Mark Howard Publications Ltd

Day one of the Dante meeting

12-May-2021 16:37
in General
by Admin

Starman provided Ed Walker with his first domestic Group 2 winner when capturing the Duke of York Stakes on the opening day of the Dante Festival at York. The son of Dutch Art won three of his four starts last term, including the Listed Garrowby Stakes over course and distance in September, and he looks to have improved again as a four year old. Partnered for the first time in public by champion jockey Oisin Murphy, he sat close to a sedate early before quickening up inside the final quarter of a mile. The slow ground on the Knavesmire wouldn't have been ideal and he is expected to improve for the outing, which bodes well for his next assignment the Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot (19th June). 

That comment also applies to the runner-up Nahaarr, who wouldn't have enjoyed the underfoot conditions or the steady gallop. Last season's Ayr Gold Cup winner had finished fourth of four on his seasonal reappearance over seven furlongs at Chelmsford in early March. Beaten a neck, William Haggas is adamant the son of Dark Angel wants a strongly run race where he can get buried before showing his trademark turn of foot. The rematch at the royal meeting next month will make interesting viewing.

Aidan O'Brien hadn't won the Group 3 Musidora Stakes previously but Snowfall rectified matters with a comfortable success under Ryan Moore. The former champion jockey was allowed to dictate matters before quickening the tempo inside the final quarter of a mile. Seemingly exposed beforehand, the daughter of Deep Impact had been well held in both the Moyglare Stud Stakes and Fillies' Mile with only a maiden win to her name beforehand as a juvenile. A three and three quarters of a length winner here, she is set to take her chance in the Epsom Oaks but it is unlikely Moore will choose her ahead of ante-post favourite and stablemate Santa Barbara.

The well touted Teona could only finish third having got worked up in the stalls and raced too keenly for much of the ten furlongs contest. Roger Varian's filly still held every chance in the homestraight but her earlier antics took their toll as she weakened inside the final 200 yards. She needs to learn to settle and quickly if she is to turn the tables at Epsom. I suspect she will improve when racing on drier ground - her dam Ambivalent handled good to soft but was a better filly on a livelier surface and it is possible this daughter of Sea The Stars will be similar. 

The Cumberland Plate at Carlisle (23rd June) is always a competitive 0-85 handicap and Bollin Joan looks an ideal type for the twelve furlongs event. Tim Easterby's mare won three times last term before finishing fourth in the November Handicap at Doncaster. The six year old caught the eye in the concluding handicap, also over a mile and half, travelling well for Ella McCain until tiring inside the final furlong finishing fifth. Sent off 33/1, she is rated 82 and is one to keep an eye on with that race in mind next month.



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