York Day Two and the feature race of the whole three day meeting takes place on Thursday afternoon courtesy of the Derby Trial that is the Dante Stakes. I have revised the form for the televised races and here I will quickly give details of them.
1.30 - Betfred Mobile Sports Stakes (Handicap) (Class 2) 5f.
This sixteen runner event will more than likely be cut by at least one on the day and make each way betting an arduous task for many. What I do know about sprint races is that they are like a conveyor belt of repetitive winners with many capable of beating each other on a given day. The draw, handicap mark, fitness, track, ground and trainer form can have a huge bearing on results and I often find it sensible to look towards the outsiders, with potential value, when making my selections.
As it happens I have chosen to show a small interest in the Tim Easterby 4yo COCKTAIL CHARLIE in this competitive race on account that he likes York, can race prominently, should be suited by the ground and is seemingly well handicapped. His odds are simply an added bonus at over 25-1 on the exchanges! I am far from certain he can win as his recent form in the main has been quite poor, but his trainer is very astute at readying one for a specified target, and with York a favoured venue of the trainer, it could well be that this is the race in mind.
2.00 - Betfred Middleton Stakes (Group 2) 1m 2f 88yds
A case could be made for several of the line up in this fillies' contest, which on paper looks a very competitive renewal without featuring a filly with previous huge accomplishments. Timepiece for Henry Cecil is potentially well priced at 7-1 having had a run to give her a fitness advantage over some of her rivals, but it would be difficult to entertain the idea of her overcoming rival Izzi Top. The former is a Group 1 winner but her conqueror last time out and younger rival looks destined for the top grade in the near future, possibly when there is cut in the ground.
My selection is the tough, hold up specialist I'M A DREAMER, who is highly regarded by his stable and almost snatched victory in a Group 1 overseas, at the end of last season. This filly suffered for the most part last season by being campaigned at the incorrect trip, given a mile was far too sharp a test for her style of running on late. This year with a campaign set up around her now known ability to stay 1m 2f she can improve on her overall career record and win some strong contests, just shy of the very top level.
The other big danger could come from the Godolphin filly Sajjhaa who is capable of scoring a Group 2 win herself, at some stage this season. Runner up in this contest last year, a repeat effort would have her go close again this time around.
2.30 - Betfred Dante Stakes (Group 2) 1m 2f 88yds
The colts take to the big stage for this Derby Trial with some very well thought of types featured. The value in my eyes screams out with the Aiden O'Brien trained ERNEST HEMINGWAY being 9-2 in the market. Justification for this value assumption can be seen by the trainer record over the past six seasons, where by Aiden O'Brien has won the contest on three occasions. But for the appearance of trainer Sir Michael Stoute, this record would have been improved to five victories from the past six renewals and fortunately for us, he has no entry this year.
The complicating aspect is perhaps the lack of experience the selection has. It is common knowledge that a minimum of two runs are deemed necessary to win this event. However, trainer Aiden O'Brien will know exactly what is needed to win and his ability to abolish trends has been there for all to see in the past. With all this in mind, I remain positive of his chances. His ten length victory on debut, was afterall, quite scintillating.
3.00 - Betfred Hambleton Stakes (Handicap) (Listed)
A tough race to assess with plenty of runners who like to be held up making an appearance and a favourite Mijhaar who is dropping in trip, with a good draw, likely to try and stay prominent and push on.
Whilst rubbishing the chances of FURY winning last time out, I believe back over a mile and against higher rated opposition he has claims of finally winning a race this season. The fact is that previously this year the selection has found it tough conceding lumps of weight to some very unexposed types. He has however performed admirably, but in this Listed handicap there are not many unexposed runners and those that perhaps are, have not much less weight on the back than himself.
Under these circumstances I am keen to give him a chance, but the bet is advised each way. 13-2 odds at present are available with Paddypower and these odds look fair value.