Thursday ITV Racing Tips: Best bets for York and Salisbury

The Dante Stakes is one one five York races being shown live on ITV4 this afternoon, along with one from Salisbury, and Planet Sport has a tip for each.

Our selections are listed below with the reasons behind them further down the page, while anyone considering a punt or two would do well to check out the race cards for York and Salisbury, just a click away at Planet Sport's Racing Live Centre.

Selections:

Alligator Alley each-way (13:50 York)

Madame Ambassador (14:05 Salisbury)

Noon Star (14:25 York)

Isla Khai (15:00 York)

Magisterial (15:35 York)

Project Dante (16:10 York)

13:50 York - Alligator Alley (each-way)

Raasel, a prolific winner last season, resumed his progress at Goodwood last time and his style of racing is suited to big-field sprints like this one, although another personal best is required having been raised a further 7lb.

He may well go in again but the double-figure price on David O'Meara's Alligator Alley is hard to resist as he's nicely treated on his smart juvenile form, which includes a Listed success over this course and distance and a second-place finish in the Group 3 Molecomb Stakes.

Formerly with Joseph O'Brien in Ireland (sold for 50,000gns) and off the track since October 2020, having been gelded in the interim, he made a promising start for his new connections when finishing a keeping-on third behind some race-fit rivals at Wolverhampton in March.

He should should come on a good deal for that run and York has always been the plan for him, according to his trainer in a recent stable tour, with his low draw in stall 3 potentially advantageous too.

14:05 Salisbury - Madame Ambassador

Mark and Charlie Johnston's three-year-old filly, the stable's only representative at the track, looks to have an excellent chance in this 1m2f handicap off what looks a winnable mark of 79.

Trying Thursday's trip for the first time on her seasonal reappearance at Doncaster 20 days ago, she confirmed her stamina by doing all her best work late on to finish a close-up fourth, and the effort can be marked up a little further as she was slowly away.

A consistent sort at two, finishing in the first three in all her six starts, winning once, she looks sure to win more races this term and Ben Curtis, who is 3-5 on the stable runners this year, takes over the reigns.

14:25 York - Noon Star

Ger Lyons' Thunder Kiss was very impressive on her return to action over 1m4f at Cork in April, when keeping on strongly despite leaning to the left on that right-handed track, and she's entitled to a crack at today's Group 2 company.

However, she's probably best over that trip these days - she was beaten on both her tries over 1m2f last season - and for that reason we're taking her on with Noon Star, one of two Sir Michael Stoute runners and the mount of Ryan Moore, who presumably could have ridden stablemate Ville De Grace.

Runner-up behind Oaks heroine Snowfall in last year's Musidora run over track and trip, she proved disappointing on her only subsequent start last season when only sixth in the Ribblesdale at Royal Ascot, for which she went off 2/1 favourite.

Clearly something was amiss on that occasion and while she only scrambled home in the Nottinghamshire Oaks on her seasonal reappearance 16 days ago, that was a messy four-runner affair and the outing was surely needed following her 313-day break.

Noon Star is a strong fancy at York's Dante meeting

As a Galileo filly out of Midday, she's bred to be very smart indeed and it wouldn't surprise to see her keep on progressing to make her mark in Group company, starting with a victory this afternoon.

15:00 York - Isla Khai

A wide open 1m handicap for which several hold solid claims, but none more so than Nigel Tinkler's Isla Khai, who ran a blinder in his bid for a four-timer over track and trip last August, digging deep once headed and making the winner pull out all the stops.

He led for most of the way after taking a keen hold on his return to action in Newbury's Spring Cup, finishing fourth in that ultra competitive mile handicap after losing two places close to home and just one length behind the winner Modern News, who has since won a Listed event.

That has to go down as another personal best given he was running off a career-high mark and he should be at peak this fitness this afternoon, with every likelihood he has further improvement in him after just eight starts.

His high draw in stall 15 is no concern either as four of the last five winners of this race exited from double-figure boxes (12 last year, 16, 6, 12 and 16), so everything is in place for a big run at fair odds.

15:35 York - Magisterial

Aidan O'Brien has dominated the Derby trials in the past week or so and he runs another classic candidate here in Bluegrass, whose dam was a high-class sprinter but has clearly inherited plenty of stamina from his sire Galileo.

He'll stay alright and should come on plenty from his season-opening fourth in a Leopardstown Derby trial, but he's up against a couple of hugely exciting British-trained runners in Desert Crown and Magisterial, who are disputing favouritism.

The former colt, whose trainer Sir Michael Stoute has won the Dante six times, has raced only once, winning at Nottingham last November in impressive style, and seen his odds contract for the Epsom classic - 33/1 into around 6/1 - without stepping onto a racecourse this spring.

It's fair to assume he's been showing plenty at home and we'll know more about him after this race, but he'll surely improve a lot for his first run back and for that reason we're happy to swerve him this afternoon in favour of John and Thady Gosden's Magisterial, whose race fitness could prove decisive.

A son of Frankel and closely related to dual Group 1 scorer Lillie Langtry, he certainly looked the part when effortlessly beating an odds-on favourite on his return from a 190-day break at Leicester last month and on his first try at 1m2f, with Frankie Dettori barely having to move a muscle.

Another big step forward is required this afternoon but he hails from a stable with a fantastic recent record in this contest - three winners and two seconds from just six attempts in the last seven years - and that the Gosdens are allowing him to strut his stuff on the Knavesmire is a tip in itself.

John Gosden has a fantastic record in the Dante Stakes at York

16:10 York - Project Dante

Aidan O'Brien's King Of Bavaria lost his unbeaten record when only fourth on his seasonal reappearance at Navan, but he didn't give himself much of a chance by racing keenly and is the type to improve with racing, with the Commonwealth Cup amongst his entries.

He won't be far away if settling better this afternoon, but he's priced accordingly and preference at much bigger odds is for Bryan Smart's Project Dante, who showed plenty of dash to get up close home over this 5f trip on his racecourse debut at last year's Dante meeting.

He bettered that when finishing third of the 15 runners in Royal Ascot's Norfolk Stakes, just a quarter of a length behind the winner Perfect Power, and we can put a line through his subsequent heavy defeat in a 6f Group 2 at Newmarket as he did too much early on, giving himself no chance of seeing out the extra furlong.

With another year on his back and having his first outing since undergoing wind surgery, it wouldn't surprise to see him repeat the trick 12 months on from his debut win here in a race his in-form trainer may well have earmarked as an early season target.

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