Eye-catching entries for York’s Dante Festival
A look at the eye-catching entries for next month’s Dante Festival at York
The first Pattern race of the York season, the Group 2 Duke of York Clipper Logistics Stakes could again be an early indicator of the Champion Sprinter for the year ahead.
Twenty-seven speedsters have been entered for the £100,000 contest on the opening day of the Dante Festival, Wednesday 12 May. The winner of the July Cup, Oxted, may represent Lambourn for Roger Teal, facing near neighbour, Starman, who won the Listed Garrowby Stakes for Ed Walker over course and distance, last September.
Amongst the local challengers could be Moss Gill who gave the North Yorkshire stable of Edward Bethell a podium finish in the Coolmore Nunthorpe of 2020. Another representing the white rose county could be Queen Jo Jo, a filly whose name hints at family connections of owner Steve Parkin.
The colours of his Clipper Logistics business are regularly seen in the Knavesmire Winner’s Enclosure, with this filly landing the Group 3 William Hill Summer Stakes 2020.
The winner of the recent Group 3 Abernant Stakes, Summerghand, represents trainer David O’Meara, indeed the first three home at Newmarket in mid-April may yet reoppose.
More familiar faces in the starting stalls of big sprints will come up from Newmarket, with the likes of Dream of Dreams, the Haydock Sprint Cup holder from the yard of Sir Michael Stoute being amongst the possible runners.
Restored to its pre covid prize money level of £165,000, the Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Dante is the highlight day two of the festival. A colt will be hoping to become the eleventh horse to do the York-Epsom double, following a win in Yorkshire with success in the Cazoo Derby on the Epsom Downs.
Amongst the 51 remaining entrants for the Group 2 prize are many of the leading fancies for the Classic, High Definition heads the Epsom markets so tops the list of sixteen contenders from the powerful Ballydoyle stable of Aidan O’Brien.
A total of four of the top five fancies for the colt’s classic remain entered, Bolshoi Ballet, Van Gogh and Wordsworth are also part of the potential raiding party from County Tipperary.
The last horse to achieve that famous double was Golden Horn in the colours of the Oppenheimer family, trained by John Gosden, the same connections have entered Megallan for the York leg.
The Middleham stable of Mark Johnston (pictured) was responsible for the winner of the delayed 2020 race, Kingsley House have nominated Gear Up, the winner of the Group 3 Tattersalls Acomb on the Knavesmire last August to fly the flag.
Fellow Yorkshire handler, Richard Fahey (pictured) will be hoping that Pythagoras can add to his haul of big race winners on the Knavesmire, it would mark a significant success for the colours of long-time supporter of Yorkshire racing, Sir Robert Ogden.
Thursday 13 May also sees the feature race of the week for the older fillies and mares in the shape of the Group 2 Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Middleton Stakes.
With 18 names still in the frame, many eyes will have been caught by the James Fanshawe trained heroine of Breeders Cup night, Audarya.
A run against a fellow Group One star such as Wonderful Tonight who scored on British Champions Day carrying the colours of music impresario, Chris Wright, would be mouth-watering.
The winner of the Tattersalls Musidora of the previous season is often seen in this contest as it runs over the same ten furlong trip, Rose of Kildare may continue that trend for Mark Johnston’s operation.
The fourth Group 2 prize of the week is the highlight of Friday 14 May, the Matchbook Yorkshire Cup. Many of the best stayers, most recently Stradivarius, include this famous trophy on their list of honours and this champion holds an entry again this season, perhaps as a contingency against the declared plan to run in the Sagaro Stakes.
A memorable British Champions Day last October was capped for Hollie Doyle (pictured) when winning the Group 1 Stayers contest aboard Trueshan, the pairing might pick up where they left off.
Another with proven success at the highest level is the 2019 victor of the St Leger, Logician. Also a winner at York, for the romantic it would be a delight to see the Juddmonte colours of the late Prince Khalid Abdullah in the Winner’s Enclosure.
A fascinating entry amongst the 24 who could yet go to post comes in the form of Twilight Payment, already successful in Group company in his native Ireland, the horse then travelled 8,000 miles to take the Lexus Melbourne Cup for Joseph O’Brien last November.