No Daunting Task For Hobbs In Dante
With next month’s Derby picture still unclear, Thursday’s Group 2 Dante Stakes at York (3.15) should present a clearer picture,
especially as three of the leading fancies line-up here, namely Jack Hobbs (5/1 for Epsom), Elm Park (8/1) and John F Kennedy (8/1).
With the above trio all set for a mouth-watering clash, this year’s renewal of the Dante looks well above par – the question is: who will come out on top?
Of the last 10 Dante winners…
9 won during their last three runs
8 came from the first four in the betting
7 won just one race
A O’Brien won it three times, Sir M Stoute twice
JFK Back From The Dead?
With Aidan O’Brien having the race three times since 2005, respect has to go to John F Kennedy (3/1), who won a Group 3 over 1m at Leopardstown last autumn, before fluffing his lines when reappearing at the same venue last month. It’s possible the colt hated the soft ground that day, and may put that behind him if the ground continues to dry out at York.
O’Brien also has the “forgotten horse”, Ol’ Man River (10/1), who ran no sort of race when last in the Guineas and is a lot better than that. By Montjeu, improvement is expected, and there have been a few big-priced winners of the Dante since 2005.
But, back to John F Kennedy, who could improve for that last outing on Thursday, but will still need to get past the 9/4 favourite, Jack Hobbs, an impressive handicap winner at Sandown last month (1m2f, good).
Hobbs Looks Special
This event obviously represents a big step up in class for Jack Hobbs but it’s interesting to note that Gosden had three handicap winners during the last three years to have won by 5l or more, and then stepped up to Group company, and all three won.
Jack Hobbs is without doubt a massive improver, and it will be a surprise if he doesn’t go close here.
Gosden also has Golden Horn entered, who is 2-2 in his short career so far, and served notice that he was a smart individual when landing a Listed event at Newmarket last month (1m1f, good to firm). The fact he also won his maiden in the mud suggests he’ll cope with conditions if good enough.
Park Up In Trip
Meanwhile, Elm Park is set to go off around the 3/1 mark, having won four of his five races last season. The last of those was the Group 1 Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster (1m, soft), a race that has thrown up plenty of smart performers down the years, and as a half-sister to a 1m3f/1m4f winner, there could be progression to come up in trip.
Should Elm Park go close on Thursday, then it’s possible Barry Hills’ Nafaqa (14/1) may not be far away, as he was only 1l behind that rival at Newmarket in September (1m, good to firm).
A truly cracking renewal, but with Jack Hobbs so impressive last month, he gets the vote to enhance his chance of heading to Epsom next.