York Dante Festival: Day 1 Tips | 16th May 2018

All eyes are on York from Wednesday and racing tipster Graeme Johnston picks out his best bets from Day 1’s action from the Dante Festival.

2:20 York


The Dante Festival starts off with a mile-and-a-half handicap and it’s a pretty interesting race. The market is dominated by TWO runners who won their last starts after long absences and as someone who is a believer in the “bounce” effect, I’ve taken them on.

Banksea is a horse I’ve liked for a long time and he won the Spring Cup for Luca Cumani last year. He’s steadily improved with every start and has always struck me as not being the finished article, so I feel he has a bit of improvement left in him.

The extra two furlongs he tackles here is a big question however he doesn’t look short of stamina and he’s been staying on late in his races. He will enjoy the track and the long home straight will allow him to utilise his pace.

He’s the class horse in the field and even if he doesn’t truly see out the mile and a half he may just be too good for them.

3:30 York


The Group 2 Clipper Logic Stakes promises to be an absolute cracker with Harry’s Angel making his seasonal debut. Last year’s champion sprinter is surely the horse to beat, but he has a penalty here and he lost his seasonal debut last year so if he is going to be vulnerable it’s here.

Brando is a fantastic horse and though he’s yet to win at the top level he is every inch a Group 1 horse. He is also match fit from a good win at Newmarket so he is primed for this. I thought he travelled exceptionally well that day and he’s a horse I believe we’ve still not seen the best of.

As much as Harry’s Angel is rated 9lbs superior to all of these, it’s worth remembering he only won half his races last year and this is not his primary target.

I feel Brando offers real value and I wouldn’t class it as a shock result of he does won here. He’s the bet in this.

4:05 York


The Muisidora is York’s Oaks Trial and it tends to be one of the stronger trials around. Only seven go to post here and these isn’t anything in it that screams superstar at me on first glance, but there is one I think could be well above average.

Ejtyah won nicely on debut in an all weather maiden last December and she has been on my radar since. She’s got plenty of stamina in her pedigree and this daughter of Frankel didn’t look as headstrong as some of his tend to be.

This looks a winnable race by Group 2 standards and with natural improvement she would go close. The way she won on debut indicated Jamie Spencer knew there was a lot more in reserve and as long as the ground doesn’t turn too firm I think she will go very close here and I’ve backed her each-way.

Graeme Johnston’s Best Bets

14:20 York – Banksea

15:30 York – Brando

16:05 York – Ejtyah each-way