York Dante Festival Preview

The Dante festival kicks off at York on Wednesday and it's another three days of top quality flat racing with more key pointers for the Derby being one of the main talking points of the week.

I'll start things of with the Group 3 Musidora Stakes which is headed by John Gosden hotpot Shutter Speed at best priced 4/9. This filly is going to be extremely hard to beat here, she won well on her return to action this season at Newbury and that form has been boosted with third place that day Enable coming out and winning well at Chester last time out. I certainly think she'll be taking this contest as preparation on her way to the Oaks. Vociferous Marina the Irish raider looks to be the main threat to the favourite here coming here on the back of a win in a Listed contest in Navan last time out.

The Dante itself this year is headed by another for Gosden and Dettori in Cracksman carrying those famous Oppenheimer colours which we saw Golden Horn taste Derby success in back in 2015. This one will be looking to emulate that one by taking this on his way to the Derby and he's around 2/1 to do so. One that has been in the media this week on the back of a huge gamble for the Derby is Crystal Ocean for Sir Michael Stoute. He's halved in price for the big one at Epsom and is a general 10/3 to take this so is certainly a very interesting contender. Another one I like here is as maybe an each way alternative to the market principals is Benbatl for Saeed Bin Suroor. He won well on debut at Doncaster last month before running well when third at Newmarket, there certainly could be more improving to come form this one.

The Yorkshire Cup this year is for me the race of the week, it's got a host of big names lined up in there, albeit some may not turn up yet. Dartmouth currently heads affairs at around 7/2 for Sir Michael Stoute and Ryan Moore, he was in the frame in all of his runs last season and took Group 3 and Group 2 contests in the process so certainly deserves his place at the top of the market here. Muntahaa is also up there following his Group 3 victory last time out at Newbury for John Gosden at around 4/1 and just behind him at around 6/1 in the market is 2015 St Leger winner Simple Verse who won the Group 2 Park Hall last season before finishing third in a Group 2 on Champions Day at Ascot. Big names such as Big Orange, Clever Cookie and Quest For More are also down to go so far in this making it look a thrilling contest on paper one to which I personally can't wait for.

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