It’s the York Dante Festival and day one produced some superstars last year, hopefully there will be more of the same this time round and a few of these can go in at a nice price.

Read on for Nick’s thoughts on five races from York and one from Newton Abbot.


JUST FINE can land the TV opener at 8/1 on the first day of York’s Dante Festival (1.50pm). Lightly campaigned the last two seasons, he has been broadly progressive, while looking like this trip should suit better as he matures and settles. Ryan Moore seems to get the best out of him, and he doesn’t appear to want extremes of ground, so this should suit well.

MR WAGYU can run another bold race at 10/1 in a top sprint handicap (2.25pm). He admittedly doesn’t really have anything in hand, but relatively few of these do, and he’s considerably better off with likely favourite Nomadic Empire for their meeting here last autumn, when he’d had a particularly busy spell. He ran a terrific race on his comeback against stronger opposition and rates a decent each way bet at least.

GARRUS might be due his big day at 17/2 in the Duke of York (3.00pm). He’s a smart horse, if a little frustrating, and I am hoping the addition of blinkers can help him sit closer to the pace before engaging his customary powerful finish. Without wishing to labour a point, this jockey is 1,1,2 from three starts, and should have him neatly berthed behind the likely speed in the next door gate.

THE ALGARVE has to be the value at 13/2 in the Tattersalls Musidora (3.35pm), for the stable that won this race last year with Snowfall (also unexpected at the time). Put simply, her breeding (13th foal of an Oaks winner) suggests it is a very strong likelihood that she is at least up to Group Two standard, while her gradual progression at two was encouraging. Clearly Emily Upjohn is a potential star, but I can watch her win at very cramped odds in a field full of potential.

SNOOZE N YOU LOSE is a bit of a wild one at 20/1 in the seven furlong handicap (4.10pm). She looked smart – if green – when thumping an okay field at Nottingham and was then asked to tackle stakes opposition. Not disgraced in the Firth of Clyde, she then got stuck in the mud at Newbury. A filly with a nice bit of size, she should do quite a bit better this year, and can reward backers at big odds.

Newton Abbot

TULIN is the pick at 5/2 in the televised hurdle at Newton Abbot (2.05pm). He might have been attempting the impossible trying to match strides with the useful and pacy The Widdow Maker when he was last seen and, back after a breathing operation, might be able to outpace these.