Crack open a Bottle

Steve Hughes looks ahead to the second day of the Dante meeting at York

All eyes of the racing purists will be on a high class renewal of the Dante at York on Thursday, but from a betting perspective I find the two big handicaps of much more interest. We made a winning start to the meeting though First Eleven yesterday (advised 11/2).

York 1.50: Justanotherbottle & Eeh Bah Gum

Two speedballs are fancied over the flying five to kick off the card.

Justanotherbottle ran some cracking races over 6f last season, none more so than when second in the Stewards Cup at Glorious Goodwood. He looked the likely winner for a long way until the stamina gave way late on and he was collared in the final stride. However his natural distance is 5f – the trip over which all five career wins have been gained. Having dropped back to the same mark of 101 he ran off at Goodwood, he looks reasonably treated. Danny Tudhope is 2-4 on the gelding and takes over on the 5yo today. He also win first time out two seasons ago by a wide margin at Nottingham, so the lack of a recent run need not be an issue.

Eeh Bah Gum has yet to win at this exalted level, but he was a rapid improver last season and could have yet more to offer this term on speed favouring tracks. He ran far better than the finishing position suggests at Musselburgh on his comeback, given he was drawn too wide and faded late on as if he needed the run. He won five times last summer, including making all to win the closing race of the Ebor meeting here. Drawn in twenty, a high stall was no disadvantage yesterday.

York 3.35: Beringer & Ulshaw Bridge

Once again two against the field are taken in an open contest.

Beringer was a decent performer over 10f last season, winning two fast ground handicaps at Sandown and Leicester, but seemed to reach his limit at that distance. However this strong traveller has been transformed into a progressive miler this year. I fancied him for the Lincoln at Doncaster where he did not get the run of the race, having to come from too far big before finishing third. However Andrea Atzeni made no mistake at Newmarket next time, making his challenge at the perfect time to lead late on. Again he travelled well even at the mile distance and a strong pace and galloping track will surely see him to full effect again here.

Ulshaw Bridge surely has a big race of this nature in him and whilst he has to overcome a lengthy absence, the fact he has been gelded over the winter could bring about some improvement. He was a master of consistency last season, winning at Doncaster on fast ground, but also placing in valuable pots at Ascot and Haydock. He also appreciates a fast pace and big field and if he is fit enough today, looks good each-way value.

Recommended bets:

0.75pts each-way – Justanotherbottle – 1.50 York – 12/1 general (most bookies 1/5 odds 1st 5)

0.5pts each-way – Eeh Bah Gum – 1.50 York – 22/1 William Hill, BetVictor (1/5 odds 1st 5)

1pt win – Beringer – 3.35 York – 11/2 Bet365, BetVictor

0.75pts each-way – Ulshaw Bridge – 3.35 York – 25/1 Boylesports (1/5 odds 1st 5)

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