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Satellite could be out of this world in Dante Festival opener

12 May | BY Betway | MIN READ TIME |
Satellite could be out of this world in Dante Festival opener

Drying ground narrows the field for York punters

York’s Dante meeting gets underway with a very difficult 20 runner handicap run over 10.5 furlongs. There are many well handicapped horses entered but drying ground is going to go against a lot of them making punters’ lives a little easier.

Mahsoob and Field of Fame are well fancied and closely matched on their Newbury meeting last month. After two starts they are open to any amount of improvement but the form of their last run hasn’t really worked out so at the prices are opposable.

William Haggas’ Satellite showed some smart form 12 months ago but seemed to lose his way the longer the season went on. He’s since been gelded and that could be the making of a horse that showed several signs of ‘character’ last term. His form from this time last year entitles him to be pretty well handicapped, he’s only 3lbs higher than when beaten 3 lengths by Cannock Chase in the London Gold Cup, that horse has since proved himself 22lbs well in that day. Windshear was 2nd in that race and is now rated 21lbs higher. Collaboration was 2 lengths behind Satellite on that occasion and he won a handicap last week easily off a 13lb higher mark. Satellite was also denied by a short head by Roseburg in another handicap last season off a 2lb lower mark than this and he won comfortably on his next start to frank that form.

Satellite is a well handicapped horse if the gelding operation and winter off sees him recapture his old form and it’s encouraging that Luca Cumani has sent out the likes of Ayaar and Penhill to win decent handicaps first time out this season.

Boy In The Bar can pay for the drinks in York sprint

Big handicap lovers are in for a treat at York with 20 runners also scheduled to go to post in the first sprint of the week at the Knavesmire in the 2.40. Again drying ground should help narrow the field with many of these declared when the ground was still soft. Polybius will be the early favourite having not been penalised for finishing 3rd in an all weather listed contest in November but he was entitled to run well in that race and will need to improve to win here.

Mass Rally would have been the selection on softer ground. He comes alive here with his best run coming at this meeting last year when 4th in the Group 2 Duke of York Stakes. He’s won over course and distance off a 6lb higher mark and proved his well being when best of those that came from off the pace at Pontefract on his seasonal debut. Although better with cut in the ground he does handle firmer ground so could still run well.

The selection on this ground though has to be Richard Fahey’s Boy In The Bar. He wouldn’t want the ground to dry out too much more but the ground was certainly firmer than this when he ran very well in a strong Ascot contest last week. He’s on the same mark as when beaten just a length in a contest full of unexposed handicappers and although it’s a slight worry to see him turned out so quickly after his seasonal debut it’s worth noting that his best form last season came when blinkers were applied and having been without them at Ascot, they are back on here.

Astaire and Muthmir the interesting pair in Duke of York Stakes

The Duke of York Stakes is the classiest race of the day and the ground drying out is certainly going to suit Astaire and Muthmir (both 5/1). The former has returned this season in great form, winning a Group 3 on his last start, and just gets the nod over the latter who will be making his seasonal debut. As the season progresses it is Muthmir who is more interesting though and if we have a dry Royal Ascot he’ll be a major contender for the Kings Stand over a furlong shorter.