Lucky 15 Thursday May 18th  

Wednesday 6.10pm Soft ground on the Knavesmire. Not sure how this form will hold up during the summer unless Soft ground reappears! Difficult to punt with confidence.

I thought Shutter Speed was impressive but connections confirmed she’s out of the Oaks and will go to Chantilly for the 10F Prix de Diane instead. Dettori said: “We got away with it. The ground is very soft and she didn’t like it and it dented her turn of foot, but she was much the best horse in the race. It was hard work for her. We got away with that and I think you will see a better horse on better ground on a better day. She is top draw. She has got a lot about her and everything she does is very classy. I would say that a mile and a quarter is just about right for her.”

Gosden confirmed the Prix de Diane at Chantilly on June 18 is the target for Shutter Speed. He said: “Before racing the ground was in pristine condition. The ground staff have done the most wonderful job. It was beautiful grass with great depth to it, but sadly we had a mass amount of rain. It was only because it was in great condition before that we decided to run. She hated it. It was too soft and she was not happy at all, but she had the class to win. She will go to the Prix de Diane which is just over a month’s time. It gives her a month to get over the race.”

York Stewards reports reveal excuses for some of the days better backed disappointments.

2.20 The Veterinary Officer reported that a post-race examination of LOVELL, which started favourite and finished unplaced, trained by Charlie Appleby, during routine testing, found the gelding to be lame on its left fore.

3.30 The representative of Charlie Appleby, the trainer of JUNGLE CAT (IRE), unplaced, reported that the gelding was unsuited by the Soft going, and would prefer a quicker surface.

Daniel Tudhope, the rider of SUEDOIS, unplaced, reported that the gelding hung right from approximately half way.

The Veterinary Officer reported that a post-race examination of BRANDO, which started favourite and finished unplaced, trained by Kevin Ryan, during routine testing, revealed the gelding had bled from the nose.

5.35 Jamie Spencer, the rider of RED RANNAGH (IRE), unplaced, reported that the colt ran too free in the first furlong and hung right throughout.

So onwards and upwards for Dante day.

Going at YORK – Soft (GoingStick: 6.6 overall. Going stick readings in home straight: farside 6.4; centre 6.4; standside 6.5. Wind – Westerly 2mph on Wednesday at 08:00)

Thursday – brighter day and mainly sunny and dry. Friday – mixture of sunshine with the chance of passing showers.

Newbury and Newmarket are both currently Good for Friday and Saturday. Newbury will probably stay that way but Newmarket could get softer.

Thursdays Lucky 15

Like yesterday at these rather exciting prices you may want to play half stake each way? Get shopping!

York 2.20                    MOVE IN TIME                       20/1 WH 16/1 general

York 3.30                    FOREST RANGER                        20/1PP 16/1 general

York 4.05                    BRAVERY                                           16/1 PP+Coral 14/1 general

York 5.35                    GRACELAND                               3/1 general

and here’s why

York 2.20                    MOVE IN TIME Possibly Father Time has caught up with him at the age of nine? If he hasn’t then this previous G1 winner is really well handicapped on OR100. I think the ground is key and he is one that will really appreciate this rain softened ground. Trainer David O’Meara was bullish in his recent stable tour, stall 5 is a bonus and stable jockey Daniel Tudhope rides. With these 5F handicap sprints you rarely get consistency so most have a chance of some sort. Keeping a very close eye on Snap Shots on only his second run for Tony Coyle as the horse had some solid form with Tom Dascombe and is only a pound above his last winning mark.

York 3.30                    FOREST RANGER Sometimes you just have to go with a hunch. This horse is huge and he is firmly in the ‘Could be anything’ basket. When he won at Newcastle in an 8F C2 Conditions event despite being the 25/1 he could be called the winner two and a half furlongs out and galloped all over a decent field. It’s the Group 2 Dante but the form is mainly maiden and C2 with just Permian winning a Listed event and I think Forest Ranger is value at a double figure price.

York 4.05                    BRAVERY A really difficult handicap because it is top heavy with quality, ten horses OR100 or higher. Struggling to get my head round Thikrayaat in an 8F soft ground HANDICAP!

I’m sticking to the top of the handicap in going for this seasons Lincoln winner, Bravery. Ground is fine, he stays further, he’s in form, O’Meara and Tudhope had a winner at meeting already and I’m happy with stall 11 (more of an issue on the straight course). Another Touch was second in the Newbury Spring Cup which is throwing up loads of winners but I’m not sure he’s good enough amongst this lot even off OR97. Fahey’s Home Cummins runs this track well but this is a big ask. I’ll have a close eye on seasonal debutantes Victory Bond, Murad Khan and Can’t Change It who could all pick up a race of this nature as the season progresses.

York 5.35                    GRACELAND Would love to put something up at a price but Graceland stands out like a sore thumb. In form, no penalty, soft ground form and if she stays she wins. As I thought the two main dangers were the two top weights, Parliamentarian and Paris Protocol, who are both non-runners Graceland it has to be. Lots of uninspiring horses lower down the handicap.

Wednesdays Lucky 15

A second and the Nap of the day a non-runner!

York 2.20                    SAUNTER                    10th 11/1            (12/1 PP 11/1 general)

Horse needs stoking up to get to race pace. Never competitive but not giving on him yet.

York 2.50                    MUNTADAB                    2nd 6/1                 (9/1 Coral? 13/2 Ladbrokes+WH? All over the place!)

