Channel 4 Racing anchor Nick Luck picks out his best bets on day one of York's Dante meeting.
In the opening handicap (2.10), I like the look of Pacify who should benefit from a recent run and, for all that he has top weight, I don’t think he is fully exposed off a mark of 99. The performance at Epsom behind Dark Red has subsequently proved to be a very creditable one and I don’t see any reason why he shouldn’t go slightly faster surface, after all he won on quick ground on the July Course last year, and I know his connections rate him very highly. Sharp Squeeze is the obvious danger but that horse lacks the benefit of a recent run and Hugo Palmer’s gelding hasn’t run on turf since the autumn of 2014.
The sprint handicap (2.40) is a terrific race and there are a whole host of horses with a realistic chance. Two horses catch my eye and it would be sensible to back them both in these circumstances. One is God Willing who is an infrequent winner but ran an excellent race behind See The Sun at Doncaster last time and reopposes on better terms today. In addition, Silvestre de Sousa is booked to ride and there is an awful lot of pace around him, so he should get a good tow into the race.
The other horse that could run well at big odds is Gamesome for Paul Midgley, who admittedly didn’t show that much at Newmarket on debut for this yard but he was eased quite heavily once beaten and the handicapper has dropped him 2lb. I know his former trainer Olly Stevens thought the world of him and he could just be the type Paul Midgley does well with this season. I don’t think the rain will have done his chance any harm and he wouldn’t have to improve too much on the pick of last season’s efforts.
The Duke Of York (3.15) features a host of horses I can be positive about but in the end I have to go with the obvious and stick with Magical Memory. In truth I was a bit disappointed that he didn’t win the Abernant at Newmarket a bit more impressively but his trainer assured me that the 4yo wasn’t fully tuned up that day and should improve considerably for the run, and he ought to make the most of the weight he receives from Twilight Son. I suspect that Mattmu, who ran an excellent race in this last year, has undoubtedly been targeted at this again and he can give the selection most to think about.
I’m sure So Mi Dar doesn’t need to improve too much on her Derby trial win to take the Musidora Stakes (3.45) this afternoon and it’s obvious to everyone that she is a bonafide contender for Epsom next month. However, she’s a short price today and there are a couple of interesting alternatives at much more tempting odds, one of whom is Best In The World, who is surely going to improve for tackling a better surface as a full sister to Found. The other is Harlequeen who looks overpriced given the horse she chased home at Newmarket last time should arguably have won a colts’ classic trial last week. In truth, it’s a race I’m unlikely to have a bet in but if pressed, I would throw a couple of quid at Harlequeen, whose trainer has been going well this season, including with his fillies.