Racing: Stoute has another star sprinter in Arakan

There has been racing at York on and off since Roman times and on the Knavesmire, the expanse of common land just 20 minutes walk from the city centre, since 1731. Although nowadays the entertainment is confined to the track, time was when an afternoon's jollification would be prefaced by a hanging. Most notably, Dick Turpin met his end at the York Tyburn in 1739.

Those required to stand and deliver this week must do so in less harrowing circumstances than afforded to the highwayman's victims, but riches are at stake none the less as contenders for the Derby and Oaks put their aspirations on the line in the races commemorating two Yorkshire-trained Classic winners. Ten colts have been declared for tomorrow's 47th Dante Stakes, the 10-and-a-half furlong contest named after the 1945 Blue Riband hero, the last to return triumphant to God's own county. The Group Two race is one of the more successful pointers to events in Surrey next month, having produced six winners there, seven runners-up and six thirds.

Interestingly, although Dante winners meet varying fates in the real thing (witness the efforts of the last six: Magistretti, ninth; Moon Ballad third; Dilshaan seventh; Sakhee second; Salford Express 14th; and Saratoga Springs 10th) no horse has failed at York and gone on to win a Derby.

St Paddy, Shirley Heights, Shahrastani, Reference Point, Erhaab and Benny The Dip all did the double. None of the seven Derby entries running tomorrow is in the forefront of the betting; Andean and Let The Lion Roar, at around 25-1, are the highest on the lists.

Today's trial, though, the Musidora Stakes, features the three-year-old debut of the third favourite for the Oaks, Punctilious (2.30), who attracted further Epsom support yesterday. The daughter of Danehill was one of Sheikh Mohammed's head-hunts for Godolphin last year after she won for the second time and there was not much wrong either with her final outing at two, a third place to Red Bloom in the Fillies' Mile. Just in front of her that day, and in a private trial in Dubai last month, was her now-stablemate Sundrop, runner-up in the Guineas earlier this month and current Oaks favourite.

The Godolphin team has always maintained there is little between them and Punctilious, a half-sister to recent Sagaro Stakes winner Risk Seeker, will appreciate every yard of today's demanding but fair Group Three test round the wide, flat left-handed horseshoe with its sweeping turns and a daunting half-mile home straight. She has the right man in the saddle, too, should today's six-runner contest turn out to be tactical and, although she will not be a betting proposition for ordinary mortals, she is impossible to oppose, even though she is untested on easy ground. The one for the forecast should be the Sheikh's maroon-and-white colourbearer Glen Innes, sturdily-bred with Imagine and Generous as close relations.

Musidora won both the filly Classics in 1949 and in 43 runnings of 'her' race Noblesse, Bireme, Diminuendo, Snow Bride and Reams Of Verse won both it and the Oaks; Ambergris, Where You Lead, Moonlight Night, Last Feather, All At Sea, Hawajiss, Pure Grain, Bahr, Zahrat Dubai and Kalypso Katie won the first and finished in the frame in the second.

Of today's 15 runners in the meeting's feature sprint, the Duke of York Stakes, all bar two hold future Group 1 entries and this six-furlong contest, upgraded to Group 2 last year, is indeed often the first meaningful step on the way to discovering the identity of the year's champion flyer.

Sir Michael Stoute has not handled one such since Ajdal, but the way Arakan (3.00) responded to the experiment of dropping him back in distance at Newmarket last month means that omission may be about to be remedied. The son of Nureyev beat subsequent winner Frizzante extremely cosily and, despite third-placed Ashdown Express's 6lb pull this time, can continue his progress up the ranks.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
Billie Piper as Brona in Penny Dreadful
tvReview: It’s business as usual in Victorian London. Let’s hope that changes as we get further into the new series spoiler alert
Life and Style
A nurse tends to a recovering patient on a general ward at The Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham
health
News
science
Arts and Entertainment
No Offence
tvReview: No Offence has characters who are larger than life and yet somehow completely true to life at the same time spoiler alert
News
Chuck Norris pictured in 1996
people
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Lucas, I SCREAM DADDIO, Installation View, British Pavilion 2015
artWhy Sarah Lucas is the perfect choice to represent British art at the Venice Biennale
News
A voter placing a ballot paper in the box at a polling station
i100
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
The Queen (Kristin Scott Thomas) in The Audience
theatreReview: Stephen Daldry's direction is crisp in perfectly-timed revival
Sport
football
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant - Dublin

£13676.46 - £16411.61 per annum + OTE: SThree: SThree Trainee Recruitment Cons...

Ashdown Group: Marketing or Business Graduate Opportunity - Norwich - £22,000

£18000 - £22000 per annum + training: Ashdown Group: Business and Marketing Gr...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant

£20000 - £25000 per annum + Commission: SThree: Are you great at building rela...

Ashdown Group: Database Analyst - Birmingham - £22,000 plus benefits

£20000 - £22000 per annum + excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...

Day In a Page

General Election 2015: Ed Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

Miliband's unlikely journey from hapless geek to heart-throb

He was meant to be Labour's biggest handicap - but has become almost an asset
General Election 2015: A guide to the smaller parties, from the the National Health Action Party to the Church of the Militant Elvis Party

On the margins

From Militant Elvis to Women's Equality: a guide to the underdogs standing in the election
Amr Darrag: Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister in exile still believes Egypt's military regime can be replaced with 'moderate' Islamic rule

'This is the battle of young Egypt for the future of our country'

Ex-Muslim Brotherhood minister Amr Darrag still believes the opposition can rid Egypt of its military regime and replace it with 'moderate' Islamic rule, he tells Robert Fisk
Why patients must rely less on doctors: Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'

Why patients must rely less on doctors

Improving our own health is the 'blockbuster drug of the century'
Sarah Lucas is the perfect artist to represent Britain at the Venice Biennale

Flesh in Venice

Sarah Lucas has filled the British pavilion at the Venice Biennale with slinky cats and casts of her female friends' private parts. It makes you proud to be a woman, says Karen Wright
11 best anti-ageing day creams

11 best anti-ageing day creams

Slow down the ageing process with one of these high-performance, hardworking anti-agers
Juventus 2 Real Madrid 1: Five things we learnt, including Iker Casillas is past it and Carlos Tevez remains effective

Juventus vs Real Madrid

Five things we learnt from the Italian's Champions League first leg win over the Spanish giants
Ashes 2015: Test series looks a lost cause for England... whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket

Ashes series looks a lost cause for England...

Whoever takes over as ECB director of cricket, says Stephen Brenkley
Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power