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Dante Festival horses are coming ...

Chilean hots up ahead of the Dante

9 April

The showpiece of the Dante Festival has been given as the next target for the progressive Chilean, from Martyn Meade’s Wilshire Yard.

Perhaps a little disappointing in top company last autumn, the now three year old secured black type with victory in the Group Three Prix La Force at the newly re opened and renamed Paris Longchamp racecourse in early April.

The relatively new Master of the historic Manton estate, reflected on the continental triumph saying, “We’ve been thinking about the Dante and the [Group One] Prix du Jockey Club [in June] and I think he’s earned his place in one of those better races now. I think realistically the Dante is the next possible race.”

The £165,000 contest is set for Thursday 17 May.

Betfred Dante Stakes entry full of leading Derby prospects

4 April

Favourite for the Investec Derby, Saxon Warrior, heads an 83-strong entry for the £165,000 Betfred Dante Stakes which will staged at York on Thursday 17 May.
His trainer, Aidan O’Brien. is a four time winner and has entered twenty colts in this prestigious Group 2, landed in the past by ten subsequent Investec Derby winners. Golden Horn was the last horse to complete the York-Epsom double, in 2015.
Ballydoyle inmate Saxon Warrior, victorious in the Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster, is one of two Group 1 winners in the entry for the extended mile and a quarter race. The other is also trained over the Irish Sea, this time by Jim Bolger, Verbal Dexterity was the very impressive winner of the National Stakes by three and a half lengths last September.

In all, the top ten from the Derby betting feature in the entry for the Betfred Dante Stakes.

As well as those that made their mark as two-year-olds in 2017, the Betfred Dante entry holds some unexposed types. One such horse is the Harry Dunlop-trained, Knight To Behold, winner of a maiden at Newmarket on just his second start last October.
Owned by Neil Jones, Knight To Behold is a son of Sea The Stars from the family of St Leger winner, Millenary. He is bred for the part, with his sire having won the Juddmonte International over course and distance. His trainer is optimistic that he can step up to the mark this season. Lambourn-based Dunlop said: “Knight To Behold has wintered well. He went to Kempton for a racecourse gallop the other day and I was very pleased with him.
“The plan is to start at Newbury on April 20 in a mile and a quarter conditions race and if it goes well, the Dante is a race we shall consider.
“It is a long way off but we have always liked him. He ran two very good races at two, finishing second at Newbury (in the Haynes, Hanson and Clark Conditions race) before winning at Newmarket. He is bred for the trip so fingers crossed.”
Last year there was a Yorkshire winner of the race with the ill-fated Permian victorious for Middleham-based trainer Mark Johnston. This time, Johnston has entered three including the unbeaten colt Elarqam. A son of Frankel and Classic heroine Attraction, Elarqam won the Judith Marshall Memorial British EBF Novice Stakes over seven furlongs at York before taking the Group 3 Somerville Tattersalls Stakes at Newmarket.

Another unbeaten Yorkshire challenger is Group 3 Tattersalls Acomb Stakes winner is Wells Farhh Go who represents trainer Tim Easterby’s Habton Grange stable.

The Betfred Dante Festival runs from Wednesday 16 May 16 to Friday 18 May inclusively.

Full list of entries for the Betfred Dante to be run at York on Thursday 17 May:
Al Muffrih, Amedeo Modigliani, Argentello, Arthurian Fame, Ayutthaya, Bartholomeu Dias, Bedouin's Story, Bombyx, Caradoc, Chilean, Christopher Robin, Crossed Baton, Dee Ex Bee, Deja, Delano Roosevelt, Deyaarna, Elarqam, Elector, Extra Elusive, Fajjaj, Family Tree, Flag of Honour, Full Moon, Gardens of Babylon, Ghaiyyath, Global Conqueror, Glorious Journey, Graffiti Master, Gustav Klimt, Herculean, Hey Gaman, Highbrow, House Edge, Howman, Hunting Horn, Iconic Sunset, Ispolini, James Cook, Jetstream, Kenya, Kew Gardens, King And Empire, Knight To Behold, Latrobe, Liscannor Bay, Loveisili, Loxley, Loyal Promise, Major Partnership, Marechal Ney, Masar, Merlin Magic, Mildenberger, Military Law, Morning Wonder, Mount Ararat, Nelson, Nordic Lights, Occupy, Orange Suit, Perfect Illusion, Photographer, Proschema, Roaring Lion, Rostropovich, Saxon Warrior, Sevenna Star, Shareef Star, Sharja Silk, Sir Erec, Stephensons Rocket, Surya, Theobald, The Pentagon, Threeandfourpence, Verbal Dexterity, Wadilsafa, Wafy, Wax And Wane, Wells Farhh Go, White Mocha, Without Parole, Zabriskie.

Enable the star name in Betfred Middleton Stakes entry

Duke of York Clipper Logistics Stakes entry up by 12

4 April

BRILLIANT filly Enable is the stand-out entry among sixteen nominated for the Betfred Middleton Stakes, which will be run at York on Thursday, May 17.

Prince Khalid Abdullah’s four-year-old swept all before her last season, winning five successive Group 1s that included the Darley Yorkshire Oaks on the Knavesmire.

Enable’s trainer, John Gosden, has also entered Coronet, who finished second in the Darley Yorkshire Oaks. Two other trainers are also doubly represented at the initial stage with Sir Michael Stoute having nominated another in the Juddmonte colours in Mori alongside Smart Call. Henry Candy has entered Chain Of Daisies and Uele River in the £125,000 Group 2 contest.

Chain Of Daisies has seven wins from seventeen starts, including a 2016 Group 3 success in at Windsor where she headed Ulysses, the Juddmonte International victor. Now six, she has been a consistent and classy mare who perhaps slips under the radar.

