Tag Archive for: Dante

Economics adds up for Haggas in brilliant Dante success

Economics swept his rivals aside to record a brilliant victory in the Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Dante Stakes at York.

Winner of a mile maiden at Newbury last month, William Haggas’ twice-raced chestnut son of Night Of Thunder was always well placed under Tom Marquand in the extended 10-furlong feature.

Still moving with menace when asked to mount a challenge in the home straight, he was able to pull clear of the field and lengthened his stride to cross the line six lengths ahead of 7-4 favourite Ancient Wisdom.

Economics does not hold an entry for the Derby, for which the Dante is a key trial, and Haggas has previously stated he does not intend to add him to the mix as a supplementary entry.

Speaking from his Newmarket base in the wake of the stunning Knavesmire performance, Haggas said: “The whole point of taking him out (of the Derby) was I didn’t think it was the right track and the right race for him at this stage of his career. He’s a great big, immature horse. And I stick by that.

“I haven’t spoken on the subject to Sheikh Isa and his advisers so that might change.

“We discussed it at length when we talked about the Derby. Winning the Derby is of course everyone’s dream, we all want to win it, but it takes a type. Maybe we’re wrong and maybe after I’ve talked to His Highness he’ll say I’d like him to run in the Derby, in which case we’ll run him. But we’ll see.”

He went on: “He’s also by Night Of Thunder so although he looked like he’ll stay an extra furlong and a half, it’s not a certainty.

“It’s a win and you’re in for the Irish Derby so that could be an option for him if we wanted to go a mile and a half.”

Marquand said: “To be honest I couldn’t really believe it, I just thought he had so much to learn after Newbury. That was a mile and obviously going up on trip was always going to help.

“I popped him on the back of William (Buick, Ancient Wisdom) and he had Ryan (Moore, on Cambridge) keeping him in a bit of a pocket and that was an advantage to him as he was conserving energy and he was the one to keep an eye on.

“I went to follow Ryan and to be honest I lit his fuse to make sure I stayed on the same line and he was electric, I lit his fuse and he did it a hell of a lot faster than I anticipated and I had to take a bit of a tug to make sure I didn’t hit the front too soon – which I still managed to do.

“I think he’s a very talented horse, he’s still learning on the job as he just had a wander when he hit the front, but he’s exciting for the future.”

Haggas was represented on course by his wife and assistant, Maureen, who said of the 6-1 winner: “William has always liked him and he is a talented horse. He’s beautiful, but still a baby. We’ll see about the Derby, it’s not my department.

Economics was hugely impressive
Economics was hugely impressive (Mike Egerton/PA)

“I’m not sure he’ll stay a mile and a half, I think the more he races the more switched on he’ll become and 10 furlongs will be his best trip.

“I thought he looked a bit all over he place in the final furlong, he’s a big horse and this is just his third race. You’ve got to be switched on to go around there. It’s a big ask for any horse. He’s an inexperienced, big baby.

“The Derby is the one we all want to win, we’ve been lucky enough to win it once, but it was that long ago I’ve almost forgotten what it was like. We’d love to win it again, but we have a very nice horse and there are a lot of other nice races to win and we need to make sure he stays a nice horse and that has to be the priority.

“We took him out because we didn’t think he’d stay and I’m still not sure he would.”

The Foxes foils White Birch for Dante glory

The Foxes took a muddling Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Dante Stakes at York that left the Betfred Derby market in something of a flux.

The Andrew Balding-trained, King Power-owned Churchill colt was given a polished ride by Oisin Murphy, who was happy to sit off a well-contest pace early on from his good draw in stall two.

Liberty Lane, Killybegs Warrior and Dancing Magic helped set a decent clip, with Craven Stakes runner-up The Foxes (6-1) travelling sweetly in mid-division.

Murphy decided to switch left with a furlong to run and he quickened nicely to score by a neck from White Birch, who came from last to first under Shane Foley.

