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    Traditional goals put to the test as York's Dante Field fills up
Traditional goals put to the test as York's Dante Field fills up
Race Tests at York. Source: limerickleader.ie

Traditional goals put to the test as York's Dante Field fills up

On Thursday at York, a number of significant race goals will be put to the test in the Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Dante Stakes.

Of the seven planned starters, all but two have the Betfred Derby engagement. Ancient Wisdom, trained by Charlie Appleby, is the shortest in the ante-post odds for Epsom.

After Notable Speech won the 2000 Guineas, he represented the Charlie Appleby yard that is already on the Classic scoreboard this season. He was a Group One winner in his juvenile year from the Futurity Trophy, a race that is going well.

Though the Dubawi colt is well-proven and easy on the ground, the handler at Moulton Paddocks did say earlier in the week that the ground will determine his participation.

Similar to Appleby, Roger Varian, a trainer from Newmarket, has also seen Classic success in the early 2024 exchanges, as Elmalka won the 1000 Guineas. Al Musmak, who might purchase his ticket to Epsom or the French equivalent at Chantilly, is an intriguing contender for the Knavesmire honours.

He was behind Ancient Wisdom when he finished second to Rosallion, the 2000 Guineas runner-up, at Ascot. He concluded his two-year campaign with a strong showing, coming in second behind Ghostwriter in the Royal Lodge, a form not let down by the Guineas winner.

Varian said: “I’m looking forward to running him and he’s slightly under the radar but his two-year-old form is very strong. He finished second to Rosallion at Ascot and that form reads very well. Ancient Wisdom and Roger Teal’s horse (Dancing Gemini) were both in behind that day and that Pat Eddery Stakes reads like a really nice piece of form. He backed that up by winning the Ascendant Stakes and he won that convincingly on the line. The second, third and fourth that day came second, third and fourth in the Derby trial at Sandown so that reads well and I would say his Royal Lodge second reads well. He’s a solid horse, he’s wintered well and we’ve been patient with him. This has always been his target and we think 10 furlongs at a track like York will suit him. I think how he runs will point us in a direction. He’s in the French Derby, he’s in at Epsom and he will have Royal Ascot options. I think he’s a nice colt, with a good profile, who should run a good race.”

Karl Burke's Caviar Heights, who improved on a positive resurgence in the Feilden Stakes before making a swift return to the Rowley Mile for the Newmarket Stakes, is also seeking to keep the flames of Classic ambitions blazing.

Only 13 days have passed since that remarkable four-length triumph, but the Spigot Lodge handler was reluctant to miss the chance to further the son of Sea The Stars' resume on the Knavesmire, especially as owner Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum had endorsed the Dante attempt.

The Derby favourite, City of Troy, is kept in Aidan O'Brien's Ballydoyle yard. Cambridge is not in the main Classic, but he has been supplemented for it after placing fourth in the Craven.

Both John and Thady Gosden's God's Window and Owen Burrows' War Rooms have already been put through trials this year, and they both hope to see improvements in Yorkshire.

William Haggas, who lost his maiden status last month, sends Economics to the best track in his native county on a fact-finding expedition.

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