5 Reasons The Dante Festival Can’t Be Missed

The racing world turns it’s attention to York racecourse this week as the Dante Festival will shine a light on equine stars of both the present and future.

The Festival spans three days from Wednesday 16th to Friday 18th May and boasts four Group 2 races. Prize money over the three days of the Dante Festival has risen for the seventh year in succession to a total of £1.2m, and every race is worth £20,000 or more.

York racecourse is also fondly thought of as one of the best tracks in the UK. The course regularly wins awards for its top-notch facilities and this year scooped the prestigious Flat Racecourse of the Year Award!

Here’s five big reasons to not miss a moment of the action of the Knavesmire this week.

1.  Royal Representation

Her Majesty The Queen will no doubt have her priorities elsewhere this week with the Royal Wedding to consider; but she could receive an early gift in the shape of another big win at York.

Last year saw her win her first Yorkshire Cup as her gallant horse Dartmouth toughed it out to claim victory via a thrilling photo finish.

This year she’s entered Call To Mind in the same race and both she and trainer, William Haggas will be hoping that the four-year-old can show further improvement following a progressive season last year.

2. Epsom Derby Clues – the Dante Stakes

The Dante Stakes is run over a distance of 1 mile 2 furlongs and it will take place on Thursday 17th May at 3:30pm. Former Champion trainer John Gosden has had significant recent success in the race having trained the two winners in the last three running’s.

The Clarehaven handler looks to have a strong case for making it three out of the last four as he saddles the top two in the market of this year’s renewal, Roaring Lion and Crossed Baton.

This Group 2 race is a leading trial for the Epsom Derby and has shown a proven progression with 10 previous horses achieving the Dante / Derby double. The most recent of those being Golden Horn back in 2015.

Read more about Golden Horn and the other top five champions to have won both here!

3.  The Return of the Champion Sprinter

The opening day will feature the highest rated horse of the entire Festival, Harry Angel. The Clive Cox trained sprinter will be making his reappearance in the fastest contest of the week, the Group 2 Duke of York Clipper Logistics Stakes at 3:30. The champion speedster of last season was last seen finishing out of the frame in the British Champions Sprint Stakes at Ascot on Champions Day; but jockey Adam Kirby will be hoping they can put that behind them and wow the Yorkshire public.

With many strong sprinters lining up for the six furlong dash, expect to see the winner in the mix for all the Summer’s big sprints.

This year’s renewal also looks likely to feature last year’s victor, Tasleet, who alongside Brando should provide stiff competition to the Godolphin sprinter.

4. An Epsom Oaks winner could emerge in Wednesday’s feature race

The second big race on Wednesday is the Group 3 Tattersalls Musidora Stakes set to go off at 4:05. It is run over 1 mile and 2 furlongs with Highgarden currently this year’s leading contender.

The powerful duo of Frankie Dettori and John Gosden will face competition from the consistent Give and Take who represents William Haggas’ in form yard. It is also worth looking out for Ejtyah and Dancing Brave Bear who are both lightly raced and place unbeaten records on the line.

There have been six fillies who have been victorious in the Tattersalls Musidora Stakes and gone onto win the Epsom Oaks. Sariska is the last horse to win both back in 2009.

5. Watch out for the Jumps Boys!

The Group 2 MansionBet Yorkshire Cup kicks off the 2018 British Champions Series Long Distance division and the 1 mile 6 furlong race features a couple of runners who might be more familiar to the jumps aficionados amongst us.

The Willie Mullins trained Max Dynamite heads up the dual-purpose horses. The Irish raider has racked up a few air miles over the years having placed twice in Melbourne Cups, and was last seen performing admirably at the Cheltenham Festival in March.

The second raider to look out for Wicklow Brave. Having come 7th behind Buveur D’Air in a very competitive Cheltenham Champion Hurdle in March, he followed up with a typically consistent run, finishing 2nd to the Jessica Harrington trained Supasundae in a Grade 1 at Punchestown.

Don’t forget that you can follow all the action with Ed Chamberlin and the ITV Racing team live from ITV4 at 2:00pm tomorrow; with Harry Angel set to go off at 3:30 and a competitive Musidora Stakes following at 4:05.

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