Through The Card: York, Thursday May 12

The Group 2 Dante Stakes is the feature race at York on Thursday
The Group 2 Dante Stakes is the feature race at York on Thursday

Timeform take you through the card on the second day of York's Dante Meeting on Thursday.

14:10 - Brando is a sprinter on the up, improving a chunk when an impressive winner at Newmarket on last month's return, and he looks destined for the top sprint handicaps this season. Royal Birth should be as effective on turf as he is on the all-weather given he's won at Brighton, though it's still a bit of a worry and therefore he's perhaps the weakest link of those at the head of the betting from a Placepot point of view. Instead we'll take Fast Track (closely matched with Royal Birth on his two starts this year and proven on grass) and Toofi, who is making his first start for one of the 'Sprint Kings' Robert Cowell. Duke of Firenze is potentially well treated and could also run well, though another go at the Epsom 'Dash' he won in 2013 may be his big summer target.

14:40 - The progressive Journey ended last season with an excellent second in the Fillies' And Mares' Stakes at Ascot and she's likely to cope with this shorter trip better than main dangers Beautiful Romance, Koora and Lady of Dubai, so she looks a good banker in this Group 2 Middleton Stakes. The only slight concern with Journey is whether the other front runner in the field, Ballyback Queen, will effect her, but she did win a listed race at Salisbury last term when getting as lead.

15:15 - The regally-bred Midterm looks the type to make into a top middle-distance performer and can cement his place at the head of the Derby betting by taking his record to three from three in the Group 2 Dante Stakes, which would give his trainer Sir Michael Stoute his seventh win in the pre-eminent trial for the Epsom classic (which would mean he'd join the current leading trainer in the race, Sir Henry Cecil). John Gosden hold a strong hand with Foundation and Wings of Desire and they can follow the selection home, with the former just preferred of that pair for all that Frankie Dettori has seemingly chosen to ride the latter (Dettori rode Jack Hobbs in the race last year when William Buick was on the winner Golden Horn). Choreographer may outrun big odds, though it's probably asking a lot for him to muscle in on Midterm and Foundation.

15:45 - There's no doubt that Express Himself needs everything to drop right (usually slowly away), but there's also no doubt that he has the ability to win a valuable handicap off his current mark of 101. Express Himself has caught the eye on both his starts this term, seventh in the Lincoln and then finishing with running left after meeting trouble when fourth of 15 to You're Fired at Haydock last time, and he's worth a bet today at around 8.415/2. Lord of The Land bounced back from his Lincoln flop when fifth at Haydock last time and is respected, along with last year's Cambridgeshire winner Third Time Lucky and Master The World.

16:15 - Exist may have a bit to find with Easton Angel on form, but she's the big improver in the field and should have the pace to cope with the drop to five furlongs. Easton Angel sets the standard on her Queen Mary second last summer, but she didn't improve on that performance in three subsequent starts last term, so a bigger danger could be Areen, who also went close at the Royal Meeting (runner-up in the Windsor Castle) when trained by Kevin Ryan and is respected on his debut for David O'Meara.

16:45 - The market will help assess these. Tafaakhor is out of a six-furlong/seven-furlong winner and his sales price rose to 190,000 gns as a yearling, so he ticks plenty of boxes on debut for leading connections, though Gulliver shaped well starting out at Newmarket and could be a tough not to crack. Charlie Chaplin disappointed in that race Gulliver contested, but he was sent off at 4/1 that day and is presumably thought capable of better (he now sports headgear too).

17:20 - Competitive fare, but Cardinal Walter appeals as the pick of the weights given the level he was capable of, and his expert handler (Nicky Henderson) showed once again at Chester (saddled the same owner's No Heretic to win the Chester Cup) that he is adept with similar types. Hidden Justice and Alphabetical Order are a thriving pair who are feared most, though The Cashel Man could easily resume his progress in 2016.

Recommendations:

Back Midterm in the 15:15
Back Express Himself in the 15:45
Back Exist in the 16:15

Placepot permutation:
14:10 - 1, 6, 8
14:40 - 4
15:15 - 7
15:45 - 7, 10
16:15 - 7
16:45 - 3
= 6 lines

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