MILL STREAM will aim to continue his rise up the sprinting ranks on Wednesday when he takes his place in a field of 15 for a hot renewal of the Group Two 1895 Duke of York Clipper Stakes, at the curtain-raising Dante Festival for the York season.

The Jane Chapple-Hyam trained colt won in Group 3 and Listed company in France before finishing sixth in the Group 1 Sprint Cup at Haydock last year.

He reappeared for 2024 when finishing second in the Group 3 Abernant Stakes at Newmarket last month. Washington Heights beat Mill Stream by three-parts of a length on that occasion and reopposes in the £150,000 Group 2 on the Knavesmire.

Azure Blue, the winner of the 2023 race, is trained in Darlington by Michael Dods and goes to post facing no less than four rivals from the powerful Yorkshire stable of trainer Karl Burke, plus contenders from both Kevin Ryan and Tim Easterby, as northern yards send out nearly half the field.

Mill Stream is drawn in five and will be partnered by both national and York champion jockey, William Buick. It will be the four-year-old’s third run at the track, having finished fourth to Chaldean in the 2022 Tattersalls Acomb Stakes and then third of 21 in last season’s Oakmere Homes Supporting Macmillan Sprint Handicap. 

Newmarket-based Chapple-Hyam said: “Maybe not the best draw, but we’ve got a good jockey who knows him and the horse has improved from the Abernant, so we’ll try and be in the shake-up.

“I feel being back on a flat track will make a big difference rather than that first run into the dip at Newmarket. The change back on to a flat track is definitely a plus.

“He’s raced there, so he knows the track and he’s a very good traveller. He’s coming up overnight.”

Chapple-Hyam is hoping to take the Peter Harris-owned Mill Stream to Royal Ascot next month for the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth II Jubilee Stakes.

She added: “That’s the plan but we’ll be guided by how he performs Wednesday.”

Chapple-Hyam is confident that Mill Stream has improved from last year, not least because of natural physical progression.

She said: “When they are three, they are not as mature as older sprinters that are more conditioned to taking on these high-class sprint races.”

Wednesday’s other Group race is the Tattersalls Musidora Stakes in which Friendly Soul will aim to preserve her unbeaten record.


The John and Thady Gosden-trained filly are 2/2 for a stable that has won the extended mile-and a-quarter Group 3 on no fewer than eight occasions, including the last two renewals.


MARCO BOTTI is hoping that a return to York and a slight step back in distance can help Giavellotto rediscover the winning thread, as he runs in the Boodles Yorkshire Cup on Friday.

Twelve months ago, the son of Mastercraftsman claimed a fine victory in the £180,000 Group 2, which is part of the British Champions Series.

Giavellotto has run well on his four subsequent starts without managing to get his head in front. The five-year-old’s last two outings came in Saudi Arabia (3rd of 14 in February) and Dubai (5th of 15 in March) where on both occasions he performed well behind the impressive Tower of London.

The same opponent is also in the Boodles Yorkshire Cup, but Botti believes that Giavellotto’s cause will be helped by the drop back to a mile and six furlongs.

The Newmarket-based trainer said: “Obviously it’s the race he won last year and I always thought that the Yorkshire Cup distance is probably the ideal trip for him. The two miles in the Dubai Gold Cup stretched him a little bit – but still he ran a good race and he ran well in Saudi.

“He takes the travelling really well and it’s always been the plan to come back and enter the Yorkshire Cup. We freshened him up a little bit and we’ve been really pleased with his condition.

“He’s been in good form.  We gave him his last serious piece of work this morning and we were happy. He worked well and seems in good order. It should be nice ground next week – he doesn’t want too softer.”

There are eleven horses remaining in the Boodles Yorkshire Cup after the latest entry stage and everything points to another high-class renewal of the race. Botti is expecting a tough assignment for Giavellotto, not least because Tower of London is also on course for the stayers’ showdown on the Knavesmire.

He said: “I was hoping he wouldn’t be, but I’ve just seen he’s been confirmed!”

Friday will be the third and final day of the Dante Festival, which gets underway on Wednesday 15 May.


