Day two of York’s May meeting and Golden Horn in 2015 was the last winner of today’s Dante Stakes – often considered the premier Derby Trial – to go on to Epsom glory although last year’s winner Roaring Lion was a top-class colt who finished third in the Derby when he failed to get home over a mile-and-a-half behind Godolphin’s Masar.
Todays’ is a quality renewal headed by last year’s champion juvenile Too Darn Hot who made it four out of four as a 2-y-o when winning the Dewhurst Stakes (7f) at Newmarket back in October. He is certainly bred to be at least as effective over this 10f trip and at 11/8 with BetVictor – 4/1 for the Derby – he is the most likely winner and the one to beat.
William Buick misses York and is currently under observation in hospital having complained of feeling unwell over the weekend. Let’s hope he makes a speedy recovery. Buick is replaced on board Line Of Duty (3.00) by James Doyle this afternoon and the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner gets the each way vote at 7/1.
Doyle was beaten on the colt when a desperately unlucky loser at Sandown on debut, but he improved with each subsequent run culminating with his Gp1 success at Churchill Downs. I’m not convinced the Derby trip of 12f will be ideal – 16/1 with BetVictor – and the colt does hold an entry back down at a mile in the Irish 2000 Guineas. This intermediate mile-and-a-quarter looks ideal.
With Ballydoyle’s Gp 2 juvenile winner Japan (4s at BetVictor) and the well supported and well regarded Surfman (9/2 at BetVictor) in the field I feel this will be a race worth following in the months to come. But the Godolphin runner each way is the suggestion.
It is a big day for Lord and Lady Lloyd-Webber as Too Darn Hot’s sister Lah Ti Dar (3.00) runner up in the St Leger last season makes her seasonal reappearance in the Middleton Stakes over an extended 10f trip, arguably, short of her best. The selection has only had the five career starts to date and her 10L Galtres Stakes win here over 12f back in August marked her down as a Group 1 horse.
John Gosden’s filly is 12/1 with BetVictor for the Coronation Cup (12f) and 10/1 for the Prince of Wales’s Stakes over todays distance at the Royal meeting next month. This looks a good starting point and at 4/7 with BetVictor I would be surprised if she didn’t make a winning return to the Knavesmire.
Beringer is only 3lbs higher than when scoring at Newmarket over a mile last time and his previous Lincoln third marks him down as an improved performer at this trip. He must go close but marginal preference goes to Bless Him (3.35) who is 18/1 with BetVictor and has been gelded since his last start. The each way selection won the Britannia Stakes at Royal Ascot two years ago, is well drawn in stall two and the hope is that he can return to something like his best form having been sold by Qatar Racing since his 4-y-old campaign.
The first 6f juvenile race of the season looks a cracker and a market move for Charlie Appleby’s Story Of Light would be worth noting given the yard have had four winners from their seven juveniles so far this season. Aidan O’Brien brings over the half-brother to Caravaggio Hong Kong and it is possible that this son of American Pharoah will be their Coventry Stakes representative at Royal Ascot next n month – again the market should provide valuable clues.
The each way vote, however, goes to When Comes Here (4.35) who ran a hugely promising race over the minimum trip on debut for Andrew Balding at Salisbury and can put that experience to good effect.
Over at Salisbury and I hope to see a much-improved effort from Baba Ghanouj (2.10) who refused to settle from a moderate early pace when disappointing at Ascot on her reappearance. The Sea The Stars filly steps up in trip to 10f this afternoon for Ed Walker and the hope is that she is more amenable to restraint today.
At Perth Get Out The Gate (2.35) must give 6lbs to Teddy Tee but I was very taken with his Ayr success on chase debut and will be very disappointed if he can’t follow up having looked a natural over the larger obstacles last time.