The Dante Festival at York continues on Thursday after an interesting first day of racing, which saw the hot favourite, Liber Nauticus see off all opponents in the Tattersalls Musidora Stakes to remain unbeaten.
Her odds have been cut for the Oaks later in the season on the back of that victory, with Paddy Power currently offering 4/1 from 5/1 and Coral and BetVictor even shorter, both offering 7/2.
Aiden O’Brien will be hoping to continue his run of success in Derby trials, when Indian Chief sets off as market leader for the Betfred Dante Stakes. If he rides to success, it will be O’Brien’s fifth trial win in what has been an exquisite start to the season, but to do so, he will have to fend off the massive competition of Windhoek and Greatwood. The latter may have enough to come out on top here with ground and distance expected to suit.
O’Brien’s colt is currently 3/1 best price with Ladbrokes, with Windhoek 4/1 with a number of bookmakers and Greatwood representing most value at 9/2. Secret Number and Ghurair add depth to this tricky betting heat.
The second race of the day is the Betfred Middleton Stakes and Dalkala leads the betting in front of the well-fancied Cubanita. Both have strong claims and the favourite handles all ground, with the forecast rain probably a bonus for her, although she carries a penalty. Two of the last four winners have been favourites carrying a penalty and it could happen once more here.
Cubanita beat Sajjhaa last time and Beckett’s horses are in top form so this is a tricky one for punters. Emirates Queen provides good value at 6/1 with Boylesports.
Ryan Moore will mount Ed Dunlop’s classy Fort Bastion in the Betfred Hambleton Stakes, taking his fantastic form from Wednesday into the race. He rode three winners on the first day and his best chance comes in this race which he won aboard Fury in 2012. Fort Bastion is currently 11/2 best price with Betfred to reap success.
As Moore’s success continues, his odds to win the Flat Jockey Championship have been slashed into 9/4 with most bookmakers, although Boylesports are offering 5/2, with last year’s winner Richard Hughes the 1/2 favourite.
The race provides a wide open market with Two For Two and Sound Hearts, another two who should give a good account. Dual course and distance winner Anderiego symbolises value following a decent second at Thirsk last time.
The first race represents good value with Jamaican Bolt expected to go off favourite back at 5f, whilst Cheworee and Bedloe’s Island may be worth a bet following impressive wins previously. They are both currently 9/1 with William Hill, despite being 7/1 elsewhere.
Sound Of Guns warrants much respect in the 3.50, following a good run in the Nell Gwynn, in spite of finishing seventh. The drop back to 5f gives her a good chance of securing a second victory. Morawij and Fire Eyes were both behind her on Town Moor but Polski Max is expected to run well in search of a fourth straight win. Cosmic Chatter has the potential to feature if at her best.
Tanseeb offers the best form in the penultimate race of the day; however the 100,000gns Humour has powerful connections and should run well in a race that could depict some future stars.
The last race provides another wide open market, with Hidden Justice the favourite on the back of his stylish win at Pontefract. Mashaari is a proven stayer on flat and the classy jumper, Cape Tribulation has claims too. Fleur De La Vie is an interesting entry with good form.
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