The big Derby trial is finally here, and what a running of the Dante this looks. Cracksman and So Di Mar are notable absentees from the day, but we promise that it’s still looking one of the top flat meetings of the flat season so far. Let’s hope it’s a winning one!
2:20 York – Mont Kiara (14/1 ew)
In a massively open contest it’s never easy to find a winner, but I think Mont Kiara. The four-year-old has a hood added and drops back to five furlongs, and is now on a very competitive mark. He’s handled the ground and can bounce back to form for Kevin Ryan.
2:55 York (Musidora)– The Black Princess (9/4)
John Gosden’s So Di Mar was our original fancy for this contest but has been pulled-out, so we like his other chance The Black Princess. She will relish the softer ground, and unlike the two Stoute chances will relish the conditions. This is a bit of a step up in class but she should be able stake a claim on the soft surface.
Queens Trust is the obvious danger having won the Group One Breeders’ Cup Fillies and Mares and warrants plenty of respect. Meanwhile Sir Michael Stoute’s other runner Smart Call has won all of his last four starts in native South Africa and makes his British debut this afternoon.
3:30 York (Dante)– Benbatl (8/1), Syphax (20/1) NAP e/w
We have everything you need to know ahead of the Dante in our preview. We’ve opted for Benbatl. This very nicely bred Godolphin colt should be much better now stepped up in trip, and has gone under the radar in the build up to the Dante. He is out of a Group One winner and shaped well when winning on debut. He was last seen finishing third in the Craven, even though that run may have come a bit quick. He should have a good chance if he handles the ground.
Kevin Ryan has given Syphax a glowing review in our exclusive ‘five to follow’, and Syphax looks like a classy horse who will be at his best over this trip. He ran an excellent race at this track to win the Acomb, beating a useful sort in Best Of Days, and has got better over the winter period. On return he ran well when crying out for a longer trip. The 66-1 price for the Derby may be a bit shorter on Friday.
4:00 York – Victory Bond (11/1), Murad Khan (14/1) ew
Victory Bond is a lightly raced four-year-old for William Haggas who came here vying for the Dante this time last year. He finished sixth that day before only defeating one rival in a Group Three contest in France. On the form of his maiden win, and his impressive breeding he could be much better than a handicapper.
Murad Khan is one who should enjoy the wet conditions in Yorkshire. The four-year-old won three races on the trot last year, before finishing last in a listed contest in October. He may not have enjoyed the ground that day, and may have a good each-way chance in this.
5:05 York – Vj Day
The beautifully bred Vj Day should have all the speed as a juvenile. Bred from a two-time Grade One winning dam he was named as one to keep an eye on from Kevin Ryan and could go well. The big worry is the soft ground, and it’s hard to guess how he will deal with the occasion too. But he’s one of the best on paper.
6:20 Newmarket – Mutarabby (15/8)
An In The Notebook entry who hasn’t been too far away on two appearances at the racecourse. Mutarabby was only narrowly beaten on debut, before being defeated by a length at Leicester last time. He lost out to an improving prospect last time and should have a good chance once again. His big rival looks to be Hold Sway.