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York Dante Festival preview: Unbeaten trio to contest fascinating York feature

Racing returns to York for the first time this season with their three-day Dante Festival bringing some key trials for the Epsom Classics next month along the way on the Knavesmire.

What

York Dante Festival

Where

York Racecourse 

When

Wednesday 17th May – Friday 19th May, 2023

How to watch

bet365 live sports streaming, ITV & Racing TV

Day 1 – Stoute hoping Cosmos can sparkle in Musidora 

A brace of Group-race action on Wednesday afternoon as York's new season begins with the racecourse labelling the Dante Meeting as the beginning of the social summer with the scent of newly mown grass and freshly planted flowers on the famous Knavesmire turf. 

The Tattersalls Musidora Stakes (3.35) is amongst the key contests on day one, with Sir Michael Stoute's Infinite Cosmos favourite at 13/8 following her recent win at Newmarket. 

She meets an old foe in Sea Of Roses, Andrew Balding's charge having denied her at Doncaster on debut in November. 

Oisin Murphy's partner is 15/2 here while Karl Burke's Novakai was second behind Commissioning in the bet365 Fillies' Mile at Newmarket in October and is 6/1 to go one better on her seasonal bow. 

Before that the 1895 Duke Of York Clipper Stakes (3.00) will see last year's Nunthorpe scorer and triple 2022 Group 1-winning mare Highfield Princess (5/2) attempt a winning return under a penalty in the 6f Group 2. 

She faces 10 rivals, amongst them Creative Force (10/3), last year's Platinum Jubilee Stakes runner-up for Charlie Appleby, and the improving three-year-old Harry Angel colt Marshman (6/1) for trainer Karl Burke. He was second in the Gimcrack here last summer. 

The action commences with the Jorvik Handicap (1.50) where Stoute's Real Dream (5/1) is sure to be on plenty shortlists with Ryan Moore booked to ride, though Roger Charlton's Zain Nights (20/1) is a lively outsider in the hands of William Buick following a pleasing comeback over much further at Newbury recently.

Related Horse Racing News

York Dante Festival: When is it, history, previous winners and how to watch

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Day 2 – Unbeaten trio headline Dante field 

A fascinating renewal of the Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Dante Stakes (3.35) is in prospect on Thursday afternoon after a field of a dozen contenders were declared, including an unbeaten trio representing Aidan O'Brien, Sir Michael Stoute and James Ferguson. 

Continuous (7/1) will aim to give the Irish trainer a first Dante win since Cape Blanco in 2010. 

O'Brien's challenger won a Curragh maiden in August and added a French Group 3 the following month in his two juvenile runs. 

Passenger (5/1) impressively took out last month's bet365 Wood Ditton Maiden Stakes at Newmarket on debut for Stoute and quickly rises in class here in his attempt to give the trainer what would be a record-breaking eighth Dante win and his second on the spin after Desert Crown won in 2022. 

Australia colt Canberra Legend (4/1) meanwhile is 2-2 after backing up a debut success at Newcastle in February with a Listed win over 1m1f at Newmarket last month in the bet365 Feilden Stakes. 

John & Thady Gosden rely on Epictetus (11/2) in the hands of Frankie Dettori, while Charlie Appleby and William Buick team up with Flying Honours (4/1), the Godolphin colt having his first outing since winning the Zetland Stakes at Newmarket in October. 

Amongst the day two supporting races is the Middleton Fillies' Stakes (2.25) a Group 2 over the Dante track and trip in which Free Wind (11/8) makes her first appearance since winning the bet365 Lancashire Oaks at Haydock last summer. 

The Gosden's filly faces the likes of Sea Silk Road (9/2) for William Haggas, Aristia (6/1) for Richard Hannon and German import Toskana Belle (7/1) on debut for Roger Varian.

Day 3 – Emily Dickinson could bid for Cup glory 

With three-time winner Stradivarius now enjoying retirement, the Yorkshire Cup (3.35) crown is up for grabs on Friday afternoon. 

Aidan O'Brien has identified the smart filly Emily Dickinson (11/2) as a potential Cup horse this summer and she looked full of promise when winning the Vintage Crop Stakes at Navan last month. 

Quickthorn (5/2) routed the field over further in the Lonsdale Cup here last August at the Ebor Festival and could be a key contender now for Hughie Morrison. 

He has ground to make up on Broome (11/4) after that Ballydoyle inmate won the Dubai Gold Cup in March however, though the potential Irish raider is well-matched with runner-up Siskany (6/1) after their Meydan clash and they could meet again now. 

Earlier on Friday, the final day begins with a double helping of Listed action via the Clipper EBF Marygate Fillies' Stakes (1.50) and the Oaks Farm Stables Fillies' Stakes (2.25) as York's 2023 season bursts into full swing.

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