Dante Meeting Day Two: Look To The East(erby’s) At Northern Track
Moving into the second Day of York’s Dante meeting and the sun looks set to be still shining on the Knavesmire, sending the ground into good to firm territory. Here we pick out our three best bets on the Thursday card, including in the feature race of the meeting.
3:30 Betfred Dante Stakes
John Gosden is a man to be feared whenever he shows up in a Group contest, but particularly so in this race which he has taken in two of the past three years. He launches a dual pronged attack on the race this year in the form of Roaring Lion – who ran a cracker to be fifth in the 2000 Guineas – and Crossed Baton who was no more than workmanlike when landing the Epsom Derby Trial. Both are respected, but predictably haven’t been missed by the market.
The one who does look to be a little overpriced to our eyes is the Tim Easterby runner, Wells Farhh Go. Not sighted at the track yet this season, we can only imagine he has been showing plenty at home to be set this as his first assignment. Unbeaten in two starts at two, with each of those runs significantly coming at this track, he looked better the further he went when nabbing James Garfield on the line in the Group 3 Acomb Stakes over 7f, leaving the impression that a step up in trip would suit. A fact that is backed up by his pedigree.
Sire, Farhh, had the misfortune of belonging to the same generation as Frankel, but still managed to land two Group 1’s, including over just shy of this trip in the Champion Stakes. The presence of Galileo on the dam side of the pedigree also offers plenty of encouragement that he may find more now stepped up in trip. He’s the each way bet in the big one at the prices.
Tip: Wells Farhh Go each way at 8/1 with Sky Bet
4:05 Betfred TV Hambleton Handicap
Ordinarily we wouldn’t be too keen on backing a horse who was beaten 15 ½l last time out, but at what looks a good value each way price, we are willing to forgive Afaak here. There’s always a chance that a horse will need the run first time out and this Charles Hills colt certainly ran as if that was the case at Newbury on what was his first start in 204 days. Outpaced early, he was simply never in the race that day, and wasn’t knocked around once the bird had flown.
If able to get closer to his form from the backend of last season, then he is entitled to go close here. On his final start at three, he went down by just ½l to a horse by the name of Addeybb, when conceding 1lb to that rival. That’s the same Adeybb who turned this years Lincoln Handicap into a procession, is now rated 117, and vying for favouritism in the Group 1 Lockinge Stakes. Clearly that William Haggas runner has progressed significantly, but we still fancy Afaak has room for manoeuvre off a mark of 97 here.
Tip: Afaak each way at 8/1 with Ladbrokes
5:35 Investec Wealth Handicap
Our final bet of the day comes in the finale where another Easterby runner is fancied to go close. Michael Easterby is the trainer in question this time, and the six year old Arrowtown the horse.
Even a literal reading of the form of his latest run over this course and distance would suggest he ought to be on the premises, having been beaten just a short head off a 3lb lower mark. That doesn’t tell anything like the full story of that race though. Racing towards the rail while the race unfolded down the centre of the track, Arrowtown had nowhere to go until inside the final furlong. Even when in the clear he looked to have little chance of reeling in the leader October Storm. Having failed so narrowly we have no doubt he would have won had he managed to procure a run even a little earlier. Fit and well following a spin over an inadequate trip at Thirsk, he can belatedly gain compensation here.
Tip: Arrowtown to win at SP