YORK DANTE MEETING _ DAY TWO Let the good times roll!
Thursday May 12th
2.10 Jack Berry House C2 5F Hcp 0-105 4yo+
Brando has already done #startracking a favour at Newmarket this season. There he was in C3, Soft in the going description and off an OR88 over a stiff 5F. This is a completely different scenario, C2, Firm in the going description, off OR97 (plus 9lbs!) and a quick flat 5F. Has to be taken on.
Red Baron was second in this race last year but the 7yo is now 11lbs higher and Neil Farley can’t claim.
Distant Past, a #startracking horse, will win a decent sprint this season but probably needs Soft in the going description and I think 5½F is the optimum trip for Kevin Ryans “second string”.
The one that interests me is the filly Thesme. Likes York, likes Good to Firm, stepping back into handicaps, point and go sprinter who may take some catching from stall 10. She is a one star* each way selection @ 14/1 with Betfred.
2.40 Middleton G2 Fillies 10½F
This looks a strong G2 for the girls. Crystal Zvezda was the subject of bullish reports earlier this year as one to really improve as a 4yo. Her issue is she won’t settle and she is too keen early to get home at Group level. It is no surprise she is re-equipped here with a hood. The only other time she has worn it was over C&D when second to French Dressing in the Listed Lyric Stakes.
Lady of Dubai was third in the Oaks but disappointed afterwards. Journey improved all season and was second to Simple Verse in the G1 Fillies on Champions Day at Ascot where she had Beautiful Romance and Speedy Boarding behind her. Ballybacka Queen and Namhroodah look out of their depth but nothing leaps off the page as a bet so I will Pass and enjoy the race.
3.15 Dante G2 3yo Colts 10½F
A dozen go to post for the definitive Derby trial and we have four mentioned in the #startracking dispatches.
Midterm Current favourite for the Epsom Derby and already won the Sandown trial beating Algometer half a length with the rest well back. #SuperStoute will have this blueblood in top shape and not much he doesn’t know about winning a Derby.
Victory Bond My notes say “Only seen once in 2015 when second to Algometer in a Newbury 8F C4 maiden that is beginning to look strong form. He is a big strapping son of Medician homebred by the Bloomsbury Stud. He made a winning debut at three in a C4 10F maiden at Ripon, literally head and shoulders above the rest, he won by 7L and 10L in the style of a Group horse and 10F looks to be his trip.” Today we will find out how good he is. He has done nothing wrong so far.
Wings of Desire My Craven notes say “Wings of Desire also kept on well and has a completely different set of criteria. He wants this Soft ground and at least 12F!” Dante doesn’t look his race. Maybe Great Voltiguer and Leger later?
Choreographer “The race also contains a Newmarket talking horse in Roger Varian’s Choreographer, also on debut. The China Racing Club paid 850,000 euros for this son of Sea the Stars and in his Racing Post stable tour today the trainer suggests this is one of three potential G1 3yo’s he may have.” “The winner of this maiden, CHOREOGRAPHER, should go in your #startracker. Roger Varian rates this son of Sea the Stars, who cost the China Horse Club 850K euros, and there have been Group horse mutterings. He has entries in the Dante at York and the Edward VII at Royal Ascot.” Roger Varian has a myriad of well bred, expensive 3yo colts and he thinks Choreographer is in the top three.
I think Midterm could be the real deal and is the only runner with the form in the book and the Stoute yard continues in red hot form and no worries with Pat Smullen aboard. Ballydoyle have lots of good 3yo colts but I’m convinced they think US Army Ranger is the best 12F colt but he’s no world beater.
Midterm is a four star**** win @ 6/4 with WH. But I’m going to have two others bets. Choreographer is a one star* win selection @ 25/1 with PP and Victory Bond is a one star* win selection @ 16/1 general.
3.45 Hambleton Listed 8F Hcp 0-110 4yo+
This is a humdinger of a handicap. Those at the top of the weights are basically Almost Listed/Group horses and plenty of these runners have already landed a C2+ handicap along the lines. The bottom weight is OR91 and has won at C3 level!
