Simon Holt has two bets for the final day of York's Dante Festival including Thundering Blue for David Menuisier in the Equinity Technology Handicap.
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THIS will be an ambitious campaign for STRADIVARIUS, a highly progressive stayer in 2017 who will bid to take the first step towards a £1 million bonus when a short-priced favourite for Friday’s Group Two MansionBet Yorkshire Cup.
John Gosden’s four-year-old, who won the Queens Vase and the Goodwood Cup before finishing excellent thirds behind Capri in the St Leger and Order Of St George on Champions Day, will need to win here and then add the Gold Cup, Goodwood Cup again and Lonsdale Cup to collect the Weatherbys-sponsored prize.
It’s a tall order but Gosden is keen to have a crack and, therefore, Stradivarius will be well tuned up for this reappearance.
If at his best, it is difficult to see what might beat him; he had Desert Skyline (now 3lb worse off) and Wicklow Brave well behind in third and fourth respectively at Goodwood while Count Octave (only narrowly beaten in the Queens Vase) was five lengths back in sixth in the Leger.
Past Lonsdale winner Max Dynamite would be a danger on his best efforts, which include two placings in the Melbourne Cup though has shown little over hurdles more recently while Call To Mind, in the Royal colours, is expected to do well this season (currently rated 11lb lower than Stradivarius).
In the Equinity Technology Handicap, THUNDERING BLUE should take plenty of beating providing there is enough give in the ground.
David Menuisier’s grey, a big improver last season, was a non-runner in the opening mile-and-a-half handicap at Ascot last Saturday when conditions were quick so the trainer will need to be happy with conditions.
It could be that Thundering Blue will appreciate further than this (he was a staying on seventh when favourite for the nine-furlong Cambridgeshire last September) and was also keeping on nicely at Epsom over this trip last month.
However, under tender handling that day, he gave every impression that he could have gone close had he been ridden more handily and all three of his victories last season came at a mile-and-a-quarter.
For another suggestion, something of a shy at the stumps, the Richard Hannon-trained SPELL could reward each-way interest in the opening Langleys Solicitors British EBF Marygate Fillies Stakes.
Chock full of previous winners, this is a hot contest but the daughter of Slade Power only just missed out when third behind the Clive Cox-trained Getchagetchagetcha at Ascot on her promising debut, and Hannon’s juveniles usually improve plenty for their first run.
Posted at 1745 BST 17/05/18.