Duke To Lord It On The Knavesmire
Friday sees the final day of York’s Dante meeting with the highlight being the Group 2 Betway Yorkshire Cup at 3.15 which can go to the John Gosden-trained Romsdal at the 9-4 generally available, but at a double-figure price it is the top weight Duke Of Clarence in the previous Betway Jorvik Stakes who is fancied to go one better than 12 months ago at the 12-1 on offer with several bookmakers including Coral and William Hill.
The Richard Fahey-trained six-year-old is following the same path as last year when the son of Verglas finished seventh in the Chester Cup before finding only Arab Spring a half length too good on the Knavesmire in receipt of 1lb, a creditable performance considering Sir Michael Stoute’s inmate is now rated 112 after winning a Group 3 contest recently. Duke Of Clarence managed only ninth place behind Trip To Paris in Chester’s famous handicap earlier this month but little more could have been expected from David Nolan’s mount who had the worst of the draw on the wide outside.
Paul Hanagan takes over in the saddle on Friday afternoon and a reproduction of last year’s effort should be good enough to take the £50k contest which looks less competitive than the 2014 renewal. Top Tug is currently favourite with most bookmakers to give Stoute back-to-back victories but makes little appeal at odds as short as 100-30 after a lacklustre seasonal reappearance at Newmarket and a bigger danger to the selection may turn out to be Ajman Bridge from the in-form Luca Cumani stable.
A general 9-2 chance, the mount of William Buick did nothing wrong last season and looks the type to improve with experience and made a good start to the season when just touched off in a Doncaster handicap. The step up to 1m 4f at York should prove ideal for the five-year-old who rates the chief threat to Duke Of Clarence.