Among those at the top of the market I can’t have are Convey (too much “potential” not enough substance), Lord of the Land (too small for my liking and no Mondialiste), Birdman (handicapper has him and is paying for his five wins last season) and Donncha (7F specialist). A strong case could be made for the improvers such as Third Time Lucky and Lord of the Rock despite both running off higher marks.
However I think I have spotted a plan! The 5yo Hors de Combat hasn’t run in a handicap since his 3yo days when third in the Britannia, indeed last season he debuted in the Listed Ascot race he took in this season as well, then in 2015 went on to run in the G1 Lockinge, this season he goes to a Listed handicap at York. His trainer, James Fanshawe, has made an unusually quick and successful start in the current campaign, three more winners in the last fourteen days. Why a plan? If Fanshawe intended coming to York he wanted a top jock with proven success on the Knavesmire so at Ascot he booked Pat Smullen who retains the ride here and is 4 from 22 at York. Indeed they will be the only times Smullen has ridden for Fanshawe in the past five seasons! So is the horse good enough? He has placed form at G2, G3 and Listed level. His best performances have come on Good to Firm over 8F. With a short run to a tight bend his draw of 10 should allow Smullen to tuck in. The horse races prominently/midfield and stays on well. He is a two star each way selection @ 14/1 with WH ¼ 1,2,3,4. We will have a one star* win in the morning @ best odds available on the High Street.
4.20 Westow Listed 5F 3yo
Tuesday suggests you are going to want a single figure draw at worst on the straight course.
Areen catches the eye as he was second in the Windsor Castle but the owner, Sheikh Abdullah Almalek Alsabah (Kuwaiti ruling family), has moved his horses from Kevin Ryan to David O’Meara.
Easton Angel was second in the Queen Mary to Acapulco and is swift.
Nothing appeals, I’ll Pass.
4.50 Stratford Place C3 6F Maiden 2yo
Just watch this SIX furlong 2yo C3 maiden. Yorkshire yards probably like to send a good’un.
5.20 Racing UK C3 16F Hcp 0-90 4yo+
Not my favourite sort of race as you just don’t know where you stand with the NH horses back on the flat.
However I am going to go with one here because I think Alphabetical Order highlights the mercurial talent of his trainer David O’Meara. Alphabetical Order is a gelded son of NH sire Alflora, he was good enough to win two bumpers for the Tizzards whilst trained by Tim Vaughan and earned his ticket to the Aintree G1 bumper. He won three from six over hurdles and finished a 24L 8th of 9 in an AW bumper won by Sign of a Victory and his owners moved him to O’Meara. He ran him twice more in AW maidens over 12F and 9.5F (!!) finishing fourth both times and the handicapper gave him a Flat mark of OR65!! He has won his next three races. A C6 16F handicap on the Heavy by half a length off OR65, a C4 12F handicap on the Soft at Doncaster by a nose off OR71 and a C4 12F handicap on Good to Soft at Beverley off OR76 by a neck! Brilliant!
He rocks up here off OR83, is ideally drawn in stall 1 and stable jockey Daniel Tudhope is in the saddle. Some of his jumps form suggests he will handle quicker ground and there maybe further improvement to come.
Alphabetical Order is a two star** win selection @ 11/2.
John Ferguson, Godolphin’s racing manager and chief executive, said: “Both Dutch Connection and Home Of The Brave are excellent horses, who will give us more depth in the ranks in our attempt to win the top one-mile and seven-furlong races in the calendar this year. They present us with plenty of interesting options.
“More importantly, though, they give us the chance to be competitive in the top international races later in the year, not only in Europe, but America, Asia and Australia, as well.
Dutch Connection chased home Toormore at Sandown, while Gabrial, Adaay and Barchan could all line up at Newbury having contested the Esher race.
Staying in their respective yards
Like Dutch Connection, Home Of The Brave will remain with his current trainer following his purchase and Hugo Palmer will be hopeful of continuing his excellent start to the season with the Listed toteScoop6 King Richard III Stakes winner Home Of The Brave.