Sadly my nagging doubt was correct!! Yesterdays blog “..I have a nagging doubt that he could set it all up for a finisher…” Update your notebooks! Horse clearly has ‘issues’. BHA Stewards “Race 2 – 2:55pm THE INFINITY TYRES HANDICAP STAKES (CLASS 2)  Kevin Ryan, the trainer of RIDE LIKE THE WIND (IRE), unplaced, reported that the gelding had a breathing problem. The Veterinary Officer reported that a post-race examination of RIDE LIKE THE WIND (IRE) failed to reveal any abnormalities.” Update your notebooks! Horse clearly has ‘issues’.

York 4.35                    MAZYOUN                        6th 7/1                 (16/1 WH 14/1 general)

Odd ride Frankie. Took pull at start, held up last, progress in straight but never competitive.

York 5.35                    ST MALO                     Non-Runner    (11/2 PP+WH)

Pity, would have been Nap of the day. Put him in your tracker.

The Epsom Derby 2017

Dante preview sportinglife.com

Sir Michael Stoute reveals Crystal Ocean concerns May 17 2017, 15:50

Sir Michael Stoute admits he doubts his Betfred Dante Stakes runner Crystal Ocean will be ready to mix it with the leading players in the Investec Derby. The Sea The Stars colt, winner of a Nottingham maiden last month, halved in price for the Classic earlier this week, seeing his odds for the notable Derby trial tumble as a result. However, Stoute is sceptical about how many people actually backed his horse and in his own style, he is thinking long-term. “I don’t know how many tenners constitute a gamble!” said Stoute. “We have been bringing him along steadily and I doubt he is a Derby horse.”

John Gosden is slightly concerned about the proximity between the Dante and the Derby as he lets Cracksman loose.

The unbeaten colt races in the same Anthony Oppenheimer colours as Golden Horn, who pulled off the Dante-Derby double in 2015. However, there was a three-week gap between the races two years ago and this season it is just over two.

“Cracksman has only had two runs in his life,” said Gosden. “The Dante is closer to the Derby than usual due to a late Easter. We’ve lost a week, which is not helpful. On the other hand, he needs the experience to race if we are even to consider Epsom. It’s the smartest trial, but I still see it as a trial. He came out of his last race and he learnt a lot. He has been in good order since.”

Joseph O’Brien never won the Dante as a jockey but he has a sound chance as a trainer with Ballysax scorer Rekindling, who was with David Wachman last season. “We were delighted with his reappearance on his first run for us. He’s a quite laid-back horse so it’s very hard to know how good he is,” said O’Brien. “He won one of the Derby trials in Ireland. At the minute, he has all the credentials to be an Epsom Derby candidate. I suppose he has to go to York and show us that he is.”

Richard Fahey’s Forest Ranger won the £100,000 Burradon Conditions Stakes at Newcastle, denting some lofty reputations.  “It has been the plan all year for Forest Ranger to go to the Dante,” said Fahey. “We’ve got a small outside chance. I’m a fraction worried about the trip because he’s a horse with plenty of pace,”

Second at Newcastle was Kevin Ryan’s Acomb winner Syphax, who also lines up at York. Ryan told At The Races: “We intended to start in the Dante, but when the Newcastle race came up we decided to go and I’m glad we did because he ran like it was the first run of his life. He came out of that brilliantly and his work has improved since. It’s a really good Dante, but we’re really looking forward to it.”

Syphax is one of four runners in the Godolphin blue, with Benbatl, Swiss Storm and Wolf Country also set to take their chances. The Mark Johnston-trained Permian represents Sheikh Mohammed’s son. Godolphin racing manager John Ferguson said: “They are with five different trainers and, at the end of the day, it gives us the opportunity to work out whether or not we are going to go to Epsom. All the trainers are happy with their horses or else they wouldn’t be going to the Dante, which is the premier Epsom trial. You’ve also got the Hampton Court over a mile and a quarter, the King Edward over a mile and a half and the Queen’s Vase over a mile and six (all at Royal Ascot), so you can use the Dante to sort out where you go with these horses.” Godolphin bought Swiss Storm after the Frankel colt won a Newbury maiden in fine style for David Elsworth, but he was forced to miss the Guineas. Ferguson said: “David is very happy with him and feels it’s the right thing to do to run the horse. He’s an interesting horse. He’s plenty of speed on the dam’s side, but these Frankels seem to be staying well.”

Martyn Meade confident Eminent will run ‘big race’ in Derby PA SPORT 5:13pm, Tue 16 May 2017

Craven Stakes winner Eminent will head to Epsom for the Breakfast With The Stars morning next week in preparation for the Investec Derby. The Frankel colt finished sixth in the Qipco 2000 Guineas, when trainer Martyn Meade felt he was unsuited by the slow pace. Meade decided to skip the Dante this week given its proximity to the Derby and is happy with what he has seen at home since the Newmarket Classic. “We’ve kept him ticking over and I think he’ll go well in the big one,” said Meade. “He’s been doing everything right, but obviously it was hugely disappointing what happened in the Guineas. It just wasn’t run to suit him, there was no pace and as soon as I saw there wasn’t he was doomed because it turned into a sprint. It didn’t reflect his true ability, but I’m pretty confident he’ll run a big race.”

He went on: “Nothing has come out in any of the trials to scare us and the Dante just came a bit too close to Epsom for me. He should cope with the track and we’ll take him to Breakfast With The Stars to make sure. We’re still learning about the Frankels, ours isn’t a miler, I always said it was a minimum for him. He’s got a huge stride and just bowls along.”

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