2018 York Dante Festival Trends & Free Tips (16th Weds – 18th Fri)

York Dante Stakes Free Tips and Key Trends

Yes, a top three days of action ahead on the Knavesmire as York racecourse stages their Dante Festival Meeting (Weds 16th- Fri 18th May), and here at TRAINERS-QUOTES we’ll be covering ALL the LIVE ITV races over the fixture from a trends angle.

We’ll have plenty more Classic clues on offer, none more so that the Dante Stakes on Thursday – a race that has produced four Epsom Derby winners in the last 16 years. We’ve also key races like the Musidora Stakes (Weds) and Yorkshire Cup (Fri) to take in on what’s set to be a cracking three days.

Like all big race days we’ve got the main trends and stats to apply to the race. We’re sure these will help point you find the best profiles of past winners and hopefully point you in the direction of a few winners. So, let’s get going!


DAY ONE, Wednesday, 16th May 2018


2.20 –Sky Bet First Race Special Jorvik Stakes (Handicap) Cl2 1m4f ITV

14/14 – Had won over at least 1m2f before
13/14 – Aged 4 or 5 years-old
11/14 – Returned 9/1 or shorter in the betting
11/14 – Placed in the top 3 last time out
10/14 – Had raced within the last 6 weeks
10/14 – Rated between 80 and 93
10/14 – Carried 9-1 or less in weight
9/14 – Had won at least 3 times before
9/14 – Winners from stall 6 or higher
9/14 – Had won over 1m4f before
8/14 – Had run at York before
7/14 – Aged 5 years-old
6/14 – Unplaced last time out
5/14 – Winning favourites
4/14 – Won last time out
2/14 – Trained by Mark Johnston
2/14 – Ridden by Tom Queally
2/14 – Ridden by Ryan Moore
0/14 – Winners from stall 1
The average winning SP in the last 9 years is 13/2

TQ VERDICT: The boys in blue of Godolphin have a decent hand here with both Banksea and HAMADA heading to post. The first-named is the highest-rated in the field at 104 but as a result has 9-10 to lump round. He’s a consistent 5 year-old that was placed in three decent Meydan handicaps in Dubai earlier this year but is also up to 1m4f for the first time. That would be a concern as all wins have been over 1m2f or shorter, but in his defence he’s yet to try it and connections must clearly feel he’s worth a crack over it. However, the key trends do lean more towards Godolphin’s other runner – Hamada, from the in-form Charlie Appleby camp. This 4 year-old gets in here with just 8-12 and off a mark of 92 and with 10 of the last 14 winners rated between 80-93 then that’s a big plus. He’s also a proven winner over this 1m4f after running on well over this trip last time at Wolverhampton. Yes, this is a step up but a 5lb higher rating looks fair and with just four career runs should also have more to offer. With key age, weight and draw trends also on his side then he’s got a lot going for him. Sticking with the draw, even over this 1m4f trip, we’ve not had a winner from stall 1 in the last 14 years. It might be something or nothing but is still worth noting – Crowned Eagle is coming out of stall 1 this year so would have to defy this dubious trend. All the others in behind Hamada look closely-matched but if we stick with the rating and days since recent runs (6 weeks) trends the other two that can go well are Contango and Tuff Rock. The final one worth a mention is the Clive Cox-trained Now Children, mainly because the yard is in cracking form. This 4 year-old gets in with just 8-11 but has done little wrong in winning his last three in decent fashion and there is a good chance here will be more to come. A 98 day break might look a negative but this horse has gone well fresh in the past – he’s another to consider but I’ll be sticking with the boys in blue of Godolphin here with Hamada.


2.55 – Infinity Tyres Stakes (Handicap) Cl2 6f ITV

15/16 – Aged 6 or younger
14/16 – Drawn in stall 6 or higher
13/16 – Had run at York before (5 won at the track before)
12/16 – Had won over this trip before
11/16 – Carried 8-12 or MORE
9/16 – Returned 7/1 or shorter in the betting
9/16 – Finished unplaced last time out
7/16 – Returned either 6/1 or 7/1 in the betting
8/16 – Won by a 4 year-old
4/16 – Ran at Newmarket last time out
4/16 – Won their previous race
1/16 – Winning outright favourite
Trainer Michael Easterby won the race in 2011 & 2014
Trainer David O’Meara won the race in 2018 and 2015
The average winning SP in the last 10 years is 11/1

