Dante Festival (York) Day Three Betting Tips – Friday 18th May 2018

On to the third and concluding day of this excellent Dante meeting at York and the action continues apace. The highlight of the day is one of the top early season staying contests of the year: the Yorkshire Cup.

Stamina may be the order of the day in the big one, but there’s plenty of speed on display here too, with a pair of quality five furlong sprints also featuring on the card. Here we pick out our best bets in each of the day’s seven contests.

2.20 – Langleys Solicitors British EBF Marygate Fillies’ Stakes (Listed), 5f

Wedding Date to win at 11/2 with Coral

A juvenile event to kick off the action on the closing day, with the field stacked with promising speedsters. Looking at the previous results here, each of the past 10 winners had a previous run under their belts, and eight had won last time out. That doesn’t narrow things down all that much, but hopefully it can at least point us in the right direction.

The likes of No Lippy and Strings Of Life make the shortlist, but the one we were most taken by last time out was the Richard Hannon runner, Wedding Date. Clueless on Brighton’s undulations when beaten on debut, she again looked far from in love with the course configuration at Chester last time out, and still had around three lengths to make up coming off the final bend. Once asked to kick for home though, the response was instant and devastating, putting three lengths between herself and the field in a matter of strides.

2.55 – Longines Irish Champions Weekend Fillies’ Stakes (Listed), 1m

Sheikha Reika to win at 11/4 with Ladbrokes

A Listed class contest for the fillies up next, and one which – on ratings at least – the Mark Johnston runner, Threading, really should be winning. Six pounds and more clear of the field on official ratings, she probably does deserve her place at the head of the betting. Whether you want to take a short price about a runner who disappointed badly on her seasonal return is another matter.

Having run so poorly last time out, we will take on the market leader with the Roger Varian filly, Sheikha Reika. Second on each of her three starts last season, including when just half a length adrift of the smart Soliloquy on debut, she looked an improved performer this this season when scooting up over seven furlongs at Newmarket. Unlike some of the more speedily bred sorts in the line-up, a mile does look like being her best trip and she’s fancied to go close.

3.30 – MansionBet Yorkshire Cup (Group 2), 1m6f

Stradivarius to win at 11/10 with Bet365

The first of the season’s big Cup contests takes centre stage on the closing day with the latest edition of the Yorkshire Cup. The younger runners have been favoured here in recent years, with eight of the past ten winners being six years old or younger. That fact speaks against the talented dual performance performers, Max Dynamite and Wicklow Brave, and the ever popular, evergreen, Clever Cookie.

The market has generally been an excellent guide here in the past decade, with seven of the 10 winners returning an SP 11/4 or shorter. For those looking for one at a bigger price, The Queen’s runner, Call To Mind, looks interesting on his verdict over Count Octave in a Listed contest at Goodwood. At around the 20/1 mark, we wouldn’t put you off.

Overall we see this one going to the favourite. John Gosden’s Stradivarius, wasn’t far from the top of the staying division last term, winning the Group 1 Goodwood Cup, and finishing a close up third in both the St Leger and the Ascot Gold Cup. Now a four year old, he won’t get the weight concessions he did last year, but such was his superiority over the older runners in this field – the likes of Wicklow Brave and Clever Cookie – that it shouldn’t make much difference.

4.05 – Equinity Technology Handicap (Class 2), 1m2½f

Contrast each way at 14/1 with Ladbrokes

Rod Millman’s Master Carpenter ran out a decisive winner of this contest 12 months and returns to defend his crown. Getting in two pounds lower than for that five-length romp, he can’t be dismissed entirely. However the ground conditions are set to be markedly different this time around – good to firm this year as opposed to soft last – and this has also tended to go to a younger performer; seven of the past 10 winners have been four year olds.

Of the four year olds in the field, the one we like for an each way punt is the Richard Hannon runner, Contrast. This son of Dutch Art flopped at Epsom last time, but wouldn’t be the first horse not to handle the undulations round there. Prior to that he had finished within a length of Crowned Eagle at Kempton, and with that horse franking the form when running a cracker on the opening day of this meeting, he looks fairly treated off 93. Sporting first time blinkers here, he is no forlorn hope despite his double figure price.

4.35 – British EBF Frank Whittle Partnership Fillies’ Handicap (Class 3), 7f

Pepita each way

One of the newer races of the meeting up next, with the four editions to date not throwing up much in the way of trends. One possible angle into the race could be the fact that the apprentice jockeys have fared rather well, with the claiming jockeys recording two wins and two places in the past four years.

Richard Fahey has begun the week in fair form, making his Starlight Romance look of interest in the hands of five pounds claimer, Sebastian Woods. However, we just prefer the claims of Richard Hannon’s, Pepita. Partnered by another five pounds claimer in Rossa Ryan, this one is yet to finish outside the first three over this seven furlong trip or on good to firm or quicker going and looks solid to go well.

5.05 – Yorkshire Equine Practice Handicap (Class 3), 5f

Fool For You to win 

In what looks another seriously competitive handicap, the one to side with is the Richard Fahey runner, Fool For You. As the most lightly raced runner in the field, if there’s a horse to have a little bit up her sleeve from the handicapper, it may well be this daughter of Lawman. She broke her duck in good style at the second time of asking last season, and showed enough on her comeback, when second to a decent type on the all-weather, to suggest she retains enough ability at three to be of interest here.

5.40 – 7IM Supports Cystic Fibrosis Care Stakes (Class 4), 1m4f

Baghdad to win 

The finale has tended to go to those runners who have already shown a useful level of form, rather than those perhaps flying under the radar. All bar one of those to come home in front in the past decade has carried nine stone or more on the day.

Of those to fit the bill, the one we like is the Mark Johnston runner, Baghdad. This son of Frankel ended last season on a high when scoring in good style over a mile and two furlongs at Chelmsford, and ran an encouraging race over this trip on his comeback, when running on well from off the pace at Wolverhampton. Off a mark of 80 on just his fourth career turf start, he’s fancied to go well.