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Wednesday 13 May 2015

3.15 York, Thursday, May 14

The Betfred Dante Stakes (3.15) at York on Wednesday features several unexposed, but potentially very smart, three-year-old colts. However, it could pay to side with Nafaqa, who may lack the superstar potential of some of his rivals but, consequently, may have been seriously underestimated by the bookmakers. The son of Derby winner Sir Percy has just a length to find with subsequent Racing Post Trophy winner Elm Park on their running in the Royal Lodge Stakes at Newmarket last September, should be suited by stepping up to 1 mile 2 furlongs, and may have a fitness advantage over Andrew Balding’s colt – who missed the 2,000 Guineas because of the good to firm going – this time.

Barry Hills’ charge could only finish second, beaten 1¼ lengths, behind subsequent 2,000 Guineas also-ran Kool Kompany in the Craven Stakes on his reappearance at Newmarket four weeks ago, but it would be folly to write him off just yet. He faces stiff opposition, in the form of Elm Park, Golden Horn, Jack Hobbs and John F Kennedy, but 16/1 in the very early price lists is bordering on insulting. Barry Hills’ son, Richard, assistant manager to owner Sheikh Hamdan said recently, “He [Nafaqa] is stepping up in grade on Thursday, but he has every right to be there.”

Selection: York 3.15 Nafaqa to win (although, at 16/1 in a field of eight, an each-way ‘burgle’ is also tempting)


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