York Dante Festival Day 3 Bets | Gallant galloper at Newbury

York Dante Festival

It’s the final day of the York Dante Festival today, though it’s the opening day of Lockinge weekend which is one to look forward to.

Yesterday’s two bets failed to feature, which was a shame, though it’s no secret about how tough York has been this week, so let’s hope today changes.

 

2:30 Newbury – Gallant Lion @ 5/2 with William Hill – 1pt Win

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I have a long-standing love for Gallant Lion due to his time with Tony Carroll, though even with my Mill House Racing-tinted glasses put to one side, his profile in the second race at Newbury is promising.

Having won four races on the bounce at four different tracks for four different jockeys last season (has any other horse done this?), the Roaring Lion gelding moved with Alan King over the winter and showed his health over course and distance in April.

That was a promising run on his first start of the season, and he was certainly an eye-catcher on both the track and in the betting market.

Looking back on his time for Carroll last season, his crowning moment occurred at Windsor when he won a Racing League handicap under Saffie Osborne.

I was on track that day and the tactics – much like his previous runs – were to get him plenty of cover and then pick horses off.

Unfortunately, his powerful stride dragged Osborne to the front far too early, though his pure ability got him out of trouble as he held on to win by a neck.

He’s a talented horse who deserves to win a big pot at some stage, so hopefully today can help propel him onto better things this season.

 

2:45 York – Qitaal @ 14/1 with William Hill (5 places) – 1pt EW

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Reading previous comments from Charlie Johnston, it’s fair to say that Qitaal is a highly-regarded horse in Kingsley Park and can improve past his mark of 85.

Firstly, the story of this five-year-old is fascinating as he started his career at Mark Johnston’s before he was sold for 220,000gns during a Shadwell dispersal in 2021.

He raced just once for Ken Condon before the Johnstons bought him back for just 4,000gns in July 2023.

After his victory at Doncaster on his first start for 687 days in March 2024, Charlie Johnston (via Racing Post’s analysis) said: “We trained Qitaal as a two-year-old but sadly at the time Shadwell were cutting back and sold all of our horses.

“I made as strong a case as I could that this was one they didn’t want to be letting go of and when Robert Ng bought him I contacted them and asked if there was any chance this horse could stay with us. We think a lot of him.”

The full quotes are worth reading, but this is a small snippet that shows how much they think of him.

Furthermore, he was third in a very hot Haydock novice stakes on debut which makes him well-handicapped here.

New Kingdom (rated 105) won the race, Dark Moon Rising (once rated 102) finished second and Deauville Legend (rated 111) was in fourth. Although that piece of form is from 2021, his lightly raced profile means it’s still relevant here.

Finally, today’s faster ground should suit as he is from the family of Matterhorn (Meydan Group 1 winner), Tactic (2010 Group 3 Curragh Cup winner), and The Foxes (2023 Group 2 Dante Stakes winner), all of which loved quick ground.

So, after that long explanation behind the fascinating Qitaal, I’m chancing him EW.

 

3:15 York – Spiritual @ 8/1 with Sky Bet (4 places) – 1pt EW

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In the Listed Sky Bet Fillies’ Stakes, Spiritual can take a step forward at this new trip.

The three-year-old by Invincible Spirit comes from a family of stayers; her dam, Wild Irish Rose, won a Listed race over 1m6f and the rest of her extended family stayed further than a mile in time.

John & Thady Gosden’s €280,000 purchase has raced three times so far, all of which over seven furlongs, though she’s shown ability each time.

On debut, she did well to catch David O’Meara’s Lokana and James Fanshawe’s Surveyor at Leicester in September 2023 before she ran in the Group 2 Rockfel Stakes 17 days later.

Credit where credit is due, she ran well for a long time in this race, though she became notably unbalanced in the Newmarket dip and faded to finish fourth.

Still, in a race that included Carla’s Way, Shuwari (Group 1 Fillies’ Mile runner-up) and Ylang Ylang (Group 1 Fillies’ Mile winner and Group 1 1000 Guineas fifth), finishing just five-and-a-half lengths behind them despite a far-from-perfect run is commendable.

After another run at Newmarket at the start of this season where she again became unbalanced in the dip, she steps up in trip here on a much fairer course.

Today’s field looks beatable as plenty in here will either need a career-best or will need to show more than they already have, so Spiritual looks like a solid play.

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