LiveYork Races Dante Festival - live blog

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York Press: Photograph of the Author by , Sports reporter

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That's all for today. Thanks for being with us and we will do it all again tomorrow. The feature race is the Betfred Dante, where we will find out some valuable Derby clues ahead of next month's Classic.

Join us then.


It's the first York winner for Koo's Racing Club for three years and Kristian Strangeway, who runs the club, was thrilled with Streets of Newyork.

Listen in here:


Streets of Newyork (12/1) has given Norton's Brian Ellison the closing Coopers Marquees Stakes at York.

It's the first York winner for the city-based Koo's Racing Club, run by Kristian Strangeway.




Enjoyed it? The opening day of the season concludes with the Coopers Marquees Stakes at 5pm.

Recession Proof, once a smart jumper for Norton trainer John Quinn, is among the field. It's hard to believe his last win was more than three years ago and there's a fear he may have lost his love for the game.

If he can be inspired, though, he is dropping down the weights. Norton colleague Brian Ellison has Streets of Newyork with York-based jockey Robert Winston, who knows the contours of this track more than most, in the saddle.

The fancied horse is Richard Fahey's Gabrial Star, although there's a feeling that although he could account for these he is very short at the price.



Mignolino (5/1) has won that every easily for David Barron. That's a double for jockey Graham Gibbons, following his win on Aetna earlier in the day.



Five runners go to post in the British Stallion Studs EBF Novice Stakes.

Kevin Ryan has hit the bar a couple of times today but it is 6/4 that his charge, Captain Colby, wins this five furlong £20,000 contest.

Abscent Friends is next up at 7/1.


O'Meara on That Is The Spirit: "We don’t know if soft ground is important to him. He’s only run twice and encountered it both times and won.

"Whether he’s won because he’s better than the rest or because he goes in the ground the best, I’m not sure, but I do know that he’s a very good horse."


York Press:

He's unbeaten and it has stayed that way. That Is The Spirit has won that easily for Nawton's David O'Meara and brought North Yorkshire its third winner of the day.

He fully justified his tag of 5/2 favourite in convincing fashion - streaking away towards the latter stages off the seven furlong contest.

O'Meara has got his defence of his York top trainer crown off to a cracking start.




We have joint favourites here with That Is The Spirit and Idea at 7/2. Tea Leaf, who Jack Keene has an eye for, is next at 6/1.


The feature contests are over, but the action still continues at York Racecourse. It is the Conundrum HR Consulting Stakes next and the horses are already in the parade ring.


Kevin Ryan thinks Astaire ran a mighty race there in the Duke of York and the Sutton Bank trainer believes, with better ground, his three-year-old can do even better things in the future. Have a listen to what he had to say here...


Maarek has done it. He has defied top weight to win the Duke of York Clipper Logistics Stakes at 12/1.

Astaire, for Hambleton's Kevin Ryan, was a persistent challenger but fell half-a-length short.


Jack Dexter heads the market at 9/2, with Astaire at 11/2. Moviesta is 6/1 and Hawkeyethenoo 10/1




The action moves on quickly. Next up is the Duke of York Stakes - a fiendish looking affair.

Astaire, the Gimcrack Stakes winner last season, has caught the eye of Jack Keene for Hambleton's Kevin Ryan but there are a host of experienced top performers behind - not least the top weight Maarek, trained by Evanna McCutcheon.

Moviesta, fifth in the Palace House Stakes at Newmarket earlier this month, moves up to six furlongs and represents Ryan's Sutton Bank neighbour Bryan Smart.

Tim Easterby, who trains at Great Habton, will be hoping Body And Soul will relish the conditions while multiple winner Ladies Are Forever - a Group 2 winner here at York in the past - goes for Malton trainer Geoff Oldroyd and his owner, Pocklington tyre magnate Reg Bond.


Tony Coyle was thrilled with Lily Rules as she narrowly went down to Madame Chiang in the Tattersalls Musidora Stakes. Hear what he had to say by clicking above...


Madame Chiang (8/1) pips Lily Rules, trained by Norton's Tony Coyle, to win the Musidora.


Cambridge next. Keene says she is fit, but starting to sweat up a little bit.

York Press:


Some shots of the market principals for you. Below is Queen Of Ice. Jack Keene reports her to be on her toes but looking well.

York Press:


Queen Of Ice heads the market at 4/1 with Cambridge and Shama next - both at 5/1.


The first of the big races is coming up now - the Tattersalls Musidora Stakes. A trail for next month's Classic Oaks at Epsom, it's worth £80,000 and is a Group 2 race over a mile-and-a-quarter.

Ten go to post and Lady Heidi, trained at Middleham by Phil Kirby, heads up another healthy county contingent.

Lily Rules represents Norton's Tony Coyle, while Latenightrequest will bid for victory for Malton's Richard Fahey.

