Saxon Warrior And Enable Handed York Options At The Dante Festival
British Horse Racing Authority Press Release
Investec Derby favourite Saxon Warrior and brilliant filly Enable are two of the potential stars on show at York next month following the initial entries for the feature events at the Dante Festival.
The popular three-day meeting runs between May 16 and May 18 and once again promises to attract some of the biggest names in the sport.
Saxon Warrior heads 83 contenders for the £165,000 Betfred Dante Stakes on Thursday, May 17.
The prestigious Group Two contest has been won by 10 subsequent Epsom Derby heroes, with Golden Horn the last horse to complete the York-Epsom double in 2015.
Racing Post Trophy winner Saxon Warrior is one of 20 colts entered in the Dante by Aidan O’Brien, who has won the race on four occasions.
Hopefuls for the home county include the Mark Johnston-trained Elarqam and Wells Farhh Go from Tim Easterby’s yard.
Enable is the standout name among 16 nominated for the Betfred Middleton Stakes on the same afternoon.
John Gosden’s charge won the Yorkshire Oaks on the Knavesmire last summer, adding to her victories in the Epsom Oaks, Irish Oaks and King George, and she rounded off her campaign by claiming Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe glory at Chantilly in October.
Gosden has also entered Coronet, Sir Michael Stoute has given the option to Mori and Smart Call, and Henry Candy has a couple of hopefuls in Chain Of Daisies and Uele River.
Candy said: “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.”
O’Brien is surprisingly not represented, but Dermot Weld’s Tocco D’Amore is an interesting potential Irish challenger.
The Candy-trained Limato is among 48 entries for the Duke of York Clipper Logistics Stakes on May 16.
However, the dual Group One winner appears more likely to contest the Lockinge Stakes at Newbury later in the week.
“He seems to be in great form, so we are very much looking forward to the year,” said the Wantage-based trainer.
“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 the ground at Newbury was soft and York’s ground was good.”
Other leading contenders for the Duke of York include Harry Angel and the last two winners of the race in Magical Memory (2016) and Tasleet (2017).
The feature event on the third and final day of the fixture is the Yorkshire Cup, which has attracted 27 entries.
Gosden’s Goodwood Cup hero Stradivarius is a leading hope, while a formidable Godolphin challenge includes Frontiersman and Rare Rhythm.
Willie Mullins has entered Max Dynamite and Wicklow Brave.
Archie Watson has made a terrific start to 2018 and could saddle his multiple winner Brandon Castle.
The six-year-old has triumphed six times for Watson, most recently when taking the £100,000 Queen’s Cup at Musselburgh last Saturday.
His trainer 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.
“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.”
The Yorkshire Cup forms part of the Weatherbys Hamilton £1 million bonus, a new series of races that seek to promote and reward the stayers’ division.