York Dante & Lockinge – Ante-post analysis

York Dante Festival

Some would call it the first day of the summer, others are just happy to see some good, competitive racing on our TV screens.

And who could blame them for being excited; the Dante and Lockinge in the same week is always a tremendous sight.

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As always, I will dive into my best long-range plays for the upcoming week, but only one of them is ante-post due to how the timings of everything happening this week. Apologies, however, the prices are still very decent.

Trying to roll with the momentum of Call My Bluff’s third in the Chester Cup (advised at 12/1, went off 11/4), here is my look at both York and Newbury this week.


Flying back home

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The first horse to talk about comes in the opening race of day two at the York Dante Meeting as I’m taking a swing at http://gty.im/540676544  at 12/1 with William Hill.

The Lindum York Handicap over the fast five furlongs is a competitive race, as would be expected with £18,039 on offer to the winner, but there are a few at the top of the market I would be keen to take on.

Whenthedealinsdone seems to have his best form on softer ground, the same goes for Designer, and Korker won at York last year but is five pounds higher today.

Plenty in here could easily hit the frame, but at the top of my list is the Robert Cowell-trained five-year-old sporting the infamous colours of Middleham Park Racing.

Although he is halfway to double digits in age, he is still relatively lightly raced having not taken to the track until he was a three-year-old.

He comes into tomorrow fresh having not raced since last September which works well considering he was second to Raasel on seasonal reappearance last year and he won his first two races on the track as a three-year-old; he actually gave away five pounds to Raasel in that Goodwood race before the Michael Appleby competitor would go on to achieve a career-high mark of 108 just two months later.

As for Clarendon House, he is only three pounds higher than he was at the start of last year and he looks to be well-handicapped with conditions in his favour on Dante day.


The fantastic Foxes

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I’m sticking with day two at York and it’s the festival’s namesake, the Group 2 Dante Stakes, where I’m heading to next as THE FOXES at 13/2 with William Hill is a good play.

Firstly, I better mention that I will also be playing DANCING MAGIC at any price north of 20/1 (28/1 is currently available) as he has the ability to step up with this increased distance, however, Andrew Balding’s charge is the main play for me.

The Churchill three-year-old made a good start to the season in the Craven at Newmarket last month having beaten Dubai Mile, a subsequent Guineas fifth, at HQ at the end of last year.

He steps up to 1m2f tomorrow, something that suits him best on pedigree as he is a full brother to Aidan O’Brien’s Perotan and is a half-brother to Bangkok, Tactic, and Matterhorn who all got further.

It’s well known how high connections rate this horse, as shown by his name of ‘The Foxes’ for King Power Racing, and with a few unknowns in the field, he is the horse I like in the Dante.


Live by the Sword

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And finally, one of the big betting heats of the week is the ultra-competitive London Gold Cup Handicap at Newbury on Saturday and I’m siding with SILVER SWORD at 10/1 with William Hill.

Early-season three-year-old handicaps are always difficult to decipher as you always have to ask yourself the same questions. Have they trained on? Are they good when fresh? Is the two-year-old form actually that good?

Luckily, the Dylan Cunha-trained grey answers all of those questions well.

Firstly, sometimes it’s hard to tell if horses have trained on unless you have seen them yourself, but luckily Silver Sword has already been seen on track this season as he bolted up in a Southwell maiden 32 days ago.

Furthermore, a scan of his pedigree would also suggest he should be better at three than at two as his sire, Charm Spirit, won three Group 1s as a three-year-old and his damsire, Rip Van Winkle, was a different animal at three thanks to his trio of efforts behind Sea The Stars in the Guineas, Derby, and Eclipse as well as his Sussex Stakes victory at Goodwood.

Also, a look back at his two-year-old form proves to be a fruitful one as his fifth at odds of 250/1 to Military Order, the Epsom Derby ante-post second favourite, at Newmarket in October and second to Empress Wu, a 12/1 shot for today’s Musidora Stakes, at Lingfield in November reads well for a horse who has been given an opening mark of 82 by the handicapper.

He is a standout bet in my eyes and hopefully can get Lockinge Day off to a good start.

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