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York Day Two Tips: Line Of Duty is overpriced for the Dante Stakes

York Day Two Tips: Line Of Duty is overpriced for the Dante Stakes

Follow the Nayef Road

Aside from this tipping lark, I do various jobs in the racing world, and deal with quite a few “horsemen” in one of those capacities.

And, while speaking to one of these on Tuesday afternoon, I mentioned that I quite liked Nayef Road at 33/1 or so each-way to run a big race in the Dante at 15:00.

I will leave out his cutting parting shot, as even the asterisks will leave nothing to the imagination, but the response went along the lines of: “They are paying out on the first six then, are they?”

We will revisit the various merits of Mark Johnston’s colt in a moment, but the starting point in the York Derby Trial obviously has to be the favourite Too Darn Hot.

On what we know form-wise the Dewhurst winner should be more like 8/11 than 11/8, as he is streets ahead of these on his Newmarket win and is bred to stay this extended 1m2f and beyond.

But he didn’t immediately strike me as a horse that was crying out for middle-distances this year – he won over 1m on his debut and was stepped back down to 7f thereafter – and of course he had to miss the Guineas after what we assume was only a slight setback.

I think, on balance, he is one to take on.

Land of the Rising Sun needs the run

It sounds as if Japan will need the run – though the stable said that about Anthony Van Dyck at Lingfield on Saturday, and he defied market weakness to win well – and I think wide-margin winners Telecaster and Surfman have plenty to prove up in class, as does the well-regarded Almania.

One that is actually going down in grade is Line Of Duty and he is surely the best bet in this race.

Normally, I would put him up at 7/1 each way with the Betfair Sportsbook, but there are only eight runners in here and it could be that the drying ground – it was good to firm on Wednesday morning, and they put 2mm on on Tuesday evening, and I imagine will do so again – may claim one of the runners.

Indeed, Line Of Duty may need more dig and I heard connections of the aforementioned Nayef Road were worried about quick ground earlier in the week, for all he won on fast twice last year.

But the Godolphin horse is surely overpriced and needs to be backed, so the exchange is the place to get with him, as the original place terms stand here (with an appropriate Rule 4 or reduction factor, applied) if any non-runners.

So you can get with him in the each-way market, or win and place.

We will get back to that in a minute, but first his form claims.

He was beaten (on fast ground) on his debut but he really took off from there, beating Saturday’s Lingfield Derby runner-up Pablo Escobarr in his maiden before taking his Group 3 over 1m1f in France and going on to land the Group 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf at Churchill Downs.

It may not have been the strongest renewal of that contest but it showed he had tenacity to match his class, and the step up to this 1m2f56yd will surely hold no terrors for this Galileo colt.

The ground is a slight worry – it was on the easy side in both France and America – but he is the second-best horse in here from what we know and he looks guaranteed to stay, yet he is fifth favourite in some lists.

That just doesn’t seem right to me. Back Line Of Duty at [9.0] win and [2.2] place, or bigger.

I never let anyone influence my bets – if I am going to lose money, then I will do so on my own judgement, thanks – so I am also putting up Nayef Road win and place, too.

Some people may think he doesn’t possess the class to be mixing it in this grade and that he “only” won a Newmarket handicap last time, and one where he basically got the run of the race from the front from an early stage, too.

But he won that handicap by 5 lengths off a mark of 96 and is now rated 106, and to my reckoning that is more than what the likes of Surfman, Telecaster and Almania have achieved.

He has won twice on good to firm, and let’s not forget he is a Galileo too. He could struggle to last home over 1m4f but he is proven in the here-and-now over this trip, and he has had a recent run, unlike half of this field.

He will for me. Back Nayef Road at [34.0] win and [5.0] place, or bigger.


Old but gold

In the opening 5f sprint handicap, I had a short-list of six – Copper Knight, Royal Birth, Open Wide, Fendale, Cowboy Soldier and Poyle Vinnie – and that isn’t ideal as a starting point in any race, not least because you can half-fancy the other 16 in the race!

But shit-or-get-off-the-pot-time again (carrying on the Line Of Duty theme) and I am going to have a minimum-stakes, win-only interest in Poyle Vinnie at [18.0] or bigger in the 13:50.

He may be the joint-oldest horse in the race as a 9yo and ideally want more cut, but he comes here in good heart after a win at Chelmsford last time (albeit in a 0-85, and this is a 0-105) and I think he can go well again under a 4lb penalty.

He remains on a good mark judged on his fast-ground placed efforts at Ascot and Hamilton last summer and he has run some blinders at this course, including when not beaten far in this race in 2018 and 2017 (he was beaten under 2 lengths off a 14lb higher mark two years ago).

Connections have ditched his usual headgear this term, and it has borne fruit with two wins from four, and a big field and strong pace, and cover from a midfield draw, promises to see him run well again.

Story topper

I wouldn’t be in a rush to back Lah Ti Dar at around 4/7 in the Middleton Stakes at 14:25.

On what we have seen Lah Ti Dar, is the undoubted class act in here and the dual Group 1-placed filly was hugely impressive when winning the Galtres Stakes by 10 lengths here on fast ground last August.

But that was over 1m4f and the St Leger runner-up is clearly suited by a test of stamina, so a muddling pace in here over 1m2f would certainly not play to her strengths.

With just the six runners, I can’t see much of a betting angle. Maybe Sun Maiden in the without favourite market, but punters and tipsters don’t have to bet in every race, so we move on.

No-one is saying the 1m handicap at 15:35, is easy either, but I am going to chance What’s The Story from stall 16, which probably isn’t ideal, I grant you.

He tuned up for this race with a fair third over an inadequate 7f on his return at Newcastle earlier in the month, and his best effort to date came over 1m on fast ground when fourth in the Hunt Cup.

He is actually 2lb lower now, and he also ran well when sixth here in the John Smith’s Cup last season before his stamina looked to run over that extended 1m2f.

It was interesting to note that Ryan Moore was jocked up on him at the five-day stage (before presumably being claimed to ride the favourite Ledham, who is now a non-runner), and he is certainly worth an each-way interest at 12/1 with the Betfair Sportsbook.

In fact, he looks the best of the day to me, with the five places.

Best of luck.

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