AS Epsom Derby trials go, last year’s Dante Stakes at York was as informative as you could get. Golden Horn’s late swoop past Jack Hobbs seemed pretty impressive when it happened but the form was truly vindicated when the pair dominated flat racing’s blue riband itself a few weeks later.
This year’s trials have been a bit of a muddle and have yet to throw up a stellar candidate or an outstanding performance. US Army Ranger and Moonlight Magic were workmanlike at best with the promise of more to come while Midterm was equally professional in Sandown’s Classic Trial. So are we going to see another Golden Horn emerge in this years Dante Stakes?
BLACK SEA: Was given a peach by Ryan Moore to win the 2,000 Guineas trial at Leopardstown on soft ground. He will appreciate the better surface and the extra 2f and looks overpriced at around 16/1. Each-way possibilities.
CHOREOGRAPHER: Won his maiden easily enough at Windsor but will have to step up massively on that. Not entered in the Derby but clearly highly regarded to be allowed to take his chance here.
DEAUVILLE: A full brother to The Corsican, Aidan O’Brien blamed the soft ground for his flop in the Racing Post Trophy. Second to Foundation in the Royal Lodge, there should not be much between the pair. Ryan Moore is a huge plus in the saddle.
FOUNDATION: Second to Stormy Antarctic in the Craven at Newmarket, this is D-day for this likeable son of Zoffany who promised so much as a juvenile. He has to deliver today and the extra 2f should suit him.
HARRISON: It would be a huge shock if Silvestre de Sousa can coax this one to victory. Looks outclassed.
KENTUCKYCONNECTION: Fifth in the 2000 Guineas at 100/1 Bryan Smart thinks he will relish the extra 2f. He is available at 33-1 which looks far too big and an attractive each-way price.
MIDTERM: The hot favourite and the apple of Sir Michael Stoute’s eye. He was professional if not spectacular at Sandown and if there is a Golden Horn in the field it could be this one. But 5/4 is plenty short enough for such a warm race.
MUNTAZAH: Has something to find with Foundation and Deauville on Newmarket form last year.
SEA OF FLAMES: A big step up in class but his trainer is adept at plundering a big prize on the Knavesmire.
TOP BEAK: Odds of 66/1 sum up his chance fairly.
VICTORY BOND: An unknown quantity and totally unexposed despite winning a small maiden at Ripon. The market could be a guide to his chance.
WINGS OF DESIRE: Won a Wolverhampton maiden impressively but this is a different league. In the “unexposed” camp but 5/1 looks too skinny.
Each-way Black Sea