Dante Festival: Day 1

I am off to York for the racing today and have had time to preview some of the races in depth.

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Mahsoob has won both of his starts and has potential to progressive further. The 3rd when he won at Newbury was Field of Fame, who had been off the track 563 days prior to that win. He was hampered in the final furlong and would have been closer to Mahsoob. Up 4lb for that 3rd he is definitely capable of better, especially after that run following the lay-off. He comes from a better stall, in eight, and if settles he should perform better. First Flight returns after a winter break and may have come on, from three to four, so will be worth a market check and a look in the paddock.

Advice: Field Of Fame (11/2 each-way)


Richard Whitaker’s five-year-old Pipers Note is seeking a hat-trick, after winning both starts this season. He has only going up 4lb for his last success he could outperform his odds. This is his first run here at York but that won’t worry me, as he seems on an upward curve at the moment. Drawn in stall three looks fairly ideal for this sort of race and if he jumps well he’ll be there or thereabouts. Tatlisu is drawn well down the rail and could come on for his run at Ripon back on turf where he was 3rd to Pipers Note. He won’t mind any cut in the ground but may need a career best. Ryan Moore has ridden him to success once from three rides. Kevin Ryan horses at this meeting can’t be discounted and Bogart has arguably looked better over 5f rather than this 6f while Blaine has form over course and distance, so is one to watch. Mass Rally is off a falling mark and off 97 has to be respected after winning here at York off 99 in the past. He is definitely one on paper that looks threatening; it might just be his day.

Advice: Pipers Note (20/1 each-way)



I can’t look past Naadirr (blue cap in image) as the Marco Botti horse looks to complete the hat-trick. He has only gone up 3lb for that double, so looks to capitalise on the leniency of the handicapper. Botti reckons his horse is ready for the step up in grade and that he prefers a flat track, so York should suit. This has been the target for him since his Doncaster win. He is the preference over Muthmir, who is yet to have a run this season and that is something William Haggas horses are better for. He should appreciate the drying ground and the draw is ideal in stall five. Things look to be going in his favour, so if he is race fit he’s the main danger. Astaire has two wins on the Knavesmire from four starts. The drying ground is beneficial but he was behind Naadirr at Doncaster in March.

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Mattmu looks a big price, currently at 14s. He was a progressive sprinter last season and won over course and distance in October. He won a Group 2 race at Maisons-Laffitte on very soft ground suggesting this may be a little too quick for him. He carries a penalty for that success and this looks a stiffer task. However that will depend on how well he has progressed from a two-year-old to a three-year-old. Lightning Moon has won all three starts but he, like Mattmu, looks to need cut in the ground.

Advice: Naadirr (11/2 each-way)


3:45 – Musidora Stakes

Just the five runners go to post and the market looks about right for this race. John Gosden’s Star Of Seville could give the trainer his fourth win in this race and is already best price at even money; that is probably because of two reasons. Firstly she was a convincing winner over this distance at Newbury in April while this will be Together Forever’s first run this season. Secondly as the Aidan O’Brien horse won the Fillies Mile in October, she has to carry a group penalty meaning she gives Star Of Seville 4lb in weight, meaning she has it all to do stepping up to this distance for the first time. Of the rest Pandora should be the only other to get close to these but she’ll need to find something extra on the handicap to challenge. She was a big-priced winner at Doncaster in a maiden on her debut over this distance but would need to have improved dramatically.

Advice: Star Of Seville (evens)

Star Of Seville could put herself in the frame for the Oaks. Image from the Yorkshire Post

Star Of Seville could put herself in the frame for the Oaks. Image from the Yorkshire Post


A 17-runner Class 3 handicap is the focus of my attention just after the Channel 4 cameras leave. Mount Tahan won at Wetherby 17 days ago. He broke well from the stalls and made all to see off Godolphin’s Fly With Emirates. The conditions should suit, even if there is rain that wouldn’t be a concern as his sire Lope De Vega won a Group 1 on soft ground. Ideally drawn in stall one too, should help him follow the tactics that saw him win takingly at Wetherby. He seemed to have improved for his pair of two-year-old starts and showed a likeable attitude last time out. In the future it looks like he could go up in trip with the way he shaped. Jamie Spencer takes the ride and has had a few nice winners over the last few days, including on Saturday when he won on Speculative Bid.

