Desert Crown storms to top of Derby betting after Dante Stakes win

Desert Crown storms to top of Derby betting after the Sir Michael Stoute-trained colt records impressive win in the Dante Stakes at York

  • Desert Crown claimed a decisive victory in the Dante Stakes at York
  • The colt, ridden by Richard Kingscote, won by three and a quarter lengths
  • Sir Michael Stoute equalled record of the late Sir Henry Cecil with seventh win

Desert Crown spiced up a Cazoo Derby in danger of turning into an Aidan O’Brien benefit with a decisive victory in the Al Basti Equiworld Dante Stakes at York.

The Sir Michael Stoute-trained colt is now 9-4 favourite for the Epsom Classic after his three-and-a-quarter-length victory from Royal Patronage in the hands of Richard Kingscote.

Stoute had played down expectations going into trial saying the colt, whose only previously run had been his winning debut at Nottingham in November, was only just ready to step back on the track.

Sir Michael Stoute claimed seventh Dante success with Desert Crown and Richard Kingscote

But with potential physical improvement to come and almost certain further upswing when Desert Crown races over the Derby’s furlong and a half longer trip at Epsom, it was hard not to be impressed by Thursday’s performance.

Added to that is Stoute’s record of using the Dante as a stepping stone to Epsom.

He has won the trial seven times with Shahrastani (1986) and North Light (2004) going on to win the Derby, as did his 2010 Dante runner-up Workforce.

Five-time Derby winner Stoute, 76, has not had a Derby runner since 2016 but he has a big shot again.

He said: ‘I thought it was a strong Dante. I wasn’t confident because he had a minor setback late February. We had to take our time and he was only just ready to run now.

‘He travelled well and he accelerated pleasingly. He has to go there (Epsom) with a very sound chance.’

The colt owned by Saeed Suhail, who owned Stoute’s 2003 Derby winner Kris Kin, will be a second Derby ride for Kingscote, who was unplaced on Knight To Behold in 201

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