Dante Race is ‘Too Darn Hot’ for Favourite at York
The May meeting at York is always a meeting when owners, trainers and punters alike are more able to see how realistic their chances are in the big two at Epsom in early June. (Derby and Oaks) This year, particularly is no exception. The Dante Stakes looks to be the best race of the year so far in the UK with both Too Darn Hot for John Gosden and Japan for Aiden O’Brian lining up for the big trial race on day two of the meeting.
Too Darn Hot was beaten into second place despite a valiant effort to overcome Telecaster, the winner. A little on his toes before the race, Too Darn Hot was running his first race as a three year old and attempting to keep his unbeaten record as Champion two year old. The race was run at a
quick pace on the perfect racing surface. The pace maker Turgenev made a strong pace with the winner Telecaster, trained by Hughie Morrison and ridden by Oisin Murphy keeping very close. The pair went out about six lengths at one stage in the lead. In the straight, the field came back to these two, and Frankie Dettori tried as he might to get on terms, just failed at the line. Afterwards he said that Too Darn Hot did not have the necessary stamina to complete the race. Trainer John Gosden said that the horse would now not go to the Epsom Derby and aimed at the St James Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot instead, as he clearly does not have the stamina to go much beyond a mile. the third horse home was Surfman, yet another Kingman off-spring from the stallion who seems to be able to do no wrong at present! Japan, the O’Brien hot shot from Ballydoyle, drifted badly in the betting before the race which was strange in itself, and when it came to the race, the Galileo colt just simply didn’t seem to fire.
Telecaster’s connections were delighted and will now consider whether to pay the £85,000 to supplement him for the Derby. Telecaster is by New Approach and out of Shirocco Star, herself second in the Oaks. Telecaster was bred and is still owned by The Meon Valley Stud, racing under the name of Castle Down Racing.
Day one of this three day meeting, on good to firm ground, saw two group races. The Duke of York stakes a six furlong contest featuring ten runners. There were joint favourites at the off, Invincible Army and Yafta. This race was altogether considered a weak renewal. The winner was Invincible Army who ran out an easy winner, giving his trainer, James Tate his biggest winner so far in his eight year training career. Invincible Army beat Major Jumbo into second place and co favourite Yafta into third. The victory must have been particularly satisfying for the connections as the horse comfortably beat the well known Henry Candy group one winner, Limato,
The second group contest of the day was the Musidora Stakes, named after the dual classic winner of the 1949 1000 guineas and Epsom Oaks. As the ten runners walked across the Knavesmire, the stables at York being some way away from the paddock, it was striking just how calm all the young fillies appeared. This race had some interesting runners. John Gosden had two, the French bred and favourite for the race, Sparkle Roll; and Entitle, a half sister to the wonderful Enable. Other notable runners with useful two year old careers behind them were the William Haggas trained Frankellina, reputed to be a bit of a hot head, but nevertheless, a useful daughter of the great Frankel, and also the Roger Varian trained Nausha, by the sire of the moment Kingman.
The result left everyone rather in the dark as to the future prospects of the runners. Sparkle Roll was well beaten, particularly disappointing, and there was a dead heat for second place between Entitle and Frankellina. The winner was a surprise, Nausha ridden by Andrea Atzeni, a 14/1 shot. The win was very surprising as the horse had recently flopped badly at a prep race at Kempton a few days before this race. Perhaps everyone had ruled out the Kingman factor, a stallion who apparently can do no wrong at the moment? Roger Varian said afterwards “If she hadn’t run at Kempton we would have really fancied her today because we loved her last year. She won her only start and we dipped our toe in over a mile to see if she might be a Guineas filly of some description. In hindsight, I don’t think she’d come to herself – she raced too fresh and Kempton was a non-event. We put a line through it and trained her for one of the Oaks trials.”
The trainers of Frankellina and Entitle have both to make up their minds whether to run either filly in the Epsom Oaks. John Gosden rather expects that Entitle will go straight to Royal Ascot and the Ribblesdale Stakes.