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Duke of York Stakes preview

The York May meeting, better known as the Dante Meeting, kicks off today, and it looks like being a great three days of racing. Returning to the blog after a lengthy recess to preview a few races is prolific blogger and astute judge, William Kedjanyi.


Hello there! It’s been a long time – about two years – since I last had the pleasure of writing on these pages and Scott – still doing the good deed of giving bloggers a platform for their work – has kindly given me the gig to be your York guide for the week’s two big races.

Examples of this, and all my other work, can be found on The (New) Vic Page (, and any other bets I’m having that can’t be put into words can be put on @KeejayOV.

Duke of York Stakes
6f Group 2 Class 1
1515 BST

Caspar Netscher: Well placed to land the Neartic Stakes in Candada, but found the opposition to good at the Breeders’ Cup before returning with a good third at Meydan. Found the Al Quoz too fast there for him and should enjoy this test more, but doesn’t look good enough and giving weight away to boot.

Astaire: Went well off the boil after finishing second in this race last year, going too hard in the Diamond Jubillee and setting the race up for others. Returned in fine form this season however, winning the Abernanant Stakes after being readily beaten by Nadirr at Doncaster where a fierce headwind hampered front runners that day. Big player.

Gammarth: Lovely return over a trip too short at Maisons-Laffite – the scene of three of his five wins - on his seasonal debut and landed the Prix De Seine-Et-Oise at the backend of last season. Respected traveller, but all but one win come on properly softer ground (good ground win on turf was a handicap) and well beaten in the Maurice De Gheest last year too.

Glass Office: Couple of very taking efforts last summer, one when fifth in Workingham, other when fourth in King George Stakes, to suggest he can progress through sprinting ranks this season, but never able to land a blow in the Palace House when last seen. 6 furlongs will suit him much better today but needs to improve markedly.

Jack Dexter: Returned with two fair efforts this season but behind Astaire and Nadirr at Doncaster and then further behind Astaire at Nemarket, but thrives when the ground is at it’s deepest, like when third in the British Champions Sprint Stakes last year. Wants more rain.

Justice Day: Ran a solid race behind Goldream when taking second in the Palace House after disappointing behind Nadirr on his return. Capable of putting in big efforts in group company but would need to improve on his personal bests to be winning here.

Lightning Moon: One from the horses to follow list who made huge strides in only three starts, winning them all including with gritty defeat of Dazeno in Bengough Stakes. Since been bought by Godolphin through the summer, and reappears with the ground having come in his favour (wants ease in the surface) and on only his fourth start, should be up to going close.

Line of Reason: Another who should be happier at this trip than the minimum but doesn’t look good enough on the face of things.

Musical Comedy: Got the better of Nadirr in a listed event at Newbury although didn’t raise much of a gallop on next two starts, but solid reappearance run in Ireland raises hopes he can run above his odds here.

Muthmir: One of, if not the most improved sprinters of last year, turning C&D handicap into an absolute procession before running fine race in Stewards’ Cup when circumstances were against him and showing his true form with another romp in the Portland. Should make a bold bid on return.

Nadirr: Second here in big handicap before couple of fourth-placed finishes, but improved to take Listed contest here at the end of the season and returned in fine style with searing turn of foot to cut down Astaire at Doncaster in the Cammidge Trophy. He was helped by the headwind being especially difficult that day (as he did get plenty of cover) but was a decisive winner and can make a bold bid to follow up here.

Aetna: Winner at this meeting last year, and then won the Wentworth Stakes on the last day of the flat season in scintillating style at Doncaster. Was all set to go close on seasonal reappearance at Cork, but cut across when making her challenge – the worry for her today is that she’s in far deeper and like some others, would want a softer surface.

Gathering Power: From the notable Power family of sprinters that includes Sole and Slade Power, both Group 1 winners, and while this one has shown promise he’s yet to reach those heights and was a well-held seventh in the British Champions Sprint and a well-beaten fourth in the Cork contest Aetna got no run in.

Lucky Kristale: Return to sprinting looks to be the right move after nothing went her way over a mile last year, and could have gotten closer to Astaire with a cleaner run in the Abernant. Looks an interesting contender with improvement hopefully to come from that run.

Mattmu: Top sprinting juvenile last year, third in sales event before being unable to cope with Limato’s raw ablity at Redcar in the two year old trophy. Then landed two big prizes of his own, taking the Rockingham Stakes over C&D before the Criterium De Maisons-Laffite. If training on, then quotes as big as 16/1 look to be an insult.

VERDICT: As competitive a renewal as ever for the Duke of York, with three of the main four contenders rapidly progressive and the other setting a high standard. NADIRR was helped in no uncertain terms by his postioning at Doncaster but he took the Cammidge in the style of an improved horse and can confirm that form with last year’s second Astaire. The fancy prices are all gone but 7/1 is being dangled by Sportingbet and that’s a price to take. Muthmir, who turned the Portland into a procession, and horse to follow Lightning Moon, should go well. Those looking for an outsider could do worse than Mattmu, albeit taking a chance on whether he’s trained on.

Advice: 2 pts win Nadirr (7/1 Sportingbet, 11/2 Boylesports, 5/1 general)


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