The four horses ahead of the favourite were involved in a grandstand finish and punters will be hoping to experience similar excitement levels on Thursday when the Middleton Stakes and Dante Stakes take place.
Betfred are the main sponsor on Thursday and there are four races from York being screened on Channel 4 starting with the Betfred Mobile Sports Stakes, although our focus is on the two Class 1 races at 2:00 and 2:30 respectively.
Betfred Middleton Stakes 2:00
Eleven horses are entered for this potentially thrilling spectacle over 1 mile 2 furlongs, with Izzi Top the current favourite at odds of 4/1 (bet365 £200 free bet). The John Gosden-trained charge has claimed three wins from seven starts and the latest of these took place at Newmarket earlier this month in the Dahlia Stakes.
Sajjhaa is the dangerous Godolphin horse in the ranks and this is a seasonal reappearance for the five-year-old who won at York last July but faces much stiffer competition this time around. Perhaps she’ll improve for this run, while Set To Music also returns to the track after a long lay-off and can be backed at 13/2 (William Hill bookmaker).
Timepiece is an interesting runner and might have benefitted from a 4th place finish to Izzi Top at Newmarket, with the five-year-old favourite for that particular contest before failing to stay on at the end.
Betfred Dante Stakes 2:30
The blue riband race of the festival has been eagerly-awaited, with five of the seven horses entered having a very real chance of claiming victory.
Bonfire is the hype horse in the race and trainer Andrew Balding is expecting a big run from the three-year-old over 1 mile 2 furlongs, with the horse’s racing manager claiming that Bonfire is in great condition and that all roads lead to Epsom for this fantastic prospect.
However, this is a competitive renewal and it would be no surprise to see the winner come from four other horses, with Mandean capable of blowing his rivals away. The horse was an impressive winner at Saint-Cloud last November and should act fine on the ground.
Ektihaam represents Hamdan Al Maktoum and has a recent win at Newbury under his belt, while Ernest Hemingway is the Ballydoyle prospect that made short work of his rivals at Dundalk last time out.
Fencing is currently a 7/1 chance and runs quickly after finishing 6th in the 2000 Guineas, with the American horse running a very credible race at odds of 25/1. Ptolemaic was just half a length behind in the same race but has been given a price of 50/1 for this encounter.