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Dakota Gold 'in good nick' ahead of Group 3 bid at York

MICHAEL Dods reports that Dakota Gold is "in good nick" ahead of a tilt at a Group 3 race at York tomorrow.

The six-year-old gelding runs in the Coral Bengough Stakes over six furlongs on The Knavesmire, in preference to a conditions race at Musselburgh on Monday.

The winner of five races last season, and the listed Beverley Bullet this summer, is followed at York by two promising two-year-olds from the Denton Hall stable - Northern Express and Blackrod.

Michael weighs up their chances in his regular Weekend Preview below...

WEEKEND PREVIEW

"LAST week’s abandonment of the Ascot meeting, due to a waterlogged track, was a disappointment but congratulations to the British Horseracing Authority for rescheduling some of the races.

The reshuffle has given us some new options for DAKOTA GOLD and he goes in the Coral Bengough Stakes over six furlongs at York on Saturday.

We could have run him in a conditions race at Musselburgh on Monday but he likes York, so we’ve decided to let him take his chance in the Group 3 race.

It’s a small field but it remains a very competitive race with the likes of Stewards’ Cup winner, Summerghand, and a couple of high-class veterans in The Tin Man and Brando.

Dakota Gold is also entered in another of the re-routed Ascot races, the listed Rous Stakes, over five furlongs, at Nottingham on Wednesday. We’ll make a decision on that when we see how he comes out of the York race.

He’s in good nick, the soft ground will suit him, so we’re hoping he runs a big race.

WE then have a couple of promising two-year-olds in action in successive races on The Knavesmire…

NORTHERN EXPRESS goes first in the Coral “Racing Super Series” Nursery Handicap over a mile. He ran on well to win on his debut on soft going at Beverley (pictured below with winning jockey Paul Mulrennan after that victory) before running green on his second outing at Ayr when he was beaten by a good horse of Tim Easterby’s, giving away a penalty.

This will probably be his last run of the season and then we’ll put him away. He’s definitely a horse to look forward to as a three-year-old.

Next we have BLACKROD, running in David Armstrong’s Mabs Cross colours in the coral.co.uk Rockingham Stakes, a listed race over six furlongs.

He’s a nice big horse and will make up into a really nice three-year-old. He dwelt on his debut at Newcastle but recovered to be second to a good horse of Andrew Balding’s, Fivethousandtoone, who went on to be second in the Group Two Mill Reef Stakes at Newbury.

Blackrod then won pretty convincingly at Hamilton (see picture below) which was very pleasing. It was good to soft that day and he’s by Mayson, whose progeny tend to like some give in the ground, so the conditions shouldn’t be a problem. This is a big step up from Hamilton, and it’s another competitive race, but we think he’s a very good horse."