It’s the start of the Dante festival today and some of flat racings finest will be out in the Yorkshire sunshine (we hope!) for three days of ultimate horse racing.
There’s a feast of Handicaps, informative maidens, Classic trials and of course the Dante itself. The latter looks to be a larger field than normal and a lot of eyes will be on the favourite, Cracksman, who also could line up for the Derby. With that in mind, the Dante has given us six Derby winners within the last 20 years, so can be seen as a true trial for the Classic.
There’s a gamble going down on the Sir Michael Stout trained Crystal Ocean which has made the aforementioned Cracksman easy to back.
Owner Anthony Oppenheimer said about Crystal Ocean
“The opposition in the Dante looks as though it’s going to be very strong with a bigger field than you might normally expect, Godolphin are planning to send a big team to the race and I believe Sir Evelyn de Rothschild’s horse has a very good chance.”
“I wouldn’t be surprised if we don’t win at York but instead finish in the first three and then decide not to run in the Derby.”
Oppenheimer continued: “Cracksman isn’t like Golden Horn at all, in that he’s been very laid-back, although he’s now much better. I walked away from the Epsom trial only hoping he might be able to come back for the Derby.”
“I don’t feel at this stage the same as I felt about Golden Horn. Going into the Dante I didn’t think Golden Horn would stay a mile and a half in the Derby.”
“This year my worry is whether we’re good enough to be running in the Derby. I’d like to see him win the Dante before I start thinking seriously about Epsom.”
So we can assume that this year’s Dante is looking very close to helping us find the winner of the Derby.
What’re your thoughts and who will you be backing?