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Ready for a Darn Hot Dante at York

15 May 2019

It’s been a really pleasing start to the season, but as always is the case, I wish I was doing better. Last week I posted 3 second places at Chester, if those  had been one place higher everyone would say I was flying. Such is the nature of racing, that is the way it goes. It’s a long season, and I’m giving it 100% all the way which is all I can do. This week my attention goes to York where there’s the brilliant Dante meeting, then Newbury for the Al Shaqab Lockinge on Saturday.

Last year’s Dante Stakes will live long in the memory for me, having won it in fine style on Roaring Lion, who went on to have a fabulous season thereafter. It’s a race that produces real stars of the sport and you get the feeling this one will be no different, This year’s race is one of the hottest renewals we’ve seen in a long time. It’s great for the sport to see Too Darn Hot make his seasonal reappearance back out on the track. He’s the best two-year-old we’ve seen in Europe since Frankel and it’ll be interesting to see how he goes as a three-year-old.

I ride Telecaster for Hughie Morrison in the race. I rode him at Windsor last time out where he ran out a wide margin winner, he’s certainly a very nice horse based on that evidence. He’s by Investec Derby winner New Approach so he certainly has the pedigree for this race and I’m pretty excited about him  for this season, but this is obviously a hot race. As well as Too Darn Hot, there’s also Japan who is bred to be the real deal, and also Line Of Duty who is already a Group 1 winner. It could end up being an unbelievable renewal but we will find out tomorrow.

The Matchbook Yorkshire Cup is the feature on the Friday at York, and there’s one name on everyone’s lips, the all-conquering Stradivarius. I’ve seen him at home at John Gosden’s this year, he looks in fantastic order. This has been the plan all year to start off in this race. He’s certainly the best stayer around at the moment and very much deserves to be at the top of the market at an odds on price.

He’s won his last five races at the top level and you can’t just argue with that. He’s been there and done it. My heart and head are saying that he’ll be the star of the Long Distance category again this season. If any can give him something to think about it’s Ispolini who ran a career best when finishing 2nd in Dubai, which was a huge run behind a very good Cross Counter. I think he could be involved in the finish, whether he’ll be good enough to beat John Gosden’s star is another question, though.

Unfortunately I won’t be at York to see how the race unfolds live. I’m riding a Newmarket instead. The pick of my rides there is Gumball for National Hunt trainer Philip Hobbs. I couldn’t ride him last time out at Salisbury, but I won on him on the two times before at Kempton and Lingfield. He’s a lovely horse who I hope can keep on progressing on the Flat. He’s off a mark of 90 on Friday and hopefully he can continue on an upward curve. Fast ground isn’t an issue and I’m very pleased to be back on him.

Of the others Old Red Eyes if he relaxes is handicapped to go very well in the opener and can go well if I can get him to switch off during his racing.