Eight exciting prospects will head to post for the Group Two feature at York on Thursday. Watch vital race replays plus read Harry Allwood’s verdict on all the contenders.
The Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Dante Stakes takes centre stage at York on Thursday and the unbeaten Too Darn Hot makes his eagerly-anticipated return to the track after suffering a setback at the beginning of the season which ruled him out of the Qipco 2000 Guineas.
The ten-furlong contest is a trial for the Investec Derby at Epsom on June 1 and John Gosden is hoping Too Darn Hot will provide answers as to where he should aim his youngster.
Despite his recent issues, the son of Dubawi is still the hot favourite to provide Gosden with his fifth victory in this race.
Two of the runners – Too Darn Hot and Line Of Duty – have already scored at the highest level and this is a strong renewal of the Dante.
Here’s a guide to all the runners plus a verdict in what is sure to be an informative affair and will have a big effect on the Derby betting.
Trainer: Sir Michael Stoute. General odds: 20-1.
500,000gns yearling who got off the mark at the second attempt when he showed a good attitude to win a 7f maiden at Sandown.
That form looks ordinary, especially compared to what some of his rivals have achieved, although a step up in trip is certain to suit this Australia colt judged by the way he shaped on those two starts, plus his breeding his suggests that too.
He is open to an abundance of improvement but will need to raise his game to trouble the main protagonists.
Trainer: Aidan O’Brien. General odds: 4-1.
Benefitted from his racecourse debut last season when landing a Listowel maiden on heavy ground before taking his form to another level when successful in a Group Two over a mile at Naas in a fast time.
This will be his first start over ten furlongs, but he was strong at the finish in his two victories and he is bred to stay at least this far.
Aidan O’Brien has won this race five times in the past and has dominated the Derby trials this season, so it would be no surprise if Japan enhanced his credentials for the blue-riband event - which he is a general 7-1 chance for – with further improvement on the cards.
3. LINE OF DUTY
Trainer: Charlie Appleby. General odds: 8-1.
Progressed nicely in five starts last season and capped a successful season when completing a hat-trick in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf. His other two wins included a Group Three at Chantilly and a valuable maiden at Goodwood.
Line Of Duty is bred to be an even better three-year-old over this trip and has stronger form next to his name compared to most of his rivals.
Charlie Appleby has been operating at a strike race of 27 per cent in the past fortnight and his son of Galileo enters calculations.
4. NAYEF ROAD
Trainer: Mark Johnston. General odds: 25-1.
Won two of his six starts last season and ended his campaign with a third-place finish in a valuable Nursery at Newmarket on his first start over this trip.
Didn’t set the world alight in any of those runs but showed what he is capable of when bolting up in a handicap over ten furlongs at headquarters under top weight on his seasonal debut.
That was an impressive performance and he looks capable of holding his own in Group company plus he remained unexposed over this distance.
However, this is a big step up in class and he is likely to find a few too good.
Trainer: Roger Varian. General odds: 11-2.
Caught the eye when third at Nottingham on his debut in October and built on that effort with a win in a maiden over a mile at the same track on his next start.
Took advantage of a good opportunity when bolting up on his first start this season on the all-weather at Newcastle over this distance, although the form is nothing to shout about.
He was impressive nonetheless though, and is a half-brother to Prix Vermeille winner Kitesurf. Fits in the “could be anything” category but this is a completely different ball game.
Trainer: Hughie Morrison. General odds: 7-1.
Nicely bred colt - out of an Oaks and Irish Oaks second - and made a promising debut at Doncaster in March when second to the exciting Bangkok who went on to win the Classic Trial at Sandown.
Proved that was no fluke when scoring by nine lengths at Windsor last time out in what looked a useful novice stakes.
Both of his starts have been over ten furlongs, so the trip will not pose a problem for him, and it would be no shock if this bright prospect was involved in the finish here with more improvement on the horizon.
7. TOO DARN HOT
Trainer: John Gosden. General odds: 5-4.
Relive Too Darn Hot's victory in the Dewhurst
Last season’s Champion European two-year-old who remained unbeaten in four starts and capped a faultless campaign when running out a hugely impressive winner of the Dewhurst Stakes.
His form is by far the strongest in this field and is certainly the one to beat, although there are a few negatives.
He has missed two intended engagements this season – the Greenham and the 2000 Guineas – and John Gosden expects his son of Dubawi to improve for the run.
Bred to stay this trip, which he tries for the first time here, although he can race keenly and showed plenty of speed as a two-year-old, especially in the Dewhurst.
However, he is still hard to oppose considering how good he looked last season and it will take a good one to beat him.
Trainer: John Gosden. General odds: 40-1.
Progressive last season when he scored in two novice stakes but came up short at Group One level in the Vertem Futurity Trophy Stakes at Doncaster in October.
Bounced back to form to finish second in a Listed contest last time out which was probably a career best.
Likely there is plenty more to come from him, but it is still hard to see him making an impact here from what he has shown so far.
Harry Allwood’s verdict:
TOO DARN HOT looked a horse with a massive future last season and his victory in the Dewhurst was seriously impressive.
It is not ideal that he has had a setback this season and has missed two of his intended targets this season, but he is a potential superstar and his rivals will have to show improved form to lower his colours.
Not very original, I’m afraid, but he is the selection.
If you are looking for an each-way alternative, then I would not put you off backing Telecaster who built on his promising debut effort to create a big impression at Windsor and his race fitness will be an advantage.
Line Of Duty should also improve for the step up in trip and is a Grade One winner. This has been the target for a while and he should be capable of making his presence felt.
1. Too Darn Hot. 2. Telecaster. 3. Line Of Duty.