TQ VERDICT: 19 runners heading to post here so a tough one to unravel but with 15 of the last 16 winners aged 6 or younger then this is a key opening trend we can have on our side. Of the 19 this knocks out six. Next up is the draw, as 14 of the last 16 came from stalls 6 or higher so of the 14 left this gets rid of another 4. Course form is another thing to look for with 13 of the last 16 having raced here at York before (5 winners), while with 11 of the last 16 carrying 8-12 or more then this will help put a line through a few more. Danzeno, Foolaad, Orion’s Bow, George Bowen and Gin In The Inn are all sure to be popular in the betting but all five don’t look the best value, plus also have a few stats against them – Foolaad, Danzeno and Orion’s Bow (age), George Bowen (draw) and Gin In The Inn (weight, recent run). Based on those trends, those that stand out are TERUNTUM STAR, FINAL VENTURE, FLYING PURSUIT & GOLDEN APOLLO – all four are respected. Teruntum Star hails from the in-form Kevin Ryan team and will be a lot fitter for a recent third at Ripon last month. He’s dropped a pound for that but is a proven course and distance winner at York and will be much more at home on the quicker surface. He’s topweight but that’s for a reason – he’s the highest-rated horse in the race! Final Venture is another that should come on a lot for his return run when fifth at Naas last time. But that also came in a Listed race so this return to a handicap will be a lot easier and off a mark of 102 is starting to look well-handicapped considering he was rated as high as 112 last August. Trip and ground are fine. Flying Pursuit was a fair fifth in this race 12 months ago and despite being off a massive 15lbs higher this season he’s a horse that has improved bundles over the last year. Yes, he’s 7 lengths to make up on Gin In The Inn based on his last run at Ripon but that was his first of the season and normally takes a race or two to get going. He’s a horse that loves York too – his recent form here reads an impressive 2-5-1-3. Finally, Golden Apollo is another proven course and distance winner in the field that returns on a mark just 3lbs higher than his last win. He was fourth in a Class 3 handicap on his seasonal reappearance run at York 12 months ago but won over this trip here last June. He’s a horse that has risen up the ranks over the last year but is rarely far away in his races and at a track we know he likes that could be the case again here.


3.30 – Duke of York Clipper Logistics Stakes (Group 2) Cl1 6f ITV

15/16 – Came from stall 9 or lower
14/16 – Previous Listed or Group Three winners
14/16 – Had won over 6f before
12/16 – Had run at York before
11/16 – Came from stall 7 or lower
12/16 – Had a previous race that season
11/16 – Won by either a 4 or 5 year-old
10/16 – Returned a double-figure price in the betting
8/16 – Unplaced last time out
6/16 – Ran at Newmarket last time out
5/16 – Won by the favourite
4/16 – Won their last race
4/16 – Had won a Group One race previously in their career
2/16 – Ridden by Jim Crowley
Tasleet won the race in 2017
Magical Memory won the race in 2016 and was second in 2017
The average winning SP in the last 10 years is 14/1

TQ VERDICT: Tasleet won this race 12 months ago, while the 6 year-old Brando was impressive on his return run last month in the Group Three Abernant Stakes at Newmarket, however, it will be a bit of a shock if Godolphin’s 125-rated HARRY ANGEL can’t land this decent Group Two prize. Yes, he has to give 5lbs away to most of the others but he should still have enough in-hand. The Clive Cox team are also in rude health during this early part of the season so despite having 207-day absence to overcome the stable’s good form is clearly a plus. This 4 year-old does have a bit to prove after flopping as favourite in the Champion Sprint Stakes at Ascot last October but it could just be Ascot isn’t really his track – he’s raced there four times now and been beaten every time. Of the rest, course and distance winner Sir Dancealot is another that can’t be underestimated and the same applies to the current champion – Tasleet – who is sure to be primed to go well on his return run. However, I’ll stick with Harry Angel to get back to winning ways for the in-form Cox camp and move onto bigger and better things as the season progresses.


