The middle afternoon of York’s prestigious Dante Festival is on Thursday and that means the feature contest itself, the Group 2 Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Dante Stakes at 3.10pm.
It’s the final recognised British trial ahead of next month’s Derby at Epsom and has attracted a strong field of 11 runners to the Knavesmire.
Racing at York is from 1.40pm-4.50pm (seven races) and you can watch all the action via live streaming when logged into MansionBet. Our tipster has selections for all of Thursday’s action.
1.40 – Matchbook Betting Exchange Handicap (5f)
RAYONG was (distant) second to the ultra-impressive Mums Tipple is his lone previous visit to York in 2019. He was a 5f winner last summer at Pontefract (good) and encountered mostly ground softer than ideal afterwards.
He’s slipped backed to his last winning mark, has had an all-weather run to prep for this and could go well in a fiercely competitive opener. Recent Chester bridesmaid Court D’Orsay and Copper Knight – winner of this race in 2019 – are others with big chances.
Selection: Rayong @
2.10 – Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Middleton Fillies’ Stakes (Group 2, 1m2½f)
Runner-up in the Dahlia Stakes at Newmarket 11 day ago, Queen Power has an excellent chance of going one better if turning in a similar performance here for Sir Michael Stoute and Silvestre De Sousa.
Chamade may improve, while both Freyja and Cabaletta will have to, but there’s a potent looking Irish challenge via Passion for Aidan O’Brien and SILENCE PLEASE for Jessica Harrington.
Both are dropping in trip here and it’s the Gleneagles filly that makes most appeal at the prices. She’s lightly-raced and last summer’s Naas Oaks Trial run suggests she can be very effective at this trip, while she also goes well fresh.
Selection: Silence Please @
2.40 – Matchbook Betting Podcast Hambleton Handicap (1m)
Top-weight What’s The Story began the new season with a fine second in a Listed Doncaster event over this trip on the Lincoln card and has claims back over a C&D where he has twice won before.
This is another open contest, with Artistic Rifles and Matthew Flinders key players, but GLOVES LYNCH is an each-way price for Michael Wigham and Hayley Turner.
Stepping up to a mile on the all-weather this spring has brought improved form and he can outrun his price if transferring that across now.
Selection: Gloves Lynch @
3.10 – Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Dante Stakes (Group 2, 1m2½f)
A stellar line-up for the Dante, back this year in its pre-Derby slot after the pandemic-enforced reshuffle of last summer.
Unbeaten Ballydoyle colt High Definition has clear scope for big things, but recent murmurs about his total well-being are a concern and he missed Lingfield’s Derby Trial.
Mark Johnston and John Gosden have won five of the last six Dantes and while the Clarehaven maestro and son Thady fire Magellan and Uncle Bryn (to whom Frankie Dettori’s pays a faithful compliment after their recent Epsom defeat), it is GEAR UP that earns the nod for Johnston and Ben Curtis.
Twice a winner on this track last summer, he ended his season with a Group 1 win in France over this trip on testing ground. He’ll handle drying conditions here and looks capable of much better at three.
Selection: Gear Up @
3.40 – British Stallion Studs EBF Westow Stakes (Listed, 5f)
Winter Power ended last season on the up with a Group 3 win at Newmarket (5f, soft) and should be going close, but twice last season she proved no match for ACKLAM EXPRESS and Nigel Tinkler’s gelding gets the vote again.
He was 0-3 in Meydan early in the spring but ran solid races in each instance and that relative match-sharpness could be key.
Muker has two disappointing runs on the board this term, but could still do better, while Dexter Belle’s Pontefract novice win last month was attained in the style of a smart filly (second won both starts since) and she could have another good step forward to come.
Selection: Acklam Express @
4.15 – Constant Security ebfstallions.com Maiden Stakes (6f)
Newcomers Albahr, Yaahobby and Rizg need to be monitored fairly closely in the betting and the first-named represents Charlie Appleby’s team and should be ready to put up a good opening show.
They’ll have to be useful to take down Newmarket runner-up SECRET STRENGTH in all probability. The Mehmas colt ran on well from rear that day, conceding experience to the winner, and Richard Hannon has secured Ryan Moore’s services today.
Their racecourse experience may count for a lot with improvement also very likely.
Selection: Secret Strength @
4.50 – Autohorn Handicap (2m½f)
Polish hasn’t run on the Flat since 2019, but he’s proved useful over hurdles since joining Fergal O’Brien – winning over three-miles at Newbury in February on his most recent start – and he could be well treated from a mark of 76 here, especially when factoring in the 3lb claim of Conor Brace.
The filly FRANKENSTELLA won 3-5 starts on turf last summer, including over C&D (good) in September. She had an all-weather spin last month to tune up for this and John Quinn’s daughter of Frankel could still have plenty more to come.
Selection: Frankenstella @
*All odds correct at time of writing