14:30 York – Mandean to enhance Derby prospects with Dante win
The Dante remains perhaps the best trial for the Derby and Mandean looks to have lots of things in his favour to increase his chances of lining up at Epsom with victory at 7/2.
Authorized may have been the last horse in 2007 to do the Dante and Epsom Derby double, but Carlton House only lost by a length at Epsom last year having triumphed in the Group Two York showpiece.
The Dante looks tough to call this year, with at least five of the seven entrants having strong claims, but Mandean has the Group One-winning form in the bank and will definitely see out the trip.
Aidan O’Brien’s Ernest Hemingway looks the most interesting of the entrants, as he could have hardly been any more impressive on his debut when winning by ten lengths, even if it was against seemingly modest opposition.
The big negatives are that all of the last ten winners of the Dante had benefited from at least two runs and this represents his first run on turf.
Bonfire is set to go off favourite and can be considered slightly unlucky to have finished third behind 2,000 Guineas runner-up French Fifteen on his latest start.
But with this being his first run of the season , there is a strong case that he may need the run and so bets on Bonfire may be best to wait for Epsom.
Fencing will appreciate the step up to 1m2f after finding Derby favourite Camelot too strong on two occasions over a lesser 1m, although there is the doubt that he is really of the top, top class.
Ektihaam is a winner of three of his four starts, with his one flop coming in his only Group race, when last in the Dewhurst last season.
He was given an easy time of it that day after finding himself short of room and looks to have done well physically over the winter, which suggests that 11/2 is solid each-way value.
However, Mandean is unbeaten in his two starts and the fact that he is already a winner in Group One company in France is worth making note of.
Furthermore, this success came over the Dante distance of 1m2f on soft ground, which means he should have no stamina concerns.
The fact that Ernest Hemingway will provide a solid early pace will play to his strengths, while new trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni, who has acquired the horse from Andre Fabre, feels he will be suited by the firmer surface.