Secret History, for Middleham's Mark Johnston, was the last North Yorkshire winner of the Musidora back in 2005.


Easterby believes that Aetna will be a Listed filly one day as long as she gets her preferred soft ground.

He said: "She got away with it today. Graham Gibbons said she didn't want to race so he just sat her out, kept her quiet, left her alone, got her warmed up and delivered her at the death. He is a brilliant jockey."



York Press:

Another 1-2-3 for North Yorkshire trainers. What a start to the 2014 York season.

Aetna (7/1 jt-fav), trained by the octogenarian Mick Easterby at Sheriff Hutton, has seen off Baccarat, saddled by Richard Fahey at Musley Bank, and Blaine, the charge of Kevin Ryan at Sutton Bank, to win the Infinity Tyres Stakes.


Next up looks another tricky handicap. The Infinity Tyres Handicap is over six furlongs, is worth £25,000, and has 20 runners.

Baccarat, last year's Great St Wilfrid winner at Ripon, heads the market at a big 8-1 - he's been nibbled in from 9s - with Blaine, a former Gimcrack Stakes winner at York, not too far behind.

Kevin Ryan's four-year-old has an interesting jockey booking in the champion Richard Hughes.

Yeeoow is 8-1, Aetna - a confirmed mud-lover trained by Sheriff Hutton's Mick Easterby - is 17-2 with Lancelot du Lac next up in the betting.


Peter Niven trains not too far from the track but Clever Cookie is his first winner on Knavesmire.

He is hoping he could have a contender on his hands, although he has not decided where to take him next.

"There's nowhere springing up," said Niven when asked where the six-year-old will go next. "He also needs some grass but he is in good nick and he is minding himself well all year.

"Fingers crossed we can maybe do something."


Lot of chances there with a furlong to travel but Clever Cookie (7/1) has won the opening race of the 2014 York season.

And he has done it for North Yorkshire. The six-year-old is trained by Peter Niven in Malton.


Ready? They are going into the stalls.


The opener here is the Stakes and Rye House, trained by Sir Michael Stoute, is the 5/1 favourite in what is an open contest.

Clever Cooke, for Malton's Peter Niven, is next in the market at 15-2 with Lahaag 8-1, Hi There 11-1 and Tres Coronas 11-1.

It's a £25,000 race over a mile-and-a-quarter.


Twenty minutes and the 2014 season at York Racecourse will be under way. The runners for the first are coming over from the stables in Tadcaster Road.



Jack's choices get progressively shorter in price the more the afternoon goes on. Is he hedging his bets?

But if Hi There (12/1) or Regal Parade (28/1) get home it'll certainly be champagne all round.


We'll either win a fortune, or be round his house waving burning torches and brandishing pitchforks.
These are Jack Keene's selections for today's racing at York:

1.45pm - Hi There
2.15pm - Regal Parade
2.45pm - Queen Of Ice
3.15pm - Astaire
3.50pm - That Is The Spirit
4.25pm - Mambo Paradise
5pm - Gabrial's Star


He's dragging out the suspense, but Keene's Crackers will be ready in just a couple of minutes.





Let's have a spin around the social media world and see what everyone is backing today...



Two more non-runners in the 5pm:

9 Guising  
10 Freewheel 


You've read his views on the Musidora Stakes, now Jack Keene turns his attention to the Duke of York Stakes at 3.15pm. He thinks it might be worth considering a young course with great course form...

Three-year-olds have a poor record in the Group 2 Duke Of York Stakes, with the last winner coming in 1999.

Astaire, winner of the Gimcrack over course and distance and the Group 1 Middle Park stakes last season, holds strong claims of bucking the trend in the hands of Champion Jockey Richard Hughes.

Soft ground holds no fears for Kevin Ryan’s son of Intense Focus, and dropping back to six furlongs is a positive having not got home over seven furlongs at Newbury on his seasonal reappearance.

Despite carrying a penalty for his Group 1 success, he still receives a handy weight allowance and is sure to make his present felt in the top-class sprinting division this season.

Mud-lover Jack Dexter is sure to improve for his first start of the year when finishing third at Doncaster in March. He has a consistent profile and an enviable track record in some of the hottest sprints in the racing calendar and he is Placepot banker material.

Maarek also thrives in these conditions but is lumbered with a 5lb penalty for winning the Prix de l’Abbaye at Longchamp and it will take a miraculous performance to succeed with that extra weight on his back.

Bryan Smart’s Moviesta progressed steadily last season and made an encouraging reappearance at Newmarket when beaten two lengths into fifth by Sole Power.

Although he has a victory at York on soft ground, there is a suspicion he’ll be seen to best effect on a sounder surface.

Eton Rifles is held by a few of today’s field on previous form so will need to step up, and Tropics, who rattled up an impressive five victories last year including a Group 3, has yet to set the world alight in two runs this season, and would ideally prefer the ground to dry.