4.05 – Tattersalls Musidora Stakes (Group 3) (Fillies) Cl1 1m2f88y ITV

15/16 – Had won a race before
14/16 – Returned 5/1 or shorter in the betting
12/16 – Came from stalls 1-4 (inc)
12/16 – Had a previous run that season
12/16 – Finished 4th or better last time
10/16 – Went onto run in the Epsom Oaks
8/16 – Won by the favourite
8/16 – Won their previous race
5/16 – Previous distance winners over 1m2f
5/16 – Trained by John Gosden (5 of the last 7)
4/16 – Ridden by Frankie Dettori (last 3)
3/16 – Trained by Sir Michael Stoute
2/16 – Ridden by William Buick
1/16 – Went onto win the Epsom Oaks (Sariska 2009)
0/16 – Had run at York before
10 of the last 12 winners returned 7/2 or shorter in the betting
The average winning SP in the last 10 years is 5/2
Trainer Aidan O’Brien has never won the race

TQ VERDICT: Trainer David Simcock took this in 2014 so his unbeaten Ejtyah can’t be overlooked. She won her only start when winning by ½ a length at Chelmsford back in December and is clearly held in high regard to back the leap up to Group Three class so quickly. Ceilidhs Dream caught the eye when winning at HQ last time over a mile and the way she stayed on that day suggests this step up to 1m2f will be a plus. The Beckett camp do well with their fillies so we can expect a bold showing from her. LUBINKA is another to note after winning well last time out at Lingfield for the Peter Chapple-Hyam yard and based on that effort might be worth sticking with. That came over 1m4f so we know she stays and last season wasn’t disgraced when beaten just over 6 lengths in the Group One Fillies’ Mile at Newmarket. Ok, it’s questionable what she beat last time but she did it well and there looked to be a lot left in the tank. She’s a horse that’s clearly wintered well and has also benefitted from the step up in trip so with proven stamina and a few questions surrounding the others then gets the verdict. Of course, it’s hard to ignore the John Gosden record in this race – he’s won the last three runnings and 5 of the last 8 and have Highgarden entered here. However, this 3 year-old flopped as a beaten favourite last time out at Sandown when odds-on so that would be a concern. She took a bit of a hold that day and although the Gosden team are sure to have worked on that I’d still like to see her display that on the track. She holds some fancy entries and being that was also her first run back then I do think we’ll see a better run here but does have a few niggles to warrant looking elsewhere. Give And Take is the final runner to mention from the in-form William Haggas yard. This 3 year-old was second in the race Highgarden finished third in last time so in theory has that one’s measure. But both horses were still beaten 3 lengths by the winner that day so I’m not sure how solid the form is. Both also have a bit to prove over this trip so with that in mind I’ll stick with Lubinka, who has already won over further, plus I think Ceilidhs Dream looked in need of this longer distance last time and rates the main threat.




DAY TWO, Thursday, 127h May 2018

2.20 – Betfred ‘Supports Jack Berry House’ Stakes (Handicap) Cl2 5f ITV

10/10 – Had raced at York before
9/10 – Returned a double-figure price
9/10 – Came from a single-figure draw
9/10 – Failed to win last time out
9/10 – Had won at least 4 times before
8/10 – Had run in the last 5 weeks
8/10 – Winning distance 3/4 length or shorter
8/10 – Finished in the top 5 last time out
8/10 – Aged 6 or older
6/10 – Returned between 10/1 and 16/1
6/10 – Favourites placed
5/10 – Rated between 87-92
5/10 – Carried 8-10 or less in weight
2/10 – Trained by Michael Easterby
0/10 – Winning favourites
Duke Of Firenze won the race in 2016 and 2017
Out Do won the race in 2015

TQ VERDICT: Some key trends to look at here – starting with 9 of the last 10 winners coming from a single-figure stall. With 19 runners heading to post then is this is to be upheld we can put a line through 10 of the runners – over half the field! Those coming from a single draw are – Dark Shot (1), El Astronaute (2), Copper Knight (3), East Street Revenue (4), Line Of Reason (5), Orient Class (6), Royal Brave (7), Edward Lewis (8) and Excessable (9). It’s also been a bad race for the favourites with none of the last 10 winning, while don’t be too worried if your fancy heads here having not won it’s last race – 9 of the last 10 winners did the same. Royal Brave, Major Jumbo and Sheepscar Lad & Gracious Lad are the four last time out winners in the field. Trainer Mick Easterby has won the race in 2011 and 2013 so his Carlton Frankie will be trying to add to that record, but with 8 of the last 10 winners having raced in the last 5 weeks this would be against this 4 year-old, who returns from a 216 day break. 8 of the last 10 winners were also aged 6 or older so of the nine mentioned earlier only two stand out – LINE OF REASON (e/w) and ORIENT CLASS (e/w). At the prices both can be supported. Orient Class was fourth in the race 12 months ago and is only 2lbs higher. He was drawn high that day so a better starting berth in 6 is a plus and he should be spot-on for this after two runs on the AW. The 8 year-old Line Of Reason is a proven course and distance winner that continues to drop to a nice handicap mark. Yes, his recent runs have not been great but this once-rated 111 horse is now down to a mark of 92 and surely that will see him running much more competitive races this season. Of the rest, recent Chester third El Astronaute and proven course and distance winner Copper Knight will be popular, while last year’s third – POYLE VINNIE (e/w) – can’t be discounted either. This 8 year-old does have draw 14 to overcome but was a close second at Thirsk last time out and gets in here on a massive 16lbs lower mark than 12 months ago!


