Dante Festival Day 2 Tips: High Definition to enhance Derby claims at York

Dante Festival Day 2 Tips: Check out our best bets for York on Thursday.
Dante Festival Day 2 Tips: Check out our best bets for York on Thursday.

Day two of the Dante Festival at York will see the Dante Stakes take centre stage, and Steve Chambers picks out his best bets for the action on Thursday afternoon...

14:40 York

We are set fair for a cracking day's action on the Knavesmire as day two of York's Dante Festival will light up Thursday's racing, and there's some competitive handicaps for punters to get stuck into, and it's the competitive-looking 14:40 contest that is worth taking a closer look at.

Ed Walker's Matthew Flinders and the Michael Dods-trained Brunch are battling it out for favouritism and both appear to have excellent chances. The former was a fine third in the Spring Cup at Newbury over a mile, and can build on that effort here. However, he's been given a 2lb rise for that display, and while he's got winning form at Doncaster, he's failed to get his head in front on his two previous visits to York, so could be worth taking on.

Brunch was hugely progressive last season, and a brace of wins at York in July and August means he has to be respected, but having propelled into the low 100s in the handicap, he could well be vulnerable to a more attractively handicapped rival. That adversary could be the Richard Fahey-trained Hartswood, who looks overpriced. He was beaten by Brunch in one of those aforementioned York races, but is much better off at the weights this afternoon. Dropped 1lb for a mediocre comeback run at Thirsk at the start of the month, Hartswood is yet to finish out the frame in three runs at York (1 win, 2 places), so at double-figured odds he marks excellent each-way value.

York 14:40
Hartswood silk

Hartswood (EW)


15:10 York

It's been over a decade since Aidan O'Brien tasted victory in the Dante Stakes, but the master of Ballydoyle will be looking to return to the York winner's enclosure after the Group 2 contest on Thursday with High Definition, who sits at the head of the betting.

The star juvenile has been one of the most talked about horses in recent months, and he currently sits as second favourite in the 2021 Derby betting, and a win here would see his price contract further for the Epsom Classic, and it will see him challenge stablemate Bolshoi Ballet for favouritism, after that class act eased to victory in the Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial at the weekend.

Two wins from two at the Curragh as a two-year-old, which included the Group 2 Beresford Stakes, have highlighted High Definition's potential, and you have to feel that he will improve significantly for the run on Thursday, but he looks to be a solid punting option.

The likes of Gear Up and Royal Champion look smart performers, but High Definition could prove to be the next superstar off the Ballydoyle production line, and he will look to follow Golden Horn, who back in 2015 won this race before going on to win the Derby.

York 15:10
High Definition silk

High Definition


15:40 York

Nigel Tinkler's Acklam Express has been competing in top notch Group contests in Meydan recently, but the son of Mehmas will return to British shores on Thursday and sets the standard in the 15:40, which is a five-furlong sprint.

Marco Botti's Atalis Bay beat Paul Midgley's Burning Cash at Nottingham last time out, and that pair are set to lock horns once again, and both have to fancy their chances of playing a notable role here, but there could be a hugely progressive filly lurking further down the racecard that can strike here.

Kevin Ryan's Dexter Belle has only had two career runs, but having shown promise on debut when seventh at York in July, she then improved immeasurably when storming to a five-and-a-half length victory at Pontefract in early April. She will need to improve in what is a much tougher assignment, but the manner in which she sprinted clear of her rivals that day suggest that she could be a notable sprinter for the Ryan team this season.

She will benefit from the fillies' allowance against the boys here, and if she can continue on an upward curve then she can bound to glory on the Knavesmire, and she is worth etching in the notebook as a sprinter to follow.

York 15:40
Dexter Belle silk

Dexter Belle

Today's Racing Naps
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