epsom derby 2013 /
Look Towards Thursday's Dante Stakes for Late Derby Clues
Classic trials can often be overhyped with many of the victorious runners not even using the contest as a springboard to the Group One prize, however, the Dante Stakes is synonymous with unearthing Epsom Derby candidates and a cursory scan of the illustrious roll of honour emphasises the Group Two’s ability to produce Classic winners. North Light, Motivator, Authorized and Workforce all used the Knavesmire feature as a catalyst to Derby glory in the past 10 years.
As such, all eyes will be on York at 2:45 on Thursday afternoon as a host of leading three-year-old Colts will put their Derby credentials on the line, however, Sir Michael Stoute’s Telescope will not be included after the former Derby second favourite has been ruled out of the contest after picking up a niggling injury.
However, the Freemasons Lodge inmate’s scratching from the final eight declarations has left the race with an extremely wide open feel to it and there could be a pretender who propels into the Derby foreground and follow in the footsteps of the some of the greats and etch their name in the Classic roll of honour following Dante success.
Since the race was established in 1958 and named in honour of the Yorkshire-trained Dante, it has often been regarded as the premier British trial for the Epsom Classic and in almost half a century, nine winners have managed to use the race as a springboard to Derby success with Authorized being the last to achieve the coveted double in 2007.
Runaway Epsom winner Workforce was only able to finish second in the 2010 Dante but the Prince Khalid Abdullah-owned superstar produced a sensational effort to land the Derby a month later and duly thrust himself into Classic folklore, so don’t be surprised if any one of Thursday’s Dante runners can improve considerably for their York exertions and battle it out for Derby success on the 1st June.
Luca Cumani’s last minute decision to take Greatwood out of Lingfield’s Derby Trial at the weekend due to the heavy rain at the Surrey track has set up a mouth-watering duel with Windhoek, who beat him in a valuable sales race at Newmarket last month and the pair are unable to be split by Bet365 who have priced the pair as 7/2 joint-favourites.
Aidan O’Brien’s Derby riches continue to grow as the likes of Ruler Of The World and Magician starred at Chester’s May meeting last week and Battle of Marengo landed the valuable Derrinstown Stud Trial at Leopardstown on Sunday. The Ballydoyle Maestro sends Indian Chief over to Yorkshire where he too will look to stake his claim for a place in O’Brien’s stellar Classic team in just over a fortnight's time.
Trading Leather will be another making the trip over from the Emerald Isle and he showed when winning the Autumn Stakes that he can land a blow in Pattern company but he struggled to deal with the class of Kingsbarns in the Racing Post Trophy and Jim Bolger will be eager to have another Epsom candidate alongside the current Derby favourite and emphatic 2000 Guineas winner Dawn Approach.
Secret Number will be looking to highlight Godolphin in a more positive light after recent events have left the 'boys in blue' filling column inches for all the wrong reasons, whilst Ghurair could be another leading challenger in a race that has Flat fans licking their lips with expectation for what is one of the most informative trials of the early part of the flat season.