Horse racing betting tips for the 2.45 Betfred Dante Stakes at York on Thursday.
As the Classic trials continue, the highlight of the racing at York on Thursday is the Betfred Dante Stakes. This Group 2 extended 1m2f contest is a recognised trial for the Epsom Derby and as such has attracted a good quality field of six runners with a number of the runners likely to contest next month’s Classic.
The current market favourite is the Godolphin representative – True Story (8/11 William Hill). This son of Manduro claimed an impressive victory in the Fielden Stakes at Newmarket, beating the highly touted Obliterator by 7 lengths. That race was run over 1m 1f and today’s step-up in trip looks ideal as the horse was doing his best work at the line going away from his rivals. Currently second in the betting for the Epsom Derby, behind Australia, if he is to solidify his position near the head of the market he will need to win here and win well. Concerns do surround this horse however; connections have warned that he is by no means guaranteed to line-up thanks to the prevailing ground conditions and he regularly has issues entering the stalls. That said, his form looks rock solid and has to be respected given connections and the hype surrounding him.
Potentially the biggest danger to the favourite is the Richard Hannon trained BUNKER (10/3 Betfred). This horse had a good 2 year-old season, winning his maiden comfortably before going on to finish second to Berkshire in the Chesham at Royal Ascot. By far and away his most impressive run came on his final start when he claimed a Listed event at Deauville; beating Karakontie, a horse who has since gone on to claim victory in the Group 1 French 2,000 Guineas. Bunker is by Hurricane Run out of a Green Desert mare and as such looks sure to progress when stepped up in trip to 10f. He too is yet to meet soft ground conditions but his sire has won on testing ground and has also produced the likes of First Cornerstone and Earth Amber who both handle a softer surface. He looks to go well fresh and is an exciting prospect.
One of the more exposed contenders is The Grey Gatsby (12/1 Coral), a good quality individual who has contested a number of Group races; including the Champagne Stakes, the Racing Post Trophy, and most recently the 2,000 Guineas. A consistent horse, if yet a tad unspectacular, he will attempt 10f for the first time and his trainer will be hoping that the step-up will bring out the necessary improvement if he is to win here. By Mastercraftsman, his pedigree would lead you to believe that he would be seen to best effect over 1m. With that in mind, and when you consider his rivals are far more exposed, he is best watched.
Peter Chapple-Hyam won this event in 2007 with Authorised and enters Arod (10/1 Coral), an impressive winner of a Class 5 maiden at Windsor. Heavily backed on the day this son of Teofilo comfortably accounted for his rivals winning by five lengths. As the only horse to have winning form over 10f he has to be respected and could well improve again after his first run of the season. This horse really could be anything, and although that might be enough to tempt some, on what he has achieved to date on the track, others are preferred in this line-up.
The field is completed by the pair of Odeon (20/1 bet365) and Saab Almanal (33/1 Ladbrokes). The former shed his maiden tag impressively on his first start of this season but doesn’t look to have beaten much and that victory came on good to firm ground. The latter is yet to win from two attempts and looks to have his work cut out here.
Of the six, I think this race boils down to the top two in the market, with the bigger priced BUNKER preferred. It could well be that True Story is a brilliant horse and will go and claim this prize before giving a bold showing in the Epsom Derby however, there are questions marks that surround him and at very short odds im happy to take him on today. Bunker arrives here with the best form in the book and a pedigree that screams a mile and a quarter. He too has yet to face testing ground but looks an exciting prospect in his own right and shouldn't be underestimated against his rivals here.
BUNKER (WIN)(NAP) (10/3 Betfred)
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