ITV Racing Tips: Check out our best bets for Day 1 of the Dante Festival at York
It's day one of the Dante Festival at York on Wednesday afternoon and while Derby clues may emerge later in the week on the Knavesmire there's still a top notch card in front of the ITV Racing cameras. Our in-house tipster Steve Chambers previews all the live action and picks out his best bets on the card...
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13:50 York - Sky Bet Race To The Ebor Jorvik Handicap
We kick off the live ITV action with a hugely competitive 1m 3f 188y handicap and the likes of La Yakel, Real Dream and White Wolf all sit prominently in the betting and look to be leading contenders, but in such a tough betting heat there could be more value elsewhere.
One that catches the eye is the Kim Bailey-trained AJERO, who is around the 20/1 mark, at the time of writing, and could be capable of at least sneaking in the frame. Second in the Duke Of Edinburgh Handicap at Royal Ascot last June, he then improved on that effort when winning at Glorious Goodwood off a mark of 91. He will find this much tougher off 98, but he's sure to improve significantly for his first run at Pontefract last month, where he finished ninth, and he could be a cracking each-way shot for this event. A decent hurdler, he's reverted to the Flat and makes his first trip to York racecourse and will be attempting to get his head back in front and perhaps book his place at the Royal meeting again.
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14:25 York - Churchill Tyres Handicap
Some old sprinting favourites will do battle in the Churchill Tyres Handicap at 14:25 with reigning champion Dakota Gold attempting to retain the 6f crown and the York specialist has to be given a second look when finalising your selections for the ultra-competitive contest. Summerghand, Bielsa and First Folio are another triumvirate often seen doing battle in this sort of contest and are well fancied to go close, while Khanjar is another prominent figure in a real tough puzzle to work out.
Julie Camacho's MAKANAH ran an absolute stormer in this race 12 months ago when finishing second to Dakota Gold and the eight-year-old has to be considered again at double-figured odds. He was fifth at York back last August off a mark of 101 and features here off 100, so if he can produce his best then has to be respected. He was runner-up off 96, so he doesn't need much improvement to be on the vicinity once again. He was eighth on his return to the track at Musselburgh, but should improve for that effort and could be the value in a fascinating race.
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15:00 York - 1895 Duke Of York Clipper Stakes
Star sprinting mare Highfield Princess will make her seasonal reappearance in the Group 2 Duke Of York Stakes at 15:00 and last season's Nunthorpe Stakes winner will be extremely tough to beat if she can replicate that fine display from last season's Ebor Festival. However, John Quinn's starlet is sure to have bigger fish to fry later in the campaign and giving weight away here she could just be a little vulnerable.
Creative Force was only seen a few days again landing a conditions event at Haydock in stunning fashion and could make a swift turnaround here, but the one that stands out is MARSHMAN, who is looking to make a breakthrough season into the upper echelons of the sprint division and the three-year-old is very interesting. A fine second in the Gimcrack at York last season, he showed her class with a returning victory in a Group 3 at Chantilly, so heads to York with huge potential and receiving significant weight form his rivals can reign here and land his biggest prize to date.
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15:35 York - Tattersalls Musidora Stakes
Sir Michael Stoute's INFINITE COSMOS will put her Oaks credentials on the line in the Musidora Stakes at 15:35 and the Freemason Lodge inmate can show her class and book her place at Epsom in a few weeks by storming to an emphatic victory in this event, which has often thrown up classy Classic contenders.
The daughter of Sea The Stars produced a sparkling display on her second start last time out when breezing to a four-and-a-quarter length victory in a Newmarket maiden contest, and she's now only second favourite to impressive Chester winner Savethelastdance in the Oaks market. She will need to improve on that effort, as she takes on the likes of Novakai, Gather Ye Rosebuds and Lambada, who all appear smart fillies, but Infinite Cosmos could be the next star off the Stoute production line and she can bound to Group success in one of the highlights of the afternoon.
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