Simon Holt best bets and tips for day three at York's Dante Festival

Leading commentator Simon Holt previews the action on the Knavesmire
Leading commentator Simon Holt previews the action on the Knavesmire

Simon Holt looks to keep up his fine run of form with three selections on Friday, two of which run at York.

Recommended bets: Simon Holt

1pt e.w. Mildenberger in 3.00 York at 16/1

1pt e.w. El Gumryah in 2.25 York at 14/1

2pts win Ice Age 2.10 Newbury at 7/1

Friday's Matchbook Yorkshire Cup sees the reappearance of last season's champion stayer Stradivarius, who took this prize before following up in the Gold Cup, Goodwood Cup, Lonsdale Cup (again at York) and the Long Distance Cup at Ascot on Champions Day.

Such is the five-year-old's class and versatility, trainer John Gosden is reportedly considering the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe this season even though a mile and a half looks a distance short of his best.

Stradivarius ought to take all the beating even under a 3lb penalty but, provided all eight runners stand their ground, I would be tempted to take a bit of each-way about MILDENBERGER who tries an extra quarter mile after finishing third to stable companion Communique in the Jockey Club Stakes at the Guineas meeting.

In that race, the winner was given a peach of a ride from the front by Silvestre De Sousa, catching out his rivals for toe when kicking on over two furlongs out off a steady pace, but Mildenberger kept galloping and, in finishing third, split two highly rated runners in Defoe and Coronet.

Runner-up in the Dante (behind easy winner Roaring Lion) at this meeting 12 months ago, the strapping Mildenberger looks the type to relish a stamina test and double-figure prices are worth taking.

On ratings, the selection admittedly has a bit to find with Ispolini and Southern France if he is to at least make the frame. The former appeared to show improved form at Meydan earlier in the year, culminating in a second to his illustrious Melbourne-Cup-winning stable-mate Cross Counter in the Dubai Gold Cup, but I'd like to see him reproduce that here as so much of the Dubai form doesn't travel well.

Southern France could make up into a cup horse this season and his third to Kew Gardens in the St Leger at Doncaster last September was probably his best effort so far. In other starts, however, Aidan O'Brien's four-year-old has looked short of any change of gear including when third at Navan (should improve for the run) on his reappearance last month.

Mildenberger
Mildenberger can cause an upset

In the Oaks Farm Stables Fillies Stakes, Twist 'N' Shake could be hard to beat after her narrow defeat by Maqsad at Newmarket last month was boosted when the winner hacked up next time in the Pretty Polly Stakes at the Guineas meeting.

An easy odds-on scorer subsequently, Frankie Dettori's mount has plenty going for her but, at a much bigger price, EL GUMRYAH appeals each-way.

Simon Crisford's daughter of No Nay Never was the surprise 20/1 winner of a keenly-contested conditions race at Kempton last month but appeared to have developed well physically and duly made all the running.

El Gumryah, who showed a good attitude up the home straight, was always holding on from Rux Power and Rainbow Heart, both impressive winners on their previous starts, while this week's narrow Musidora Stakes winner Nausha was back in fourth.

It's possible that the latter was a much better filly at York but, even so, the form looks alright and if the selection is given her head again in the hands of Silvestre De Sousa on a course that often suits pace-setters, she may well be in the shake-up.

At Newbury, ICE AGE is fancied to repeat last year's victory in the Coolmore Stud Handicap off the same mark.

Eve Johnson Houghton's honest stable servant, who was also second in this in 2017, ran better than it might have appeared in sixth behind Reputation at Ripon last time when racing over on the far side whereas the first three home came up the stands' side.

His disadvantage that day was illustrated by fourth-placed Intisaab (best of the far side group) who turned the tables on two of the first three home when a creditable fifth behind Soldier's Minute at York on Wednesday.

Back at Newbury, now 8lb below his peak mark of last season and likely to improve for a couple of runs (as was the case last year), Ice Age has plenty going for him here.

The one 'unknown' in the field is the unbeaten Habub, an expensive son of War Front who made short work of some poor rivals at Lingfield last month. Time may show that he is well handicapped here, but this requires more.

Posted at 1600 BST on 16/05/19.

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