NAYEL holds on for a tough victory in the first race at York on day one of the Dante festival. Tom Marquand, last years champion apprentice, described by trainer Richard Hannon as 'very very talented', was very strong in a close finish with the Ralph Beckett trained Pacify. 'He has always been a nice horse, but taken time to come to himself. He will run in some nice handicaps this year and he looks capable of getting further. Tom is a great rider and was really seen to advantage today.'
There were a few firsts on the same day at Lingfield. GUAPO BAY not only broke her maiden at the 16th time of asking but also gave Tina Smith her first ever winner and it was the first time a horse has won in the new Richard Hannon racing silks. 'Tina has been with us since last year and has come on leaps and bounds. First time with the blinkers on she gave her a lovely ride and deserved to get the job done.'
Day two of the Dante festival and we have racing from Salisbury and Newmarket as well. Only the three runners at York. 'TAFAAKHOR a son of Dark Angel has been working really well at home. He runs in the 4.45 Maiden and should have a nice chance. He's straightforward but he will come on for whatever he does today.' ADMIRALITY ARCH ran fourth last time at Chantilly, 'he will come on a lot for that run so I could see him running a better race here today.'
At Salisbury the two year olds have been well backed in the first. 'NIBRAS BOUNTY is a really nice horse. There isn't much between him and TAFAAKHOR at home. So expect two nice debuts today. I also really like PAPA LUIGIS chances, he had a wind op since he ran last and has really improved for it. He will be right there on this reappearance having worked very well at home.'
Newmarket has their first evening meeting of the year. Richard has four runners all with nice chances. 'I would have to say OH THIS IS US has improved nicely from his win the other day and could get the job done again today. GREENFYRE ran a nice second at Chepstow on her seasonal debut and could go one better on what looks nice ground up there. LEXINGTON LAW ran a much better race at Windsor last time and up in trip he should run well. It looks a very competitive maiden however.
'PAPA LUIGI has to be the pick of my runners today. He ran well in some nice nurseries last year and seems to have made good improvement over the winter especially with the wind surgery. The two two year olds at Salisbury and York should run nice debuts.'