By Henry Valantine
Prince Andrew was in attendance as the Dante Festival kicked off in style on Wednesday, with an intriguing day of racing at York.
His Royal Highness was the guest of honour at York’s first race-day of the season. He was present to open the brand new weighing room.
The pick of the action was the Tattersalls Musidora stakes, an Oaks Trial race, with Frankie Dettori winning on Star of Seville to make it three wins in a row for the filly and trainer John Gosden.
It was not all plain sailing, though, as Dettori and the Star of Seville led from the front.
The Ryan Moore-mounted Together Forever closed towards the finishing post, but the charge came just too late in the mile-and-a-quarter race.
Dettori said in a post-race interview: “I was worried (when Together Forever closed), but then she pulled her neck out again. Even though she is good, she is a bit quirky, like most good ones are.”
Six winners of the Oaks have also been successful in the same race at York, the latest being Sariska in 2009.
Unsurprisingly, Star of Seville’s odds for The Oaks have dropped from 12/1 to around 8/1, and the filly will be seen as a real contender for the Epsom race on June 5th.
The shock of the day came when 40/1 shot Glass Office won The Duke of York Clipper Logistics Stakes, over six furlongs, beating 14/1 shot Mattmu by a head in a closely-fought race.
Meanwhile, pre-race favourite Naadirr, did not meet the standard of the race at all, finishing dead last and prompting questions over his form.
It was a good day for inexperienced horses, though, with debutant Areen, foaled in March, coming through impressively to win the British Stallion Studs EBF Novice Stakes.