2.55 – Betfred Middleton Stakes (Group 2) (Fillies & Mares) Cl1 1m2f88y ITV

14/14 – Aged 4 or 5 years-old
12/14 – Placed in the top 4 last time out
11/14 – Won over 1m2f before
10/14 – Priced 7/2 or shorter in the betting
11/14 – Favourites placed
9/14 – Had won at least 4 times before
9/14 – Having first run of the season
7/14 – Wining favourites (including 5 of last 10)
7/14 – Had raced at York before
4/14 – Ran at Newmarket last time out
5/14 – Winners from stall 4
3/14 – Won last time out
3/14 – Had won at York before
2/14 – Trained by Sir Michael Stoute
2/14 – Ridden by Ryan Moore
1/14 – Irish trained winners
1/14 – French trained winners
0/14 – Winners from stall 1

TQ VERDICT: With all of the last 14 winners aged 4 or 5 then this would certainly be a negative for the 6 year-olds Chain Of Daisies, who is the only course and distance winner in the field and Smart Call. Turret Rocks comes over from Ireland so has to be respected from the Jim Bolger yard. She was last seen running well on her return in a Group Two in Ireland, while last season she was placed in the Group One Pretty Polly Stakes – she’s respected and the fact she’s making the trip over from her shrewd yard suggests she’s ready to run well. Coronet is the one that certainly sets the standard though after running well in top Group One races last season. She also took the Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot last June but, for me, the drop back to 1m2f is not sure to suit. Frankie is a plus in the saddle but it’s also worth noting she’s only won one of her last 7 races so hasn’t been the easiest horse to win with. She’s expected to go well and on the book is the one to beat but doesn’t look much value and has been prone to being placed, rather than winning. So that leaves us with MORI. The Sir Michael Stoute yard also have Smart Call and have a fine record in the race but Mori has Ryan Moore on his back and that could be the difference. This 4 year-old had a good start to last season – winning twice and was only just touched-off by Coronet in the Ribblesdale. She wasn’t quite right after that but it’s interesting she’s had a wind-op over the winter so might be worth chancing, especially as her last two runs over this 1m2f trip have been winning ones.


3.30 – Betfred Dante Stakes (Group 2) Cl1 1m2f88y ITV

14/16 – Winners that went onto run in the Epsom Derby (4 won)
13/16 – Finished third or better last time out
10/16 – Returned 8/1 or shorter in the betting
10/16 – Won their previous race
10/16 – Had a previous race that season
8/16 – Went onto be placed in the Epsom Derby
4/16 – Went onto win the Epsom Derby
3/16 – Winning favourites
3/16 – Won by trainer Aidan O’Brien (won it 4 times in all)
3/16 – Won by trainer Sir Michael Stoute (won it 6 times in all)
3/16 – Won by jockey Ryan Moore
3/16 – Had won over 1m2f before
2/16 – Ridden by Frankie Dettori
2/16 – Ridden by William Buick
2/16 – Trained by John Gosden (two of last 3 runnings)
1/16 – Had run at York before
0/16 – Winners from stall 2
Just 1 winning favourite in the last 11 runnings
Golden Horn (2015) was the last Dante winner to go onto win the Epsom Derby
The average winning SP in the last 11 years is 9/1