Candy said: “Nobody takes much notice of her, luckily!”

All being well either Chain Of Daisies or Listed winner, Uele River, will run in the extended mile and a quarter race at York. Both are well suited by the trip, while favouring different types of ground.
Candy added: “Chain Of Daisies is entirely ground dependent. If the ground isn’t fast she definitely wouldn’t run. Uele River is quite happy with a bit of cut in the ground.

“Chain Of Daisies is just starting to think about it but I haven’t done very much with her because she hates this cold and wet weather.”

Candy also provided an update on stable star, Limato, who has been given an entry in the Duke of York Clipper Logistics Stakes. The six-furlong Group 2, scheduled for Wednesday 16 May has attracted forty-eight entries – a dozen more than last year.

Two-time Group 1 winner Limato has been included in the race by connections but the versatile six-year-old gelding may well contest the one-mile Lockinge Stakes at Newbury the following Saturday (May 19).

Candy said: “He seems to be in great form, so we are very much looking forward to the year.

“He has grown again and would weigh a lot more – he has enjoyed his winter off this year. Last year he was on his travels and it took him a while to get over it.

“The plan would be, ideally, to go over a mile this year. So the entry at York is in case ground at Newbury was soft and York’s ground was good.”

Other interesting entries in the Duke of York Clipper Logistics Stakes include two-time Group 1 hero Harry Angel and the last two winners of the race – Tasleet (2017) and Magical Memory (2016). Last season’s Al Basti Equiworld Gimcrack Stakes scorer, Sands of Mali, is one of twelve three-year-olds that have been entered. 
Full list of entries for THE BETFRED MIDDLETON STAKES (Group 2) at YORK on Thursday 17 May
Beautiful Morning, Chain of Daisies, Coronet, Enable, God Given, Horseplay, Indian Blessing, Mori, Smart Call, Star Rock, Tisbutadream, Titi Makfi, Tocco d'Amore, Turret Rocks, Uele River, What A Home

Full list of entries for THE DUKE OF YORK CLIPPER LOGISTICS STAKES (Group 2) at YORK on Wednesday 16 May
Ardhoomey , Artistica, Brando, Cardsharp,  Comicas, Cox Bazar, D'Bai,Declarationofpeace, Donjuan Triumphant, Dream of Dreams, Dreamfield ,Fleet Review, Gifted Master, Harry Angel, Intelligence Cross, Invincible Army, James Garfield Juliet Capulet, Lancelot du Lac, Limato , Magical Memory , Makzeem , Medicine Jack,  Mobsta , Mojito, Mubtasim, Murillo, Naadirr, Ornate, Perfect Pasture, Projection, Razzmataz, Rimini, Sands of Mali, Second Thought,  Sioux Nation, Sir Dancealot, Smash Williams, Son of Rest, Speak In Colours, Spirit of Valor, Tasleet , The Tin Man, Threading , Tommy Taylor, Tupi, Ultimate Avenue ,Washington DC.

Yorkshire Cup on Watson's radar for Brandon Castle

4 April

TRAINER Archie Watson has made a terrific start to 2018 and his multiple winner Brandon Castle is one of 27 entries for the Group 2 Yorkshire Cup, which will take place at York on Friday 18 May.

The son of Dylan Thomas, who carries the colours of owner Chris Hirst, has enjoyed a meteoric rise since joining Lambourn-based Watson last summer.

The six-year-old has triumphed six times for Watson, most recently when taking the £100,000 Queen’s Cup at Musselburgh last Saturday.

The upwardly mobile stayer mastered his rivals from the front that day and Watson is optimistic that he can make his mark in Pattern race company this season.

Watson, who has already trained 25 winners this year, said: “I think he has improved 37lb since we got him and he continues to progress.

“It helps that he absolutely loves deep ground and when he gets these conditions it makes it hard for the others to peg him back.

“Because of his running style, I think the smaller fields of these races will suit him more than big-field handicaps where there is always something to take him on.

“The plan is to go to the Further Flight at Nottingham and if that goes well then the race (Yorkshire Cup) would definitely be on the radar.”

Stradivarius could be one of the top staying prospects for the 2018 campaign and he is one of three entries in the mile-and-six-furlong Yorkshire Cup made by trainer John Gosden.

The Group 1 Goodwood Cup hero is joined by Clarehaven stable-mates Muntahaa and Weekender in the £165,000 race.

Godolphin are also well represented in the entry through Frontiersman, Rare Rhythm, Red Galileo and Twilight Payment.

Three of that quartet ran last Saturday at Meydan in the Dubai Gold Cup in which Rare Rhythm was third, Frontiersman fourth and Red Galileo sixth behind three-time winner of that race, Vazirabad.

Wicklow Brave, now nine, could make his third visit to York for trainer Willie Mullins. He finished second in the 2015  Ebor and third in the following season’s Weatherbys Hamilton Lonsdale Cup.

New this season, the Yorkshire Cup forms part of the Weatherbys Hamilton £1 million bonus, a series of races that seek to promote and reward the stayers division.
Full list of entries for THE YORKSHIRE CUP (Group 2) (British Champions Series) to be run at YORK on Friday 18 May
Desert Skyline, Brandon Castle, Call To Mind, Clever Cookie, Count Octave, Dal Harraild, Danehill Kodiac, Duretto, Frontiersman, Idaho, Lord Yeats, Marmelo, Max Dynamite, Montaly, Muntahaa , On To Victory, Rare Rhythm, Red Galileo, Red Verdon, Stradivarius, Time To Study, Torcedor, Twilight Payment, Weekender, Wicklow Brave, Dance The Dream, Moonrise Landing.