Dante Stakes 2018 Preview

white mocha.jpg
White Mocha (far side) is bred to stay.

By Samantha (16/5/18)

Grade- Group Two

Distance- 1m2f

Course- York

Prize Fund- £93,572 (1st place)

The Dante is a race buried in history. It is, by some people, judged as the best trial for the Derby. Last year’s winner was a horse called Permian. He won this by three quarters of a length but couldn’t do the Dante-Derby double as he finished tenth in the Epsom showpiece. He later went on to win the King Edward VII Stakes but then collapsed and died when racing in America. It was a brilliant renewal of the Dante in 2017 as the third horse, Benbatl, went on to be extremely successful both in the UK and Dubai afterwards. Behind him was St Leger second Crystal Ocean, Melbourne Cup winner Rekindling and Forest Ranger who won a Group Two at Chester last week. It is a tough feat to do the Dante-Derby double and only four horses have done it since 2000. This race can offer some big race hints for the season to come.

Mark Johnston trained Permian to win this and he has his half brother Mildenberger in this. The Teofilo colt has won four of his six starts, including two Listed races. We have seen him run once as a three year old and that was when he won the Feilden Stakes by half a length at Newmarket in April. On his fiunal two year old start, he was third in the Royal Lodge behind Roaring Lion and that is decent form. He win have to deal with a step up in trip but he stayed on well in the finish last time out so the extra one furlong won’t be an issue.

It is likely that Mildenberger will reverse the running with Roaring Lion who hasn’t shown any of the form he showed as a two year old this year. The latter was unbeaten in all bar one of his races, when he was behind Derby favourite Saxon Warrior in the Racing Post Trophy, going into his second season racing. On his three year old debut, he was a disappointing third in the Craven behind Masar and White Mocha, who stayed on to deny him second place but he definitely needed that race. He looked quite plain in the Parade Ring and never looked to be enjoying it. Then he went to the 2000 Guineas and came fifth. This is a step up in trip for him and connections will be hoping he returns to form in this but it isn’t likely that he will stay as his dam only won over a mile. Despite being by Kitten’s Joy, a twelve furlong winner, he has never looked as if he would stay the extra two furlongs.



White Mocha hasn’t been seen since staying on over a mile in the Craven to make late headway in a very eye-catching fashion. He won two of his two year old starts and in his most recent of those, he beat Knight To Behold, who has won twice since, one of which was the Lingfield Derby Trial. Hugo Palmer’s colt does have a Derby entry so connections must think he isn’t without a chance. He is by Lope De Vega out of a two mile one furlong winner so he will definitely stay and the step up in trip will definitely suit and he is a good each-way contender.

James Cook is by Derby winner Galileo so he should stay this trip despite not impressing last time out over today’s trip behind Crossed Baton at Epsom with stable mate Zabriskie in sixth. He has a fabulous pedigree being a full brother to Found and Group Three winner Magical Dream. He isn’t and probably won’t be as good as Found but she got better as she progressed so he could do the same.

Crossed Baton was over three lengths ahead of James Cook over a mile two in the Listed Derby Trial at Epsom. The horse is a son of Dansili and ran twice as a two year old. He was sixth on his debut behind Roaring Lion and then won his maiden in September. He came back as a three year old and won a class five novice stakes and then took a step up in class in his stride when he won last time out. The fact that he is proven over the trip boosts his chances and he is one of just two distance winners in the line up.

The other is Godolphin’s Nordic Heights. He made his debut over this trip at Lingfield in March, after not running as a two year old, and won that by a length. He then followed that up with a Novice Stakes win on turf at Newmarket by two lengths. This is a huge step up in grade for him but he has a nice pedigree being by Intello, who has his first three year old crop running this season which includes Young Rascal who has a good chance in the Derby, and Listed race winner Marika. He is an unknown quantity in this.

Wells Farhh Go seems to be too. He has ran twice, both at York, and he won both including the Acomb Stakes, beating Greenham winner James Garfield. He is making his three year old debut in this and has a step up in trip to deal with. His dam has had jumps winners in the past over two miles and further so he won’t be lacking stamina as she has won over this trip as well.

Zabriskie is by Frankel and it’s hard to know whether he has a chance or he is just a pacemaker and Merlin Magic won a handicap last time out so will have to step up. Both will need a huge improvement to take this.


WHITE MOCHA looks a very progressive type and I was really taken by the way he stayed on in the Craven and he will love the longer trip. Crossed Baton’s chances are hard to ignore and Wells Farhh Go could be anything and I know that connections are very hopeful of a good run.

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