The last race on the opening day of York's Dante Festival was a seventeen runner twelve furlongs handicap. It was dominated by two well handicapped four year olds trained in Newmarket. William Haggas gave the lightly raced Reverand Jacobs a positive mention in Ahead On The Flat suggesting the son of Nathaniel was well treated and so it proved. Gelded since last season, he was sent straight to the front by James Doyle and those tactics proved crucial. It meant he got first run on Roger Varian's Zeelander with only a neck separating the pair at the line. The pair raced off marks of 78 and 74 respectively and, even though they are both in for a signficant rise, they should continue to be competitive off their revised ratings. There was two and a half lengths back to the third Sky Eagle, who is fairly treated himself. I will be surprised if the first two aren't rated in the 90s by the second half of the season. The Duke of Edinburgh Stakes at Royal Ascot was mentioned as a possible target for Reverand Jacobs but I feel he will be hard pressed to get in this year - the bottom weight in 2017 was rated 97. However, there are plenty of valuable twelve furlongs handicaps for older horses during the course of the summer.
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