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13:50 York

This intriguing contest kicks off the Dante festival and any number of horses would appear to have chances. A quick look at the honours roll for the race will tell you to avoid older horses with the last eight winners being four-year-olds. Using this logic, the race can be boiled down to four viable contenders. This includes the current favourite Gaassee(2/1) for William Haggas and Tom Marquand, who teamed up with Ilraab to take this race twelve months ago. The talented son of Sea The Stars is three from four to date and has won with decisive ease since his promising debut. However this is his seasonal debut and I’d have a slight concern he might boil over, given he wears a hood to the start and it’ll be the biggest crowd he’s run in front of, so I’m willing to oppose what in all likelihood will turn into a Group horse.

The Johnston team are represented by Kings Prince(16/1) and they reach for the hood after a disappointing run at Epsom last month, where he stopped very quickly. He can be a bit hot and cold but has the ability to feature. It’s hard to rule out anything Ryan Moore rides at present but the Royal runner Just Fine(13/2) was too inconsistent last season and looks more exposed than others in the field.

I’ll side with the consistent Forza Orta(7/1) who seems to be on the improve. Kevin Ryan’s inmate has yet to be out of the places in eight career starts and showed a good attitude to win at Hamilton ten days ago. He seems versatile in regards to trip and ground, so with a featherweight of 8-3 to carry, he looks like a strong contender.


written by Peter Keogh

14:05 Newton Abbot

A small contest down Newton Abbott in this class 3 handicap hurdle race. Global Agreement all his wins have come on soft or heavy so hard to see the conditions today suiting him (Ground currently Good) Chapmanshype hasn't won since Sept 2020 and its difficult to make a case for him to reverse that slump.

Thahab Ifraq has won of this mark before and at a bigger outside price would be more of an each way play for each way punters. Philip Arson taking 5 pounds off will only help Thahab Ifraq even more.

Get Back Get Back was fairly consistent last season and usually runs his race and often places but is one of those horses who looks hard to place in terms of winning. 2 wins from 17 races.

Tulin is currently market favourite and although has won a couple of races I'm not quite sure why he is. Though partly I think the Paul Nicholls factor would maybe help plus this is his first run since having a wind op. Some horses take to it first time after a wind op some usually feel the benefits the race after. Has been off the track for a while and I'm not convinced the quicker ground will benefit him.

Diligent though is my selection. A previous course and distance winner and will like the good ground winning most his races on good ground. Last time out he was 2nd at this track behind Knappers Hill who has raced against some top novice hurdlers last season and ran with credit in most of them. So, on paper that form looks strong. Tulin is nowhere near Knappers Hill in terms of quality. So Diligent is a strong selection for me if he can get to the front and dictate things the opposition may find it hard to catch him.


written by Luke Tucker

14:25 York

This looks typically competitive for a York sprint and a whole host of the runners have claims in a wide-open event. Mr Lupton can be hard to catch right but he showed his customary late burst when overcoming a sluggish start to with something to spare when landing last year's renewal. Completely out of form thereafter, he starts this campaign off a handy looking mark and his yard have been amongst the winners.

Dakota Gold is very well handicapped nowadays though there is good reason for it, well backed on his return at Musselburgh, he once more failed to produce and trailed home last of eleven. Five times a winner at this course and likely to at least improve upon his return, there is every chance he will go well here (Won 5 of his 10 starts at the course) though he is very difficult to suggest betting and can only be watched before showing a little more.

Makanah is a regular in these types of events and he was probably a little unlucky not to get closer at Musselburgh last month, another who is well handicapped, he is easy to make a case for though like a few, he does struggle to get his head in front. Bergerac has done precious little wrong in his three starts this term and he went agonisingly close at Newmarket last time. Now up to a mark of ninety, he appears a big player though this would require a career best. Woven is closely matched with Bergerac though he has gone over two years since winning and he usually runs on when the bird has flown so to speak. Fairly handicapped judged at his best, he warrants plenty of respect from the place players although there are likelier winners.

Aberama Gold completely fluffed his lines when sent off a well backed favourite at Newcastle last-time, quite why or what was to blame is anyone's guess though he has since had his wind done and he has won at this course before. Hailing from the Keith Dalgleish yard (Won this race two years ago) one suspects he is worth forgiving and he is thirteen pounds below his last winning mark now.

Mr Wagyu had a terrific time of things last year and won five times, he comes from a yard firing and has won here before though his mark is now high enough and he is taken on as such. Similar comments apply to Nomadic Empire though he is feared for a yard who do so well here.

The rest are impossible to dismiss out of hand but a chance will be taken on the well handicapped Mr Lupton reaching the places and Aberama Gold gets a tentative slice of the vote to make most off an attractive mark.



written by Chris Connolly

15:00 York

The early favourite is Dragon Symbol who was an extremely consistent runner when trained by Archie Watson last season, winning his first four and then posting five placed efforts in Group 1 and Group 2 races over the summer – actually winning the Group 1 Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot only to be demoted by the stewards. Now with Roger Varian, he brings a bit of class to the table and won’t be far away at the finish if fully wound up on return.

Next in the early markets is Minzaal who is a prior course and distance winner having won the Group 2 Gimcrack here in 2020. After an extremely promising 2020 he only managed to make it to course on two occasions in 2021 however both runs confirmed that despite a tough year he still possessed plenty of ability, finishing the season with an excellent third behind Creative Force in the Group 1 British Champions Sprint Stakes at Ascot. As with the favourite he needs to prove his race fitness on return, however is still relatively unexposed and as a result could continue on an upward curve this season so gets the vote here.

A mention also for Hurricane Ivor who was a shade disappointing on reappearance at Newmarket a couple of weeks back, however is a prior Group 3 winner who has twice won over six furlongs when trained in France so could bounce back with race fitness on his side.


written by Dean Kilbryde

15:35 York

A race that should revolve around the two market principals, Emily Upjohn and Life Of Dreams. The former left a lasting impression when winning at Sandown last month, stretching away nicely to win by almost ten lengths to take her record to two wins from two and catapult herself towards the head of the Oaks markets.

The latter also put in a bold show when winning at Newbury on debut, travelling well and finishing off her race strongly to win by just over three lengths. While not quite as impressive in terms of the winning distance she nevertheless did everything asked of her and should be capable of building on that performance with another solid run here.

In my eyes there doesn’t seem to be too much between the two so I am a little surprised there is such a gap in terms of their respective prices, however when taking in to account Emily Upjohn actually carried a 7lbs penalty to victory with such ease last time out, and the fact that her trainer has won this race five times since 2011, I would have to side with John and Thady Gosden’s runner for victory here.


written by Dean Kilbryde

16:10 York

The unbeaten Samburu looks to maintain hs 100% record. Although this is the toughest test of what will be his three race career the Kingman colt looks to have a touch of class and his opposition doesn't seem to have enough in their respective lockers to upset the favourite.

With the three shortest priced horses, outside of the favourite, all still holding on to their maidens status you have to imagine that alone displays the difference in class between the market leader and his 10 opponents.

If you're a punter looking for an alternative at a much bigger price then System for the in-form Richard Hannon stable may do much better than his double figure odds may suggest based on his solid performances in group races last year. He'll need to improve on his seasonal reappearance but if he shows something resembling his best he could finish in the money.

All that being said it's hard to look anywhere but John Gosden's runner.


written by Rory Paddock


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