Get in touch: send your photos, videos, news & views by texting YORK to 80360 or send an email»
York Racecourse Dante Festival: Day 2 preview
IZZI TOP is favourite to clinch The Bedfred Middleton Stakes at York Racecourse this afternoon (2pm) but will face tough competition as last year’s runner-up Sajjhaa and third placed Timepiece return to challenge.
After winning at Newmarket last month, John Gosden’s filly is a popular choice to win the mile-and-a-quarter contest, which attracts some of the best older fillies and mares.
However, Sir Henry Cecil, who saw Midday win last year, will be hoping Timepiece can improve on her third-place showing last year and defeat at Newmarket to Izzi Top last month to bring home the £100,000 prize fund.
The last two previous winners of this race were both multiple Group 1 winners and, with Timepiece the only Group 1 winner for the 2012 spectacle, the statistics are on her side.
But in the way stands last year’s runner-up, Sajjhaa, trained by Saeed bin Suroor, and with Frankie Dettori in the saddle and at 11-2 with bet365, she looks set to provide firm competition.
Mohedian Lady, ridden by Kieran Fallon, and Set to Music also return to the race as previous winners.
Shortly after comes the Betfred Dante Stakes (2.30pm), which is the highest rated and most valuable trial for the Investec Derby, offering a prize fund of £150,000.
Sir Michael Stoute won last year’s race with Carlton House but has no runner this year and so Bonfire, trained by Andrew Balding and unbeaten before losing in France last month, is the bookies’ favourite to come out on top.
However only three favourites have won in the last decade.
Unbeaten juvenile Mandaean has been tipped to challenge Bonfire and jockey Mickael Barzalona – 2011 Investec Derby winner and 2012 Dubai World Cup winner – brings experience to their search for victory.
Four-time Dante winning trainer Aidan O’Brien will also be hoping to win as his son Joseph, who rode his first winner in 2009 just after his 16th birthday, pilots Ernest Hemingway.