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 usually the highlight event of the three day festival of the same name at York Racecourse, taking place at the midway point on the Thursday.
This race normally serves as one of the major trials for the following month’s Epsom Derby with North Light, Motivator, Authorized and Golden Horn all following up with a win in the June Classic since the turn of the century.
Dante Stakes Course Map
The 1m 2½f Dante Stakes starts on the part of the track opposite the winning post. They travel anti-clockwise taking two bends before moving into the home straight.
Dante Stakes Past Winners
|2023||The Foxes||6/1||Andrew Balding||Oisin Murphy|
|2022||Desert Crown||7/2||Sir Michael Stoute||Richard Kingscote|
|2021||Hurricane Lane||5/1||Charlie Appleby||William Buick|
|2020||Thunderous||13/2||Mark Johnston||Franny Norton|
|2019||Telecaster||7/1||Hughie Morrison||Oisin Murphy|
|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||The Grey Gatsby||9/1||Kevin Ryan||Ryan Moore|
|2013||Libertarian||33/1||Elaine Burke||William Buick|
|2012||Bonfire||3/1||Andrew Balding||Jimmy Fortune|
|2011||Carlton House||11/4||Sir Michael Stoute||Ryan Moore|
|2010||Cape Blanco||9/2||Aidan O'Brien||Johnny Murtagh|
|2009||Black Bear Island||12/1||Aidan O'Brien||Colm O'Donoghue|
|2008||Tartan bearer||10/1||Sir Michael Stoute||Ryan Moore|
|2007||Authorized||10/11||Peter Chapple-Hyam||Frankie Dettori|
|2006||Septimus||13/8||Aidan O'Brien||Kieren Fallon|
|2005||Motivator||Evens||Michael Bell||Johnny Murtagh|
|2004||North Light||6/1||Sir Michael Stoute||Kieren Fallon|
About the Dante Stakes
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. The 2021 Dante winner, Hurricane Lane, could only finish 3rd in that year’s Derby but made amends by claiming the Irish Derby later in the month and the St Leger at Doncaster in the September.
DUAL DANTE STAKES & EPSOM DERBY WINNERS: 1958 – 2021
|2015||Golden Horn||John Gosden||W. Buick (Dante) & F. Dettori (Derby)|
|2007||Authorized||Peter Chapple-Hyam||Frankie Dettori (both races)|
|2005||Motivator||Michael Bell||Johnny Murtagh (both races)|
|2004||North Light||Sir Michael Stoute||Kieren Fallon (both races)|
|1997||Benny The Dip||John Gosden||O. Peslier (Dante) & W. Ryan (Derby)|
|1994||Erhaab||John Dunlop||Willie Carson (both races)|
|1987||Reference Point||Henry Cecil||Steve Cauthen (both races)|
|1986||Shahrastani||Sir Michael Stoute||Walter Swinburn (both races)|
|1978||Shirley Knights||John Dunlop||Greville Starkey (both races)|
|1960||St Paddy||Noel Murless||Lester Piggott (both races)|
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 five of the last eight 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.
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!