We move on to the final day of the Dante Festival at York, where for the first two days the weather appears to have played havoc with the form and made it a good week for the bookies.
I spoke yesterday about having an inclination around soft ground leading to bigger priced winners and results on day two appeared to back that up with winners coming in at prices of 11/1, 10/1, 10/1, 20/1 and 20/1. I know it’s a small sample size and some real analysis will need to be done to support the hunch, but it does give the feeling that sometimes it might be better to take a more cautious approach and lay-off under soft conditions.
We did manage to find one of those bigger priced winners yesterday with Here Comes When coming in at 10/1, which gives a very different complexion to what has been a relatively poor week in terms of number of winners. It is the case that if you can just find one of those bigger priced winners it can set you up for the week during these festivals.
In terms of the Dante itself, the winner won well but I’d be surprised if he could figure in the Derby. He will need to be supplemented to start with and I just don’t think he’ll be good enough to win it, although it does look a bit weak this year so you never know.
On to today’s racing and there is again a fairly decent card highlighted by the first stayers’ ‘Cup’ race of the year. There wasn’t a massive amount that jumped out at me with regards to the wider card so we are just going to focus on the big one today.
3:30 1m6f (1m5f188y) Betway Yorkshire Cup (Group 2)
There are eight lining-up for the Yorkshire Cup, featuring the winner from last year and a couple of proper Group performers who are now stepping-up in trip to try their hand at proper staying prizes.
Clever Cookie won last year, seems to love running at York and has plenty of previous form on the soft, but the field this year has a bit more class about it and although he should go close if retaining ability I just think he might struggle to win this year against more progressive types.
There are a few who are relative novices in terms of staying races running here and potentially the most interesting is Simple Verse. She did of course win the St Leger and followed up last year in the Park Hill at Doncaster but on the whole she has been campaigned at middle distances. Connections now seem to have fully taken the plunge and decided to campaign her at staying distances presumably with The Ascot Gold Cup in mind. She has some terrific form over the 1m6f trip and she must be a contender here but I just fear the soft ground could be against her today.
Other relative novices at staying trips trying their hand here include Muntahaa and Endless Time. Both have shown decent form in their limited experience over longer trips and are worth watching in this sphere, but the one I am most interested in is DARTMOUTH.
Dartmouth had a very good season last year, the highlight being a win in the Hardwicke at Royal Ascot but also featuring wins over further at Chester and Chelmsford. Sir Michael Stoute has a strong record in this race recently, winning in both 2014 and 2015, and Dartmouth seems the type of older and improving horse he excels with. The one concern would be the softer ground but he has won on good to soft and I just feel he has a bit of class that will get him through conditions. I could easily see Dartmouth showing improvement now stepped up in trip and at 7/2 is fairly decent value.