It's been an excellent week of racing at the Dante Festival in York so far and we're expecting more of the same for the third and final day on Friday. Betfred's Gilbert Woolley breaks down what will be another exciting afternoon of action on the Knavesmire.
The opening race on the final day of York’s Dante meeting is the listed Marygate Fillies' Stakes.
The 5f sprint is a wide open contest which sees the likes of Crazyland and Canonized at the top of the market. The former was impressive when winning a novice contest at Windsor, whilst William Haggas’ filly looked one to keep onside when winning at Goodwood last month.
Bellarena Lady built on a solid run at Newmarket by winning cosily at Leicester and the booking of William Buick means that she is an intriguing contender.
One at a big price that can go well is Instinction. The daughter of Brazen Beau was a surprise winner of a novice contest at Redcar, beating May Blossom (who reposes) and can give Bryan Smart a local winner.
The selection however is DEVIOUS ANGEL, who looked above average when winning easily at Southwell.
Tom Dascombe’s filly was then well fancied to win the Lily Agnes but blew her chance before the race, after getting unsettled on the way to the start. If she can relax, then she has every chance of going close.
Selection: Devious Angel
The Oaks Farm Stables Fillies' Stakes revolves around the exciting SNOW LANTERN. The beautifully bred daughter of 1000 Guineas winner Sky Lantern comfortably came out on top in what looked a very good maiden at Newbury and Richard Hannon has not hidden his confidence in the filly.
A tilt at the Group 1 Coronation Stakes (a race won by her dam) has been mooted as a potential target next, which again suggests the confidence the trainer has in her.
Roger Charlton’s Love Is You was a good winner at Newbury last season and recently ran well in the Nell Gwyn behind the likes of Sacred and Saffron Beach. The form of that run should make her very competitive.
Primo Bacio ran a career best in the Fred Darling to finish fourth but will need to improve again to land this.
Godolphin own two of the contenders, with Creative Flair looking like their number one. Trained by Charlie Appleby, she beat Statement at Sandown last season before always doing enough to land a conditions stakes at Ascot a couple of weeks ago and could be dangerous if given a soft lead.
Selection: Snow Lantern
The third race on the card looks wide open and a case can be made for many, including the likely favourite Blue Cup. Formerly trained in France, David Menuisier didn’t take long to get the five-year-old in the winner’s enclosure and he will be race fit after running at Epsom last month.
The lightly raced Irish Admiral has yet to win on turf but has displayed plenty of potential having won twice on the AW and William Haggas’ is a master with these types of horses.
The Japanese bred Satono Japan is a fascinating runner for Sir Michael Stoute. The legendary trainer considered the horse good enough to run in the Churchill Stakes last season and was denied a clear run when last seen at Chelmsford.
The selection though is Mick Appleby’s UNITED FRONT, who since joining The Homestead from Ballydoyle, has taken his form to a new level. The son of War Front’s form figures since moving yards reads 2-2-2-1-2-3-1 and if he can transfer that form onto turf then he can go very close.
A brief mention must be given to Pivoine who back in 2019, won the John Smith's Cup over course and distance and has since competed in some major races around the world.
Selection: United Front
Mark Johnston has surprisingly only won the Yorkshire Cup once, back in 2002 with Zindabad but may be able to double his tally this year, with either Sir Ron Priestley or Nayef Road.
Both Johnston runners are real contenders with the former looking as good as ever after a long-term injury kept him off the track last season. Meanwhile Nayef Road, who finished third in the 2019 St Leger (one place behind Sir Ron Priestley) kept being beaten by Stradivarius last season and continued that trend this season in the Sagaro Stakes at Ascot.
Spanish Mission is a consistent type without ever looking like landing a big one. That being said, the 2020 Doncaster Cup winner may enjoy the long straight at York (will be running at the track for the first time) and is likely to once again be held up.
The classiest horse in the line-up though is unquestionably the 2020 Irish Derby winner SANTIAGO. Well backed to win the St Leger last season, the son of Authorized could only finish fourth at Doncaster and subsequently disappointed first time out this season at Navan in the Vintage Crop.
Aidan O’Brien has yet to win the Yorkshire Cup but despite this, it may be worth sticking with the team from County Tipperary as they will have trained the four-year-old for this race, who possesses the turn of foot that could put these rivals away.
The fifth race on the final day of York’s Dante meeting is a class 4 handicap where Tim Easterby’s Boardman will be hard to stop if replicating his superb performance at Haydock last week. Formerly trained in France by Pascal Bary, the son of Kingman relished the heavy ground at Newton-le-Willows and sets the standard.
The consistent Trinity Lake has been placed in four of his last five races for Declan Carroll and once again could hit the frame with Zak Wheatley, again on board.
John Quinn’s Highfield Princess could also go well at a price with Ryan Moore on board. The lightly-raced filly was sent over to France to run in a listed event back in December and the return to handicap company could bring her into the reckoning.
However, It may be worth taking a chance on the quirky FLAMING SPEAR. Now trained by Dean Ivory, his form at York sums up his mixed career to date. The nine-year-old has raced at York four times, winning twice and finishing 18th twice. Therefore, at the prices, the once highly rated gelding could once again cause a bit of an upset and is the selection.
Selection: Flaming Spear