Alan Marron previews the second day of the Dante meeting at York Racecourse. The meeting’s headline race, the £165,000 Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Dante Stakes, is due off at 3.00pm.
Alan landed three of his bets in his preview of day one – Space Blues (5/2f), Bomb Proof (7/1) and Starcaster (7/2f, but available at 5/1 when markets opened).
Following on from his Punchestown Festival successes, he is very much a tipster in form.
1.50 Handicap (Class 2) (4yo+ 0-105, 5f)
Copper Knight ran a very solid race when second at Chester last time out. He is a course and distance winner off a mark 92 and has now gone up to 101. Chester last week may have blown away the cobwebs and a big run could very well be on the cards here.
2.25 Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Middleton Fillies’ Stakes (Group 2) (Class 1) (4yo+, 1m2f56y)
La Ti Dar will be very short in this race and rightly so but the ‘betting without’ market is the only way really to get involved in this race. Rawdaa is the option in this market for me. She was a very solid third to Agrotera last time at Kempton where she ran on well and was doing all of her best work close home.
She won on her second run last season and could be poised to give the favourite a battle in this race also.
3.00 Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Dante Stakes (Group 2) (Class 1) (3yo, (1m2f56y)
The return of the exciting Too Darn Hot will be the focal point of this race but it is very interesting for me that Aidan O Brien has chosen Japan to take him on.
I watched Japan finish out his races last season and he is most definitely a horse who needs a step up from the mile that he contended last season. In both of his wins, he just got there, just doing enough in the finish.
He could have contesred last weekend’s Lingfield Derby Trial but has been kept fresh for this. The market this week has seen money come for Surfman. The favourite may need the run and to take him on with Japan could be the best option. He’s my Nap of Day 2.
3.35 Hambleton Handicap (Class 2) (4yo+, (7f192y)
In a recent online interview, trainer David O Meara was asked for three horses to follow for the season. When it came to the question for a horse that was going to be most progressive he nominated a horse called Hortzadar who will run in this race.
He was recently acquired from the stable of Francis-Henri Graffard in France and has been very impressive in both of his wins on British soil. He has already gone up a total of 15lbs in the ratings and, given the way the trainer spoke, he expects him to be a Group-race performer running in handicaps.
This will be a real test but could simply be a handicap blot. He’s one to keep a close eye on for the rest of the season.
4.05 British Stallion Studs EBF Westow Stakes (Listed Race) (Class 1) (3yo, 5f)
No Nonsense was second to the exciting Calyx last time out and this will really test how good that form is. He won both his races on the all-weather and then finished down the field in the Greenham Stakes at Newbury. This race will have nothing of the class of Calyx in it so he could represent a bit of value here.
4.35 Stratford Place Stud Breeds Group Winners ebfstallions.com Maiden Stakes (Plus 10 Race) (Class 2) (2yo, 6f)
This race is very interesting in terms of potential Royal Ascot contenders for the Coventry Stakes.
Hong Kong is superbly bred, being by American Triple Crown winner American Pharaoh out of a mare called Mekko Hokte, which makes him a half-brother to top-class sprinter Caravaggio, and can be placed in the “could be anything” category.
Team O Brien has started very strongly with its two year-olds and this could be another winner for the Coolmore team.
5.05 Investec Wealth Handicap (Class 3) (4yo+ 0-90, 2m56y)
For those of you who followed my Punchestown Previews, you would have seen I was very sweet on the Colin Tizzard-trained Reserve Tank.
If we go back to Kempton on March 16th, we will see that Reserve Tank beat the Nicky Henderson-trained The Cashel Man by a neck. The Cashel Man then ran on the flat and was fourth to Coeur Blimey, which was a very good run.
The booking of Oisin Murphy here is a solid one for me as he is potentially going to challenge Silvestre De Sousa for the jockeys’ title this season.
The Cashel Man may be susceptible to something with a lighter weight but he has plenty of class and should go very close here.