Dante Stakes Betting Tips & Predictions – York, Thursday 16th May 2019

Dante was the last horse trained in Yorkshire to win the Derby and it’s in his honour that this race is named. It’s the highlight event of the three day Festival of the same name at York Racecourse which reaches the midway point on Thursday.

This race serves as one of the major trials for next month’s Epsom Derby and in contention for a memorable double is Too Darn Hot. Although John Gosden is unsure whether his colt has the profile of a Derby runner, he’ll be confident that the son of Dubawi can get the job done here.

Top Tips

Too Darn Hot to win @ 11/8

Odds correct at time of writing but may have changed since. Check site for latest prices.

Race Info

Following a decent patch of dry weather, the going is set to be good on York’s track which tends to suit the long-striding galloping types. Those that can impress here are well worth keeping an eye on for the Derby in two weeks’ time. 10 Dante winners have gone on to win the big race at Epsom, the last being Golden Hon four years ago.

GoingDistanceGroupPrize MoneyRunnersEW Terms
Good 1m 2f 56y Group 2 £165,000 8 1/5 1-3

Recent Winners

Although there’s only been one winning favourite in this race since Authorized in 2007, we have seen four other champions priced at 9/2 or less in this time. Rainfall caused John Gosden to abandon his hat-trick attempt in 2017 but the 68-year-old trainer roared back to a win on his reappearance 12 months ago.

2018 Roaring Lion 3/1 John Gosden Oisin Murphy
2017 Permian 10/1 Mark Johnston Franny Norton
2016 Wings of Desire 9/1 John Gosden Frankie Dettori
2015 Golden Horn 4/1 John Gosden William Buick
2014 Libertarian 33/1 Kevin Ryan Ryan Moore

Analysis: Too Darn Hot to show Derby credentials

Sitting second top of the ante-post Derby betting is Too Darn Hot, available at a price of 4/1. Despite this, Gosden remains unconvinced that his horse has the legs for the trip, believing he’s more suited between a mile and a mile and a quarter. At the same time though, he did recognise that the colt’s full sister, Lah Ti Dar, travelled well in the St Leger so the jury remains out. How he performs here will almost certainly decide his fate and there’s plenty of reason to think he can pull through.

Too Hot for the rest

John Gosden had hoped to give Too Darn Hot a run earlier in the season but injury ruled him out of the Greenham Stakes and the 2,000 Guineas. Getting him fully fit in time for this race has been a big ask but the colt looked in good shape during a workout with Frankie Dettori last week. Some slight doubts remain over his fitness but this is built into to the price of the bay who is rated 12lbs higher than the next nearest challenger. The Dewhurst Stakes winner is yet to be tested over 12 furlongs but six of the last 12 Dante winners were making their debut at this trip.

Duty calls

Connections of Line of Duty pocketed themselves a huge £400k win at Churchill Downs in November as their chestnut colt won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf. Having already won in three separate countries, the son of Galileo looks like being quite the asset for Godolphin. He came a long way last season and further improvements can be expect here on York’s galloping track which is set to suit his running style. It’s hard to recommend him over Too Darn Hot but a sixth consecutive top two finish is well within Line of Duty’s reach.

Japan not worth a visit

Aidan O’Brien hasn’t saddled the winner in this race since 2010 and you shouldn’t back him to put an end to this run here. Strong Derby contender Japan stands as his sole entry this year but the market confidence in him appears too strong. A Beresford Stakes win to end last year’s campaign was a good result but a long way from extraordinary. His pedigree suggests he’ll impress as he moves closer towards the mile and half mark but it’s important not to assume big improvements are guaranteed.

Final Verdict: Too Darn Hot to win

This hasn’t been a race for the favourites but history does little to detract from the appeal of the unbeaten Too Darn Hot. Now reportedly fit again, the Andrew Lloyd-Webber-owned horse looks set to pick up from last season’s fantastic campaign. Line of Duty isn’t without a shout either but despite his tempting price, your faith should go in the favourite here.


York Racecourse Finishing Straight

Flat racing has an incredibly rich history. As well as looking forward to the big races to come, racing fans have a keen interest in the past and get near constant reminders of this history throughout the flat racing season.

The Dante Stakes is one such example of this. The prestigious and important Group 2 race is run every year at York and was named to pay homage to a hero of northern racing. Dante won the Coventry Stakes and Middle Park Stakes as a two-year-old to show his promise in 1944 before winning the Derby at Epsom the following year. He remains the final northern-trained horse to win the Derby and is celebrated by this contest every year.

A Field Full of Derby Hopefuls

The name of the Dante Stakes is especially apt as it is used by many trainers as a valuable trial for the Derby. In that regard, the Dante ensures that racing in the north of England remains important to the Derby given the number of horses that have won at Epsom following a win at York.

The main role of the Dante Stakes is for Derby hopefuls to prove their class over a middle distance trip. The Derby is no longer simply the second step along the way to a potential Triple Crown. It is now arguably the biggest of the three Classics for colts as the 1 mile 4 furlong trip is where the money is in terms of races and future breeding prospects. The Dante Stakes is run over two fewer furlongs but getting it done over 1 mile 2½ furlongs is a big box to tick for any horse being sent to the Derby.

In addition to the list of winners of both events below, several horses have hit the bar in both races since the inaugural Dante Stakes in 1958 so the form really is worth taking seriously.

Dual Dante Stakes & Epsom Derby Winners

Year Horse Trainer
2015 Golden Horn John Gosden
2007 Authorized Peter Chapple-Hyam
2005 Motivator Michael Bell
2004 North Light Sir Michael Stoute
1997 Benny The Dip John Gosden
1994 Erhaab John Dunlop
1987 Reference Point Henry Cecil
1986 Shahrastani Sir Michael Stoute
1978 Shirley Knights John Dunlop
1960 St Paddy Noel Murless

What Does It Take to Win the Dante Stakes?

As a Group 2 race which is a warm up for the Derby, the variables for the Dante Stakes are a little limited in as much as it is only open to three-year-olds and that all the horses carry 9st (fillies get a 3lb allowance). There is more variety in the ground which can be anything from good to firm, to good to soft towards the end of May at York. Taking the ground into consideration is always important but many of the competitors are making a step up in trip so a relatively small fraction of previous winners have won over 10 furlongs or longer.

Punters tend to have a difficult time with the Dante Stakes. Although all of the most recent winners had at least two wins on the flat and there is no realistic chance of that trend ending in the coming years, Roaring Lion’s win in 2018 was the first time a favourite had won since Authorized in 2007.

Chart Showing Number of Race Wins of the Last Ten Dante Stakes Winners

Although previous winning form is vital, such form in Group level company is not a necessity which is one reason we’ve seen winners go in at big odds of 33/1, 12/1 and 10/1 in recent years. Good luck!

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