York Tips: Timeform’s best bets for every Thursday race at the Dante Festival

The clever folk at Timeform give you the lowdown ahead of Day 2 at the York Dante Festival.

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* All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change.

13:40 Count D’Orsay

A typically-competitive sprint handicap for the track, and it is the Tim Easterby-trained COUNT D’ORSAY that tops the list. He finished well beaten by Jabborackie on his return at Musselburgh last month, but finished an awful lot closer to that rival when runner-up at Chester last week. That was despite a slow start and taking a strong hold, staying on well in the closing stages to finish second from an unpromising position. He races from the same mark now and another bold bid is expected at this more conventional track.

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14:10 Queen Power

Only six runners but you can make a case for them all, and slight preference is for QUEEN POWER. She hasn’t won since 2019, but she has consistently run to a smart level, and was denied only by a head in the Dahlia Stakes at Newmarket 11 days ago. That was an encouraging return to action, finishing the race well given she was plenty fresh enough early, and leaving the impression she will appreciate the return to this longer trip. This looks the ideal race for her and she ought to go close with that run under her belt.

14:40 Matthew Flinders

Plenty in with a shout here, but one who probably hasn’t shown all he has to offer yet is MATTHEW FLINDERS. He was very progressive last year and was well backed for his return at Newbury last month where he ran a cracking race to finish third in a hot handicap. That was his first run since undergoing a gelding operation and he lost little in defeat, beaten only by another couple of unexposed sorts who had the benefit of a run. Matthew Flinders began his challenge from further back than that pair, too, so he can be marked up, and he is just the type to bag himself a top-end handicap this season.

15:10 High Definition

Plenty revolves around the well-being of HIGH DEFINITION, who was ruled out of his intended target last week, the Lingfield Derby Trial, following unsatisfactory blood results. Nothing has come to light since and he looks the one to beat on form as he looked a colt right out of the top drawer last season. He was the ante-post favourite for the diary all winter and remains with significant potential, particularly now stepping up in trip. This does look a deep renewal, with Group 1 winner Gear Up and the unbeaten Hurricane Lane heading the opposition.

15:40 Acklam Express

This looks a good renewal and the speedy ACKLAM EXPRESS is taken to open his account for the season. He rattled off a hat-trick over five furlongs last season, trouncing Winter Power in a nursery at Goodwood and showing a cracking attitude to win a listed event over course and distance. He wasn’t disgraced against his elders in the Scarborough Stakes at Doncaster after and ran no sort of race in the Cornwallis won by Winter Power at Newmarket on his final start. Acklam Express has since proved himself an improved performer at Meydan earlier this year, beaten less than a length in the Al Quoz sprint last time. That form sets a tall standard back at listed level and he should take all the beating.

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16:15 Albahr

The first six-furlong race of the season for two-year-olds and plenty of the big stables are represented, and it is ALBAHR who gets the nod for Charlie Appleby before any market clues. He makes obvious appeal on paper and represents a yard that get plenty of first-time-out winners. Yaahobby and Gangway are a couple of other newcomers to note, while Secret Strength has to be the pick of those with experience.

16:50 Polish

POLISH has built up a solid record over hurdles for Fergal O’Brien, proving better than ever when winning a handicap hurdle from a BHA mark of 130 at Newbury when last seen in February. He relished the emphasis on stamina on just his second start at the trip and he will have no problem with two miles back on the Flat. A mark of 76 on the level looks attractive given his subsequent improvement over hurdles and he has a capable claimer taking a further 3 lb off. It is worth taking a chance that he can make a winning return to this discipline.

Tips for York on Thursday

13:40 Count D’Orsay
14:10 Queen Power
14:40 Matthew Flinders
15:10 High Definition
15:40 Acklam Express
16:15 Albahr
16:50 Polish

* All prices are bang up to date with our snazzy widgets, while odds in copy are accurate at time of publishing but subject to change.

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