Astaire, the only three-year-old in the line-up, is fancied to get the better of his rivals this afternoon with Jack Dexter the chief threat.


The Press caught up with William Derby, chief executive and clerk of the course at York, and asked him about his expectations for the week. Here's what he had to say.


When it's all up and running, this will be the new weighing room. It's due to be completed in time for next season but, as you can see, it looks ahead of schedule.

They do a great job with presentation here at York Races. Even a building site looks smart.

York Press:




York non-runners so far:

2.45pm   2 Eastern Belle
3.15pm  10 Music Master
3.50pm   20 Mime Dance
5pm       11 Da Do Run Run


Some diamonds for you here now. Jack Keene has been looking at the Musidora and thinks he has found an attractive each-way number for you...

With the Investec Oaks a little over two weeks away, the Tattersalls Musidora Stakes at 2.45pm could provide some vital clues for the Epsom classic.

Carrying the familiar colours of Prince Khalid Abdullah, the owner of wonder horse Frankel, Cambridge arrives with a tall reputation and a blue-blooded family tree.

No bigger than 10/1 in the antepost markets for the Oaks, she was victorious on her only start to date at Nottingham where she displayed a tenacious attitude and an abundance of stamina.

The ground at York, currently soft, good-to-soft in places, will place a great emphasis on endurance which should stand her in good stead, though her connections last night admitted they wouldn’t want the ground to be too soft for her.

The horse she beat by three-quarters-of-a-length on her only start, Regardez, re-opposes today, but she has a lot on her plate to try and reverse the form as she was benefitted by experience and getting first run that day.

A much greater threat will come in the form of Queen Of Ice for William Haggas, despite the fact that she doesn’t hold an entry in the Oaks.

The daughter of Selkirk has won both her starts, including a Newmarket maiden on soft ground, and although it will be the first time she has tackled ten furlongs it should be within her range and she is a key player this afternoon.

Sir Michael Stoute knows a Musidora winner when he sees one having trained eight previous winners of the Group 2 race, and he sends out Shama in the colours of the Queen.

She is yet to encounter turf having come third and first in her two starts on the all-weather. The form of her victory isn’t anything out of the ordinary, but she won very easily that day and is open to considerable improvement as a three-year-old.

Middleham’s Philip Kirby holds the best chance of a Yorkshire trained winner in today’s feature race with Lady Heidi.

She improved markedly for heavy ground on her third start in a Listed Race at Pontefract when scooting clear at 20/1 to win by two-and-three-quarter lengths, and she has the highest official rating of today’s field at 97.

While the conditions will be tough today they aren’t as extreme as at Pontefract. The step up in trip will suit but she could be vulnerable to something pacier, but she should play a key role nonetheless.

One filly who’ll appreciate this testing ground is Madame Chiang who trounced her rivals on her debut at Yarmouth in heavy ground.

She holds an Oaks entry for David Simcock, but the form of that success has not worked out and she will have to improve considerably to play a part here. 

With Cambridge not certain to be suited by today’s going, this race could be fought out by Queen Of Ice and Shama, with narrow preference for the former. Lady Heidi is an attractive each-way price.


And at the risk of bombarding you with information about it, check out a short video with York's head of marketing, James Brennan, talking about what's been going on up at the track's northern end...


The resumption of racing here on Knavesmire sees the debut of the track's new unsaddling boxes, vets rooms and pre-parade ring.

The first phase of a £5 million redevelopment, it is quite a big change down the northern end of the racecourse.

York Press:

It certainly looks a bigger and better viewing space compared with the old pre-parade ring, which was always a bit of a squeeeze.


Jack Keene is currently ploughing through the form and is going to give you his thoughts on the Tattersalls Musidora Stakes and the Duke of York Clipper Logistics Stakes.

In the meantime, though, if you are sat at home scratching your head looking for winners, The Press's racing tipster Tom O'Ryan has already done the hard work for you.

Here are his thoughts:


York Press:

A warm start here on Knavesmire, although it is slightly cloudy. Given all the rain we have had over the past few days, the track is looking in great nick.

The latest going is soft, good to soft in places and, for those of you who just can't get enough information, it is an overall average of 6.6 on the going stick.

The forecast is set to be dry and sunny with a slight chance of a shower in the evening.


Good morning everyone from York Racecourse as the 2014 season gets under way today.

We've got a great card ahead of us, with the Tattersalls Musidora Stakes the highlight, and we'll be bringing you all the action from Knavesmire throughout the day.

I have been joined by racing expert Jack Keene today and we'll be looking to give you all the form, along with our tips, in the run up to racing.

Then, as the winners start to come in, we'll bring you reaction from the top trainers and jockeys.

As always, we want to hear from you. Send us your views using the comments facility below or hit us up on twitter. It's @scarrollpress or @jkeene124.

Alternatively, get involved in the discussion by using the hashtag #yorkraces


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