Many of these would prefer quicker ground, so there may be a few non-runners on the day when the ground conditions are more known. Swift Emperor is one of those. He won a maiden at Redcar on good to firm ground, so may find this ground a little slow. If Intiwin can overcome a wide draw in stall 15 he looks the main danger. On his second start last year he was 2nd to Celestial Path, who went on to finish 5th in 2000 Guineas and that looks the strongest piece of form going. As pointed out the draw is the concern but he does stay on as shown when winning two of his races by a nose. His recent win at Ripon came over a mile, so has the stamina to get across if required.

Mujassam has won on soft ground and disappointed on his seasonal reappearance at Newbury on quick ground. This track and ground should suit, so is a threat as he is drawn handily. George Bowen looks the best chance of Richard Fahey, who has aimed him at this race since winning at Wolverhampton. He is stepping up to this trip for the first time and ran on well late to win last time out on the all-weather. Foreign Diplomat must get a mention. Never out of the first three on his four starts, with one victory, which was last time out on good to firm at Thirsk. Again he is another that has to overcome a wide draw

Advice: Mount Tahan (10/1 each-way)

            Intiwin (18/1 each-way)


This Novice Stakes race looks one to sit back and watch rather than placing any sort of wager on. Ravenhoe won the Brocklesby in March before slightly disappointing at Newmarket next time out. He made amends at Newcastle late last month where he made all to see off Gin In The Inn. This will be tough as he is giving weight to all three rivals. Richard Fahey’s two-year-olds have started well this season, so expect Black Magic to be prominent in the market. He was ridden prominently at Pontefract, which is always handy, and saw off Mark Johnston’s Tawakkol, who was the 8/13f that day. If repeating that here he will be in the frame. Areen is making his racecourse debut but may need to be good to beat these. Seems to be from a useful family, but may need further over time, as the dam was a winner over 7f at two-years-old. Dheban looks the one to beat after his 2nd at Newmarket behind Zebstar. 240,000gns yearling does enough to prove he should have the pedigree and that h should win a race like this. This grey is related to a Breeders Cup Juvenile Turf winner and if performing like he did on debut then he would be the one, however the price has nearly gone.

Advice: No bet


This is the final race on Day One and another handicap over the trip of 1m4f.

Gabrial The Duke made it three wins from five starts when winning at Musselburgh on Good Friday. He is in-form and it is hard to find an argument against him considering he is still off a mark of 76, which would require a career best but he seems to have found a trip that suits him well. Richard Fahey said in his Sporting Life column that he didn’t think the soft ground at Musselburgh would suit him however he handled it very well and travelled strongly. He wasn’t ridden out until the furlong mark and stretched the winning margin to 2¼l to a tiring Titus Bolt. Pressure Point was 4th in a race in October behind Titus Bolt and was 4th again in the race Gabrial The Duke won.

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The other Fahey horse Innocent Touch was 2nd to Mizzou, who went onto win the Sagaro Stakes at Ascot at the end of last month. He ran off 79 that day and today is off 80 with Jack Garritty claiming 5lb making him off a workable mark. He was just 5l behind Astronereus at Newmarket at the Guineas meeting and should enjoy this drying ground plus is drawn well. He was keen at Newmarket, so he would have to settle to not blow his chances.

An 110,000gns juvenile Osaruveetil is likely to go off favourite for William Haggas but may be worth taking on. A wide draw shouldn’t play a major part in a race of this distance, as he will be settled in rear like he was when winning a maiden at Kempton. This is his seasonal reappearance and first race on turf, so fitness and track leave question marks giving the impression he is vulnerable. The form of that maiden doesn’t look the strongest. The 2nd Panatella hasn’t yet won in eight races, the 3rd Frederic has won, but over hurdles. He is likely to improve, so worth a market check to see how strong he is.

Libran has to overcome a 6lb penalty for his win at Beverley but comes from a yard very much in form. When he raced off this mark last time he was a well-beaten 8 of 13. Three starts ago over a mile he was 5 of 6 in a race Moohaarib won; he is now rated 100+ after his success as Ascot. If he comes to improve for that second run this season then he’ll be in the frame in the closing stages.

Seamour is the interesting having won a bumper on the all-weather before going a spell over hurdles. Again he looks to need soft ground.

Advice: Gabrial The Duke (14/1 each-way)

Good Luck!


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