as a main trial for the Derby and has seen some recent greats taste success in it over the last few years. I think that this year’s renewal can go to Epictetus who’s another one for the Gosden’s, Frankie Dettori and George Strawbridge. He finished second behind Auguste Rodin in the Group 1 Vertem Futurity Stakes at Doncaster back in October and made his return to the track at Epsom in April when winning a listed race in cozy style. It’s likely that he’ll progress a great deal from that run and I think he’s another horse who could have a very big future.
It’s the 4:10 now which is the listed Westow Stakes that’s contested over the sprinting distance of five furlongs. This is another competitive race, however, I think it could be worth siding with Silent Words for Danny Tudhope and Kevin Ryan. He won on debut and went down by just a nose in a hot novice race at Hamilton on his seasonal reappearance earlier this month. He’ll be race fit and it’s likely that there’s more to come for his connections who do well around here.
The 4:45 is the penultimate race of the day and this is maiden company over six furlongs. I think that this particular affair can go to Cuban Thunder for Kevin Stott and Dominic Ffrench Davis who sports the silks of Amo Racing. He’s a colt by Profitable who posted a fine effort on racecourse debut at Newmarket last time when finishing second to a potentially useful Godolphin colt, if building on that effort here he’s got to be considered as a huge player.
Signing us off for the day is the 5:20 which is a Class 3 handicap that’s ridden over a mile and two furlongs. I’m taking a chance on Chesspiece here who’s having his handicap debut for the team of Ryan Moore and the Crisfords. He has the potential to be a bit better than a handicapper judging him by his novice form, where he won on debut before finishing just over four-lengths behind Derby fancy Military Order. He’ll have to give weight away here but he could well be up to the task.