Twirl and Hoof It to ensure strong day for favourite backers at York

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The favourites look on course to steal the show on the opening day of the Dante meeting, at least in the two group contests on the card, as Twirl and Hoof It can land the spoils at 11/10 and 2/1 respectively.

14:30 York – Twirl @ 11/10

This looks like a straight shootout between Twirl and The Fugue and although the latter has Classic form in the bag, it is hard to look past the way the Aidan O’Brien yard are performing at present.

O’Brien trained the winner of both the 1,000 and 2,000 Guineas, while Astrology was especially impressive at Chester last week.

The horses are particularly coming on for an early-season run and Twirl should do the same after a satisfactory second at The Curragh in March, while the step up to 1m2f shapes as if it will suit.

The Fugue is another that will appreciate a trip longer than 1m, after doing her best work late on in the 1,000 Guineas to finish fourth.

She arguably needs a success to boost her claims in the Epsom Oaks, but this race may come too soon after her exploits at Newmarket.

Lush Lashes is the only Irish winner of the Group Three contest in the past ten years, but Twirl can add to this tally.

15:00 York – Hoof It @ 2/1

Hoof It is a three-time winner at York and two of these have been over a 6f trip, meaning that the Duke Of York Stakes should pose no obstacles to him.

He was third on his last start in the Group One Betfred Sprint Cup and a repeat of this performance where he can be considered an unlucky loser would make him tough to beat.

Ryan Moore is an interesting jockey booking too, as he has only ridden for trainer Mick Easterby once in the past five seasons, and this resulted in a victory.

The only weakness is this represents his first run in 256 days and if Hoof It is a bit lethargic, Restiadargent and Soul could be the pick of the each-way alternatives.

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Craig Kemp

Craig has written for Ladbrokes since the 2010 World Cup, having previously gained a Media & Sports Journalism degree and contributed to publications including the Racing Post. His main areas of interest are horse racing and UFC, but he is also an avid X Factor gambler and likes nothing more than indulging in a spot of Hip Hop Karaoke.