IT should be JAPAN easy in the Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Dante Stakes.
Aidan O’Brien has dominated the Derby trials and I expect that to continue.
1.50 YORK: EEH BAH GUM should keep the York locals happy. Tim Easterby’s speedster got a great record over 5f on fast ground and he notched up the last of his five wins last season over today’s course and distance.
It’s easy to forgive his below-par effort when well beaten behind Saaheq at Musselburgh as it was his first run of the year and he was poorly drawn.
Saaheq showed good pace to win that race last month and he should run well if stall one does not cause him problems.
Copper Knight – a stablemate of my fancy – was only just caught close home at Chester last week. He likes this track but might be a few pounds too high in the weights. Progressive Cowboy Soldier is more of a worry.
2.10 SALISBURY: You’ll not see nothing like the mighty Quin. QUINTADA beat Oaks fancy Mehdaayih on her debut at Doncaster last season.
Softer ground blunted her a bit in two subsequent starts and she should get her own way out in front today. It’s always dangerous to give one of Mark Johnston’s runners that sort of advantage.
Baba Ghanouj has races in her. She was held up in a slowly-run race on her return and it might be a similar story today.
2.25 YORK: LAH TI DAR will show her brother how it’s done in the Middleton Stakes. Her little bro Too Darn Hot goes in the Dante so it could be a great day for one for the Lloyd-Webber’s fine family.
Lah Ti Dar completed a hat-trick of wins with a stunning ten-length victory over slightly further at this track in August.
She went on to finish runner-up in the St Leger and the fillies’ Group 1 on Champions Day at Ascot. I’m sure she’s in for a good season and this looks an ideal starting point.
Rawdaa is sure to improve for her Kempton comeback. She looks the main danger.
3.00 YORK: JAPAN should add to Aidan O’Brien’s all-powerful Derby squad in the Al Basti Dante Stakes.
Not only has O’Brien dominated the trials for the Epsom Classic over the last week, incredibly, not a single horse from another stable has finished in front of any of his runners.
That points to Japan in a major way. He finished last season with victory in the Group 2 Beresford Stakes at Naas – a race won by Saxon Warrior and Sea The Stars in previous years.
Too Darn Hot was the star two-year-old last season with his Dewhurst success the last of four wins. He missed the 2000 Guineas through injury and this race comes just 12 days later.
Breeders’ Cup winner Line Of Duty is best of the rest.
1.50 York – Eeh Bah Gum (Click here to see the best odds)
2.10 Salisbury – Quintada (Click here to see the best odds)
2.25 York – Lah Ti Dah (Click here to see the best odds)
3.00 York – Japan (Click here to see the best odds)
3.35 York – Bless Him (Click here to see the best odds)
3.35 YORK: Take a chance on BLESS HIM. He looked like he could develop into a Group performer when landing the Britannia at Royal Ascot a couple of years ago.
It didn’t really happen for him last season but it means he’s slipped in the weights. He’s also been gelded over the winter and the likely fast pace will suit his hold-up style.
Newmarket winner Beringer will also be helped if they go off fast, which looks on the cards with Love Dreams, Mutafani and Plutonian among those happiest when setting the pace.
Escobar has a race like this in him when things fall kindly.
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