Dante preview

Wed 16th May 2018, 11:44

photoJames Cook will be ridden by Ryan Moore
©Healy Racing Photos
Aidan O’Brien fires a twin assault as he bids to win the Betfred Dante Stakes for a fifth time at York on Thursday.

It is 20 years since the Ballydoyle handler first claimed the recognised Derby trial with Saratoga Springs and eight years since he last won the race with Cape Blanco.

This time he is doubly represented by James Cook, the mount of Ryan Moore, and Zabriskie, who finished fourth and sixth respectively in the Blue Riband Trial at Epsom last month.

“We’re going to the Dante with the two horses that ran in Epsom’s trial,” said O’Brien.

“We’ll see whether they’ve progressed and whether they’ve gone forwards or backwards.

“We’ll give them the chance (to book their ticket for Epsom). We’ll hold back some horses for Ascot, but obviously the Derby is the race everyone will be looking at.

“We have Saxon Warrior, but we need to have back-ups in case things don’t work out like we hope.”

Tim Easterby admits connections have had to resist “a few offers” for Wells Farhh Go.

The son of Farhh arrives unbeaten having claimed the Acomb Stakes on the second of two outings last season, beating the classy James Garfield in the process.

Easterby, who trains at Habton Grange near Malton, feels stamina will be Wells Farhh Go’s strong suit this term and expects him to improve when really upped in trip.

He said: “He wants a mile and a half really.

“He is in good form. I’m very happy with how he looks. Basically, it’s his first run of the season and a stepping stone to the future.

“I never worry about them getting beaten. If you worry about them getting beaten you never run them.

“I’m looking forward to it. He’s an exciting horse to have and we’ve had a few offers we’ve had to resist.

“He’s a very adaptable horse — I can’t see any track bothering him. He’s a big, rangy horse and he will improve as the season goes along.”

Wells Farhh Go was added to the Derby field at the second entry stage and asked if the Classic was on his mind, Easterby said: “Oh yes, definitely. He is also in the French Derby. But the Leger might be more of a race for him.”

Runners trained in Yorkshire have won three of the last five renewals and Mark Johnston, who claimed the prize last year with Permian, fields Mildenberger this time.

Gosden has two contenders this year, Crossed Baton, winner of the Epsom trial, and Roaring Lion.

Crossed Baton is owned by Khalid Abdullah and his racing manager Teddy Grimthorpe said: “He made all at Epsom which is never an easy thing to do there, so we thought he deserved a chance in a trial and this is the best one.

“His form is fairly solid throughout — interestingly he was behind Roaring Lion in a maiden at Newmarket.

“He looks like he should stay a mile and a half and this will give us a good idea. We’re looking forward to running him.”

Roaring Lion was beaten just a neck by Saxon Warrior in last season’s Racing Post Trophy, but he has been beaten in two starts so far this tern, finishing third in the Craven and fifth in the 2000 Guineas.

Oisin Murphy, who rides for owners Qatar Racing, told At The Races: “His run in the Guineas was a huge improvement on his Craven run and Mr Gosden says he’s in good form, so we’re looking forward to him.

“He’s bred to stay.”

Elliott stable back tomorrow

Trainer Gordon Elliott has declared three horses at Clonmel tomorrow which will be the stable's first runners since May 4th.

THE IRISH TIMES