TQ VERDICT: This race has developed into one of the best Derby Trials in recent years – with four of the last 16 Dante winners going onto glory at Epsom the following month – Golden Horn, in 2015, was the latest to win both races. Trainer Aidan O’Brien has won the race three times in recent years and sends James Cook and Zabriskie over, but despite both being respected both would need to step up on what we’ve seen on the track so far. The John Gosden yard also have a good recent record in the race and with Crossed Baton and ROARING LION they have a decent hand again here. Crossed Baton has done little wrong in winning his last three but it’s hard to know how much more he’s got in the locker with both recent wins being by narrow margins. Therefore, their other runner – Roaring Lion – gets the call. This 3 year-old is the highest-rated in the field at 116 and although he’s not quite fired this season the step up to 1m2f looks a good move. He’s looked a bit one-paced over a mile this season but still wasn’t disgraced in finishing fifth (2 ½ lengths) in the 2,000 Guineas. The winner of that race – Saxon Warrior – is the clear Derby favourite so that run still looks a good effort. Breeding suggests this trip is just about within range and if running up to his 116 mark then he’s got 8lbs in-hand on the next best – WELLS FARHH GO. That horse is now 2-from-2 and was last seen winning the Acomb Stakes here last August. That was over 7f but being a Galileo colt then there is every reason to think there is more to come now stepped up in distance. He rates a big danger to the selection and you feel that if this Tim Easterby-trained runner was in the care of one of the big yards he’d be a tad shorter in the betting for this. The consistent Mildenberger can’t be overlooked either – he represents last year’s winning connections and was a gutsy winner of at Listed race at HQ last time over 1m1f. He’s a tough sort that is sure to be involved but did see the back of Roaring Lion in the Royal Lodge Stakes last September so would have some ground to make up with that horse. White Mocha and Godolphin’s Nordic Lights are others to note and have done little wrong so far during their careers but this would require a step up so I’m happy to stick with the 2,000 Guineas form and pin my hopes on Roaring Lion improving now over this longer trip.


4.05 – Betfred TV Hambleton Stakes (Handicap) (Listed Race) Cl1 1m ITV

13/13 – Rated between 96-105
12/13 – Carried 8-7 or more in weight
12/13 – Had won over a mile before
11/13 – Favourites placed in the top 4
11/13 – Returned 10/1 or shorter
10/13 – Winning distance – 1 length or shorter
9/13 – Came from a single-figure draw
9/13 – Aged between 4-6 years-old
9/13 – Had won at least 4 times before
8/13 – Had raced in the last 6 weeks
7/13 – Placed last time out
6/13 – Aged 4 years-old
3/13 – Winning favourite (1 joint, 1 co)
1/13 – Won last time out
Here Comes When won the race in 2017

TQ VERDICT: With ALL of the last 13 winners rated between 96 and 105 then if this trend is to be repeated we’d only be left with five – Afaak, Original Choice, Love Dreams, Cape Byron and Custom Cut. 9 of the last 13 winners were aged between 4 and 6 years-old too so of that quartet that might be a negative for the 9 year-old Custom Cut. Looking at the trainer stats at the track there are some make some pretty dire reading. Richard Fahey (4%), Mark Johnston (4%) and Mick Easterby (2%) are three to mention – they run Third Time Lucky, Love Dreams and Qaffaal. In contrast, the William Haggas yard do very well with their older horses at the track (22%) and also boast a decent +£25 level stakes profit over the last 5 seasons. With that in mind their ORIGINAL CHOICE – who fitted most of the key trends already mentioned is the call. This 4 year-old was a good winner at Wetherby last time out and after idling a bit in the closing stages probably won with a bit more in-hand than the neck winning distance. A 3lb rise for that looks fair, while the yard’s overall form of late is good. Other key trainer trends to note are Charles Hills (17%) and Andrew Balding (18%). Hills runs Afaak, who should strip a lot fitter for a recent below-par run at Newbury, while Balding has ISOMER (e/w). The last-named is slightly more interesting as he runs for last year’s winning connections. A recent third at HQ was an encouraging run and with just 8-8 gets weight from most of the others. He’s a tiny bit to prove over this 1m trip but stayed on well enough last time over it to suggest it’s worth another crack.




DAY THREE, Friday, 18th May 2018

2.20 – Langleys Solicitors EBF Stallions Marygate Fillies’ Stakes (Listed Race) Cl1 5f ITV

12/13 – Had won over 5f before
12/13 – Had raced in the last 5 weeks
12/13 – Won by a horse foaled in February or later
11/13 – Drawn in stall 4 or higher
11/13 – Returned 7/1 or shorter in the betting
11/13 – Had won between 1-2 times before
11/13 – Won last time out
10/13 – Placed favourites
6/13 – Winners from stall 9
6/13 – Winning favourites

