Dante Festival Preview - May 11-13
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Dante Festival Preview - May 11-13

The Dante Festival runs from Wednesday May 11th until Friday May 13th and includes some very important trials for Epsom. Not only will the three-year-olds be in action, but the Yorkshire Cup features three of the leading stayers on the Flat in the UK and Ireland and the Racing Post previews the best of the York action across the three-day Dante Festival.


Day One - Wednesday


1.50pm - Sky Bet Race To The Ebor Jorvik Handicap (1m4f)

Eleven horses have been declared to run in the opener to the Dante Festival and this is the opportunity for GAASSEE to pick up from where he left off last season.

William Haggas' runner completed a hat-trick at Kempton (1m4f) on his final outing of the year. The step up in distance looked to suit the colt, so he has a great chance of extending his winning run.

Godolphin are represented in the race by Global Storm. He performed well at Meydan earlier this year. Harry Davies is going to take a useful 7lb off his back.

Selection: Gaassee

Next Best: Global Storm


2.25pm - Churchill Tyres Handicap (6f)

It's a very competitive sprint handicap over 6f for the second race on day on, with NOMADIC EMPIRE having prevailed over this C&D last September.

He then came very close to success in the Spring Trophy here a month later. Expect to see him build upon his season reappearance at Ripon. Bergerac is another C&D winner. He has been running consistently well in the early stages of the campaign and can't be discounted.

Selection: Nomadic Empire

Next Best: Bergerac


3.00pm - 1895 Duke Of York Clipper Logistics Stakes (Group 2, 6f)

C&D winner MINZAAL ran a career best last time out when he finished third of 20 runners in the Group One British Champions Sprint Stakes on British Champions Day. That performance proved he is good enough at the highest level.

With just six runs behind him, he remains open to improvement. Dragon Symbol was one of the leading three-year-old sprinters last season. He can produce his best here now he is fresh again.

Selection: Minzaal

Next Best: Dragon Symbol


3.35pm - Tattersalls Musidora Stakes (Group 3, 1m2½f)

It was difficult not be impressed with the performance EMILY UPJOHN produced at Sandown last month. She firmly put herself in the Oaks picture with a dominant display and one in which got a glowing review from her jockey Frankie Dettori. The daughter of Sea The Stars can enhance her reputation again ahead of a trip to Epsom.

Life Of Dreams has had one sole start to date. She won nicely at Newmarket, and it would be no surprise to see the Godolphin runner build upon that.

Selection: Emily Upjohn

Next Best: Life Of Dreams


4.10pm - Paddy Power 'Here For The Craic' Handicap (7f)

SAMBURU has done nothing wrong so far in his two appearances on the track. The Kingman colt prevailed at York on his only start as a two-year-old. He then made a winning return at Salisbury (7f) last month.

John and Thady Gosden's runner is making his handicap debut here, and he should be able to keep up his 100 per cent record. Fast And Loose has shown some promise in his three runs to date and Kevin Ryan's gelding is stepping up in trip now, which should help.

Selection: Samburu

Next Best: Fast And Loose

Day Two - Thursday


1.50pm - Paddy Power 'Making Flat Less Flat' Handicap (5f)

With five wins over this C&D, COPPER KNIGHT is very much at home on the Knavesmire and last year's winner of this race should be much sharper here than he was on his seasonal reappearance at Musselburgh (5f) last month.

Raasel brought his tally on turf to seven wins from nine starts last time out at Goodwood. The in-form sprinter can't be ignored, despite a new career high mark.

Selection: Copper Knight

Next Best: Raasel


2.25pm - Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Middleton Fillies' Stakes (Group 2 - 1m2½f)

Group Three winner THUNDER KISS comes into the Middleton Fillies' Stakes looking to complete a hat-trick, as she was successful at Naas and Cork on her last two appearances, both of which were over 1m4f.

This drop down to 1m2f will not be a problem for Ger Lyons' mare. She is right at the top of her game and she looks to be the one they all have to beat in this Group Two contest.

Noon Star represents Sir Michael Stoute. She finished second behind Snowfall in the Musidora over this C&D last year. Another big run here can be expected.

Selection: Thunder Kiss

Next Best: Noon Star


3.00pm - Paddy Power Hambleton Handicap (Listed, 1m2½f)

Experienced operator HORTZADAR was successful for the seventh time in his career when he scored at Ripon (1m) on his most recent outing. David O'Meara's gelding ran on strongly to get up inside the closing stages of that contest. The seven-year-old has gone up 4lb for the win, but he remains well below his peak mark.

Isla Kai finished fourth of 17 runners on his first run of the season in the Spring Cup (1m). He is likely to come on for that outing at Newbury.

Selection: Hortzadar

Next Best: Isla Kai


3.35pm - Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Dante Stakes (Group 2, 1m2½f)

Aidan O'Brien has dominated the Derby trials in the UK and Ireland so far this season and he can have more success in the Dante with BLUEGRASS.

The son of Galileo came home in fourth place in the Ballysax Stakes behind Piz Badile earlier in the campaign and there should be more to come from the Ballydoyle colt who should be much fitter on this occasion.

Desert Crown prevailed on his debut at Nottingham last season. The vibes are strong around Sir Michael Stoute's runner.

Selection: Bluegrass

Next Best: Desert Crown


4.10pm - British Stallion Studs EBF Westow Stakes (Listed - 5f)

With two wins two his name, KING OF BAVARIA has already shown that he is a smart sprinter from Aidan O'Brien's yard. He has entries in two of the big sprint races at Royal Ascot, which says a lot about how highly he is regarded, with the Ballydoyle runner the one to beat in this Listed contest.

Boonie was a winner at Nottingham (5f) on his seasonal reappearance. He also has some excellent form in Listed and Group action in 2021.

Selection: King Of Bavaria

Next Best: Boonie

Day Three - Friday


2.25pm - Oaks Farm Stables Fillies' Stakes (Listed, 1m)

GRANDE DAME showed few signs of inexperience when she scored on her debut at Ascot last month. John and Thady Gosden's filly could be quite smart and this is her chance to prove her class at Listed level.

Girl Of Film was no match for Hello You in the Rockfel Stakes. This is an easier assignment for Ralph Beckett's runner.

Selection: Grande Dame

Next Best: Girl On Film


3.35pm - Paddy Power Yorkshire Cup Stakes (Group 2- 1m6f)

The Yorkshire Cup is one of the highlights of the season in the stayers' division and this year's renewal looks set to be a thriller. Unfortunately, it is not looking like Trueshan is going to get the rain he needs for there to be enough cut in the ground.

This could be the chance for KYPRIOS to firmly establish himself as the star player in this division. He won going away from his rivals in a Listed race at Navan last month. Stradivarius is unbeaten in five starts at York and he can never be discounted, despite being eight years old now.

Selection: Kyprios

Next Best: Stradivarius






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