BREEDERS’ Cup hero Big Evs is set to make his first start of 2024 at York where he is entered for next Thursday’s British Stallion Studs EBF Westow Stakes.
Big Evs proved a top two-year-old last season, for owners Paul and Rachael Teasdale, from which he signed off with a dazzling display in the Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint at Santa Anita.
The son of Blue Point sped to a half-length victory in the hands of jockey Tom Marquand, who is poised to ride him in the £70,000 Listed engagement on the Knavesmire.
Trainer Mick Appleby said: “Big Evs is in very good order. He has wintered really well – he’s raring to go. Hopefully, he should run very well…hopefully, he’ll win! 
“Tom’s definitely riding. The main thing now is that the rain stays away. He’ll do his last piece of work tomorrow.”
Appleby has chosen the Westow Stakes because he wanted to keep Big Evs to his own age group for his seasonal return. The plan is for the York assignment to be a stepping stone back into Group company. The race was created for exactly this profile of horse, a classy juvenile sprinter who wants to feel their way into a season where their elders await.
“There were very few races early on for three-years-old over five furlongs,” explained Appleby, who added: “He’s in the Temple Stakes (Haydock, May 25). Then he’ll more than likely go to Royal Ascot in the King’s Stand, which is now the King Charles III Stakes (June 18).
“He’s grown a little bit through the winter, but not a lot. He’s not the biggest of horses. He’s pretty straightforward to train. The thing with him, like I’ve always said, is he’s very quick.”
Thursday’s seven-race card is quality-packed and features the £180,000 Al Basti Equiworld, Dubai Dante Stakes (3.45pm). The extended mile and a quarter Group 2 race is a famous Betfred Derby trial and has been landed by eleven rising stars, ahead of subsequent success on the Epsom Downs.
Twelve horses have stood their ground at today’s latest entry stage. Among those who could line up at York are Charlie Appleby’s Group 1-winning two-year-old Ancient Wisdom and the Roger Varian-trained Al Musmak, runner-up in Group 2 company last season. An interesting supplementary entry comes in the shape of Cambridge from the powerful Aiden O’Brien operation, the colt has been a chance to improve for his fourth place run in the Craven Stakes.
The defending champion Free Wind and Bluestocking are among the seven high-class fillies and mares remaining on course for an engagement in the Group 2 £150,000 Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Middleton Fillies’ Stakes, which is scheduled half an hour prior to the Dante Stakes. The duo finished second and fourth in the Group 1 Pertemps Network Yorkshire Oaks on the Knavesmire last August.
The three-day Dante Festival starts on Wednesday 15 May with the 2.15pm Sky Bet Race to the Ebor Jorvik Handicap.


MICHAEL DODS has confirmed that star sprinter, Azure Blue, is on track to return to action next Wednesday in the 1895 Duke of York Clipper Stakes at the curtain-raising Dante Festival at York Racecourse.

The five-year-old mare lit up the opening day of the Knavesmire season 12 months ago when she sped to success in the £150,000 Group 2 contest.

However, Azure Blue made only one further start in 2023, finishing sixth of eight behind Shaquille in the Group 1 Pertemps Network July Cup, at Newmarket.

Dods, who trains at Piercebridge near Darlington, said: “She had a bit of a setback with her feet and then she had ulcers, which finished her early. She seems fine now. Obviously, it’s a long time since she last ran but we’re happy with her.

“Unless we have any problems between now and next week, the plan is to definitely come to York. We probably could have done with another few weeks before the race, but it is the right race to set her off in. Whatever she does there, she will come on a lot for the run.

“We’ve been quite easy on her, but she looks great. Paul Mulrennan sat on her yesterday and was pleased with her. She is where we want her to start, but there’s a lot of improvement after the race.”

Dods, who is expecting to give Azure Blue a further piece of fast work on Saturday, is looking forward to having the speedster back in action for 2024.

He added: “We think we’ve sorted her feet out and everything else. As I say, she’ll probably be a bit fat inside and probably will need the run.

“We’re hopeful and we even wouldn’t be surprised if, at some stage this season, she does come back to five furlongs.”

Dods also had the third in last year’s renewal of the 1895 Duke of York Clipper Stakes, in the shape of Commanche Falls.

Now seven, the evergreen gelding is poised for another crack at the six-furlong Knavesmire test. He made his seasonal bow in the Group 3 Abernant Stakes at Newmarket last month when he finished mid-division, beaten just over four lengths.

Dods said: “Commanche Falls ran well in the race last year. At the moment, he would definitely be running as well.”

A total of 15 horses stood their ground at the latest confirmation stage for the race. Among a cluster of intriguing potential runners are Abernant Stakes first and second, Washington Heights and Mill Stream.

Thirteen fillies make up the initial entry for the £130,000 Group 3 Tattersalls Musidora Stakes. They include John & Thady Gosden’s unbeaten Friendly Soul, who landed the Pretty Polly Stakes at Newmarket on Sunday, the Clarehaven operation have won six of the last eight renewals. Also based in Newmarket is last season’s Group 1 Fillies’ Mile fourth, Classical Song, one of three entries for Ralph Beckett. The extended mile and a quarter race is always a key pointer towards the Betfred Oaks, staged at Epsom on the final day of this month, with Souls Sister in 2023 becoming the eighth filly to do the double.

The three-day Dante Festival starts on Wednesday 15 May with the 2.15pm Sky Bet Race to the Ebor Jorvik Handicap.