Danadana the one to beat in York Stakes
For this fine Saturday, we’ve already looked at the King George and the International Handicap, both of which are run around Ascot, so the Group 2 Sky Bet York Stakes is the next port of call in search of a winner. It’s being run over the extended 1m 2f on what should be properly fast ground, and looks an interesting contest worthy of the £100k prize money that’s up for grabs.
Windhoek just about shades favouritism at the moment for Saeed Bin Suroor and he’s entitled to be short enough on the back of a career-best at Sandown three weeks ago. That was only a Listed race, so not quite as hot as this, but he was 2.5-lengths in-front of runner-up Amralah and Mick Channon’s colt has since showed improved form to win at the same level around Newbury.
Supporters of the Godolphin 4-year-old will be delighted with that as you could have crabbed the form beforehand but can’t to such an extent now. There’s every reason to expect Windhoek to be on the premises in this as well if he runs to the same level of form, but he’ll have to find a few lbs to beat a couple of today’s rivals if I’m to be proven right and the price (3/1) is not enough for me.
At a best-priced 9/2, I’m more than happy to take him on with Danadana for Luca Cumani. This 6-year-old entire has been progressive over the years, improving from an 82-rated handicapper to a lofty 113 Group-class performer, and he’s a major player in this if bouncing back to his best form. The main reason for his price is because he hasn’t blown the roof off this season from a bare figures point of view, coming home sixth of 9 in a Group 3 at Newmarket in April before finishing a distant third of six at the same level around Chester the month after. His first run was probably needed, however, whilst the second came on top of rotten soft ground and he’s the sort who wants it quick and nothing slower.
There was probably no disgrace in performing how he did at Chester as he was carrying a 5lb penalty (as he was at Newmarket) for winning a local Group race out in Turkey last season and runner-up on that occasion was Telescope, whilst the winner was Noble Mission. Although he was well behind those, take the weight off and it looks a highly respectable performance given what that pair have achieved since, so maybe the market isn’t giving him enough credit for what was essentially an impossible task. Things are much more to his liking on this occasion with the ground being perfect, the penalty removed and the track being his favourite (two career-best performances have come around here), and I think that he’s rather overpriced based on deceptive form. Whether that’s correct or not, we’ll find out later, but I’m more than happy to recommend him as a solid bet at the moment.
Selection for the Sky Bet York Stakes (2:55 York):
Danadana – 9/2, available with William Hill. 4/1 generally.
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