TQ VERDICT: Plenty of guesswork requited here as these 2 year-olds are either unraced or very lightly raced. With 12 of the last 13 winners having won over 5f before then having a bit of experience is a plus, while 11 of the last 13 were came from draw 4 or higher. This would be a negative for those draw low (1-3) – Snazzy, Nicki’s Angel and Evangeline Samos. Being foaled in February or later and having race in the last 5 weeks are another key trends to look for, while it might just be a coincidence but 6 of the last 13 winners have actually come from stall 9, including last year’s winner. With this in mind the John Quinn-trained SIGNORA CABELLO is one for the shortlist coming from the 9 berth this year and despite this being a big step-up on her Bath win last time out is one of the more experienced runners in the field with two races already. These fillies can improve very quickly at this age and for a few runs, while the yard actually does ok with their juveniles at the track (5 from 28, 18%). Mark Johnston won the race in 2015 and their recent Chester scorer – No Lippy – is sure to be popular after blasting out the stalls to win by 1 ¼ lengths last week on the Roodee – she can go well. The Richard Fahey yard have won 2 of the last 7 runners so their Nicki’s Angel, despite her draw, can’t be ruled out despite, especially as the form of her recent win has since been franked with the second winning next time. Richard Hannon, Tim Easterby and Mick Channon don’t have the best strike-rates with their 2 year-olds here so their runners Spell, Arletta Star and Cotubanama are overlooked. However, the William Haggas (27%) and Charlie Appleby (46%) yards do have much better records here with their juveniles. Haggas runs Carrie’s Vision and with Ryan Moore booked is another that is going to be popular. She won well on debut at Yarmouth and is clearly though capable of stepping up to this grade. However, the Charlie Appleby camp are in cracking order and a 46% strike-rate here with their 2 year-olds can’t be overlooked. STRINGS OF LIFE is their only runner and after winning a decent-looking Newmarket maiden on debut last month looks a useful prospect. It goes without saying she can be expected to come on for that first run but has also been given enough time to recover (30 days). She’s from a speedy family so gets the call at a track these connections love going well at with their youngsters.


2.55 – Longines Irish Champions Weekend Fillies´ Stakes (Registered As The Michael Seely Memorial Stakes) (Listed) Cl1 1m ITV

12/12 – Priced 15/2 or shorter
12/12 – Drawn in stall 10 or lower
12/12 – Won between 1-2 times in the past
11/12 – Had won over at least 7f before
9/12 – Placed 5th or better last time out
8/12 – Raced within the last 4 weeks
7/12 – Horses from stall 1 placed
6/12 – Raced at either Newmarket (4) or Newbury (2) last time out
4/12 – Winning favourites
4/12 – Won last time out
2/12 – Ridden by Ryan Moore

TQ VERDICT: The 108-rated Threading sets the benchmark here but didn’t fire on her return run at HQ last month so is on a bit of a recovery mission here. This drop into Listed company from a Group Three will help but he’s also up to a mile here and so far both career wins have been over 6f. Yes, based on his Group Two Lowther win here last August he’s the one to beat but at the price and with a few question to answer he’s no value for me. The one that could have the more potential is the Roger Varian-trained SHEIKHA REIKA. The yard won this race 12 months ago and despite rated 88 and 20lbs behind Threading, there should be more to come. She’s only had four career runs but caught the eye when winning easily by 3 lengths at Newmarket last month. The step up to a mile looks fine after staying on well over 7f last time and his in-form connections clearly feel she’s up to this level. Dance Diva, Dark Rose Angel and the proven course and distance winner Awesometank are others to note. However, the Richard Fahey yard are just 4 from 115 with their 3 year-olds here so Dance Diva is overlooked based on that with preference for the proven course winner Awesometank to go well too for the Haggas team.


3.30 – Mansionbet Yorkshire Cup (British Champions Series) (Group 2) Cl1 1m6f ITV

14/14 – Didn’t win last time out
14/14 – Came from stall 7 or lower
13/14 – Favourites that finished in the top 4
13/14 – Had won over at least 1m4f before
13/14 – Returned 9/1 or shorter in the betting
12/14 – Aged 5 or older
11/14 – Placed in the top 4 last time out
10/14 – Aged between 5-7 years-old
10/14 – Had won at least 4 times before
8/14 – Had run at York before
7/14 – Horses from stall 7 placed in the top 3
7/14 – Ran within the last 4 weeks
6/14 – Came from stall 4 or 7
5/14 – Winning favourites
4/14 – Ridden by Ryan Moore
3/14 – Ran at Newbury last time out
Dartmouth won the race 12 months ago

