Your Guide to the 2018 Dante Festival at York

Horse racing traditionalists absolutely adore attending the Dante Festival meeting at York Racecourse, which is taking place from 16-18 May this year. There is something about the smell of freshly cut grass that gives an air of summer to proceedings; if only the British weather would do its part!

There are several Group 1 races to choose from over the three-day festival and as always, we focus on three of the most important. Also as always, we’ll be recommending a few of our favourite betting sites for this week’s race meet.

Where to Bet on the 2018 Dante Festival Online

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Day 1: The Duke of York Clipper Stakes

16 May

This is a Group 2 race open to all horses aged 3yo+. It is run over six furlongs and was first ran in 1968. The race was promoted to Group 3 level in 1971 before achieving its current status in 2003. With a first prize of over £70,000, you can expect a few high-class horses to compete.

Please note that 3yos carry 8-13 while 4yos+ carry 9-8. Also, fillies and mares receive a three-pound allowance, Group 2 winners carry three pounds extra while Group 1 winners carry five more pounds than the field.

Previous Winners

YearWinner Odds (SP)
2013Society Rock10/1
2015Glass Office40/1
2016Magical Memory5/2

 Betting Trends and Information

The Duke of York Stakes is a high-quality affair this year but there are only seven entries. Harry Angel is now the odds-on favourite at 8/11 with Tasleet the distant second favourite at 9/2 in places.

  • 13/21 winners finished in the top 3 in their previous race.
  • 15/21 horses were aged 4 or 5.
  • 18/21 horses weighed 9-2 or more.
  • 6/21 favourites have won the race.
  • 19/21 winners had an OR of 103+
  • 19/21 winners had 0-2 season runs.

It is a fiercely competitive race on paper and while Harry Angel is a worthy favourite having won a Class 1 at Newmarket last season (beating Tasleet by four lengths), favourites don’t often fare well in an event that seems to favour horses in the 10/1 to 16/1 range.

If you look at the trends, horses aged 4-5 usually win which doesn’t bode well for Brando and Perfect Pasture. If you obey the OR trend, we are down to three horses, the top two in the betting market and Sir Dancelot at 10/1. One wonders if Harry Angel offers value at such a short price. While he defeated Tasleet comfortably in their last head to head, the favourite was two pounds lighter. This time, he is five pounds heavier.

Day 2: Betfred Dante Stakes

17 May

Along with the Middleton Stakes, this race is the highlight of day two. It is another Group 2 race which was first run in 1958. It takes place over 1m 2f 56 yards and is open to all 3yos. Each entrant carries 9-0 barring Group 1 winners who carry three pounds extra and fillies; they receive a three-pound allowance.

The Dante Stakes became a Group 3 event in 1971 and was elevated to Group 2 status in 1980. Remarkably, 10 winners of this race have gone on to win the Derby with Golden Horn the most recent to achieve the feat in 2015.

Previous Winners

YearWinner Odds (SP)
2014The Grey Gatsby9/1
2015Golden Horn4/1
2016Wings of Desire9/1

Betting Trends and Information

There are nine confirmed entries in the Dante Stakes with Roaring Lion the clear 2/1 favourite followed by Crossed Baton at 9/2.

  • 16/21 winners won their last race.
  • 6/21 favourites have won the race; but 17/21 winners have been in the top 4 in the betting market.
  • 0/21 winners last ran 31-60 days before the race.
  • 20/21 winners had 0-2 season runs.

Last time out winners are worth focusing on and only five horses meet the criteria. Interestingly, Roaring Lion does not but he can be excused because his last race was the 2,000 Guineas where he finished fifth. The main concern over the favourite is whether he will stay the distance. If he falters, two-time Listed winner Mildenberger, unbeaten Wells Farhh Go and Listed Trial winner Crossed Baton are all good enough to take advantage.

Day 3: Yorkshire Cup

18 May

The famous Yorkshire Cup is the main event of the meeting and this Group 2 event is run over a distance of 1m 5f and 188 yards. It received its current status in 1971 and with a prize fund of £165,000, it is lucrative enough to attract former Group 1 winners with regularity.

It is open to horses aged 4+ and all entries carry 9-1. Exceptions include fillies and mares (who receive a three-pound allowance) and a five-pound penalty for Group 1 winners.

Previous Winners

YearWinner Odds (SP)
2013Glens Diamond25/1
2014Gospel Choir7/2
2015Snow Sky5/2
2016Clever Cookie5/2

 Betting Trends and Information

At the time of writing, there were 26 possible entries with Stradivarius the early 7/4 favourite. Desert Skyline is 6/1, Torcedor is 13/2 with the rest of the field 7/1+.

  • 20/21 winners finished in the top 4 in their previous race.
  • 18/21 winners had SP odds of between 13/8 and 8/1.
  • 8/21 favourites have won, 18/21 were in the top 4 in the betting.
  • 21/21 winners had 0-2 season runs.

Recent history suggests that horses in the top four in the betting are the ones to focus on. Of course, odds change throughout the days leading up to the race which means we should look at horses all the way to 10/1 at least; there are eight such contenders at the time of writing. We should also point out that as at six days before the race, over 50% of wagers have been on Dal Harraild who is now 10/1.