TQ VERDICT: If the official ratings are anything to go by then on these terms the 118-rated STRADIVARIUS is going to be hard to beat here. Last year’s St Leger third has 5lbs in-hand on his nearest rival – Max Dynamite. He did little wrong last season with the Group One Goodwood Cup win the clear highlight. He also went in first time out last term so the 209 break is not a worry and Frankie continues in the saddle. Those against him might notice that Mr Dettori is actually 0-from-3 on the horse but I can’t read too much into that and really now dropped into a Group Two would be hard to topple if running to form – He’s set for another big season in the main cup races and can take this before heading to Ascot and Goodwood again. Max Dynamite, who is trained by Willie Mullins, was last seen running over hurdles at Cheltenham and Punchestown but is a useful stayer on the flat too. He’s raced 15 times on the turf and been in the top three 8 times (3 wins). He was a close third in the Melbourne Cup in 2017 and runner-up in 2016, plus also won the Group Two Lonsdale Cup here at York back in 2015. Mullins also sends over Wicklow Brave, who has a similar profile to his stablemate. He was last seen running second in the Punchestown Champion Hurdle, while his flat turf record is not too shabby either. He’s a regular in most of the main cup races these days but was just over 8 lengths behind the selection in the Goodwood Cup last season. Clever Cookie won the race in 2016 but at 10 years-old and based on recent runs he looks on a slight downward curve now so it would be a shock if he’s winning this race for a second time. The Queen’s Call To Mind, Count Octave and the consistent On To Victory are others to note. Desert Skyline probably just edges it as the main danger for me after a fair third in the Sagaro Stakes at Ascot last time over 2m but he’ll have come on for that and despite having to give 3lbs away to the others commands respect now dropped back to 1m6f.


4.05 – Equinity Technology Handicap Cl2 1m2f88y ITV

16/16 – Aged 7 or younger
15/16 – Had run over 1m2f before
13/16 – Came from stall 5 or higher
13/16 – Didn’t win their last race
12/16 – Won over at least 1m2f before
11/16 – Carried 8-12 or MORE
11/16 – Had a previous run that season
10/16 – Won by a 4 year-old (including 7 of the last 10 years)
9/16 – Finished third or better last time out
5/16 – Had run at York before
4/16 – Won by the favourite
3/16 – Won by trainer Saeed Bin Suroor (2007, 2008, 2009)
3/16 – Ridden by Frankie Dettori
3/16 – Won by trainer John Gosden
2/16 – Won by trainer Sir Michael Stoute
Master Carpenter won the race 12 months ago
10 of the last 12 winners returned 8/1 or shorter in the betting

TQ VERDICT: Despite being run over 1m2f we’ve seen 13 of the last 16 winners of this race come from stalls 5 or higher, which if getting backed up here would ruled out Contrast, Capton, Thundering Blue & Erik The Red. It’s also a race we get to see last year’s winner – MASTER CARPENTER – run in again and after dotting-up by an easy 5 lengths 12 months ago can’t be ruled out. He’s also 2lbs lower this time, while a recent spin at Newbury should have him spot-on for this – that was the same race he ran in prior to winning this last year too. Yes, it was much softer ground 12 months ago and he probably does prefer a bit of cut, but he’s a horse that has also won on good ground so that’s a good sign. He’s the only proven course and distance winner in the field so is certainly one to have on-side. Titus is another to consider after a smooth win at Wetherby last time out. He’s up 7lbs though so more is needed in this much better race. Erik The Red was down the field in this race last year (9th) and is actually rated a pound higher this year, so he’s not for me either. Ryan Moore catches the eye being booked to ride the Henry Candy-trained Capton. He returns from a 200+ day break but has gone well fresh in the past – he does, however, has the potential draw trend against him coming out of stall 2. The final one we are going to play here though is the John Gosden-trained VALCARTIER. The yard has a good record in the race – winning it in 2012 and 2015 – plus it’s also one the Godolphin team have often targeted in the past too. This 4 year-old returned to the track with a fair second at Wolverhampton but that was also his first run on the AW and prior to that had run well on the turf. He won his maiden at Nottingham last April, while his only blot came on much softer ground that ideal when a well-beaten last of three at HQ back in July. With that recent run having blown the cobwebs away and the yard’s decent record in this race then I’m expecting much more this time.