Aidan O’Brien’s Continuous was produced with a promising run but did not quite seem to get home and dead-heated for third with Sir Michael Stoute’s once-raced Passenger, who looked unlucky with jockey Richard Kingscote unable to find a gap when it mattered. He ran on well once finding daylight.

The Foxes was cut to a general 8-1 for Epsom glory.

Balding said: “He did a bit of meandering across the track. He’s a very good horse, it looked a deep Dante today.

“He’s very professional, he was the most beautiful yearling and he’s been a star to train so far.

“You’d have to think Epsom is the next step as long as you take the usual caveats into account, it comes close enough for example, but if he comes out of it well I think we’d have to give it a go.

“The way he’s hit the line there he’d give himself every chance of getting the trip, it didn’t look like he was stopping at the end there to me.

“I think the main thing is he’d give himself every chance of staying because of his demeanour.”

Balding would not be winning the premier Classic out of turn should The Foxes prevail, after recent near-misses with Khalifa Sat and Hoo Ya Mal.

He added: “We’ve gone close in the Derby a few times, but I think he’d be the best chance we’ve had going there as both Hoo Ya Mal (runner-up last year) and Khalifa Sat (second in 2020) were big prices.

“His half-brother Bangkok went there after winning this well fancied, but he ran poorly. We always thought he’d stay, but he was a real 10-furlong horse.

“I think he’ll stay as his dam got a mile and a half well.”

Murphy said: “That was fantastic. I ride for a great stable and this fella was really well prepared at home.

“He’s easy to ride, he relaxes and then he’s able to show that turn of foot. He has all the attributes of a top-quality horse.

“We didn’t go crazy, but rolled along – I hope it’s a good trial for the big races to come. I won this five years ago on Roaring Lion, and on Telecaster, and I hope it’s a good pointer to the Derby.

“I hope he’s a good Derby ride, he relaxes, he’s a beautiful mover and hopefully he’ll stay.

“He gives himself a chance of staying, but he is a fast horse. It’s exciting.”

Dubai Mile could take in 2000 Guineas on the way to Epsom

Criterium de Saint-Cloud scorer Dubai Mile has been added to the list of Derby entries, with trainer Charlie Johnston revealing he will tune up for a potential tilt at the Epsom Classic in either the Qipco 2000 Guineas or York’s Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Dante Stakes.

Although beaten on debut as a juvenile, he won his next two starts in fine style before attempting to make all in the Royal Lodge over the Guineas track and trip, going down by half a length to Andrew Balding’s The Foxes.

That earned the son of Roaring Lion a shot at Group One glory in France and he thrived for the move up to 10 furlongs on that occasion, showing plenty of class and even more grit to hold off John and Thady Gosden’s Arrest by a head and highlight his Classic claims for the forthcoming campaign.

With connections opting to pay the £9,000 stake to add Dubai Mile to the race at the second entry stage, that campaign could be centred around a Derby bid as Johnston dreams of the colt becoming a standard-bearer for the yard during his first season as the sole licence holder at Kingsley Park.

“Any two-year-old that can win at Group One level leaves you dreaming over the winter about what they could achieve during their three-year-old campaign,” said Johnston.

“He’s obviously going to be a flagship horse for us this year and one we’re going to have realistic Classic ambitions with, so we’re very much looking forward to him.

Trainer Charlie Johnston has high hopes for Dubai Mile this season
Trainer Charlie Johnston has high hopes for Dubai Mile this season (Mike Egerton/PA)

“You need these horses to compete at the highest level to put you in people’s eyes and minds going forward and he’s a big flagship horse that we need and want a big year from – hopefully he can deliver.”

Despite Dubai Mile’s finest hour coming over 10 furlongs and holding an entry for the Dante on May 18, a return to the Rowley Mile and a crack at Newmarket’s opening Classic of the summer appears the preferred option of the colt’s owner Ahmad Al Shaikh.

“The Guineas is still on the table and Ahmad is quite keen for him to go there,” continued Johnston.

“For all the Dante is a significant race and the preeminent Derby trial, this horse has already won a Group One so his CV would be enhanced more by a placed effort in the Guineas than winning the Dante.

“He was only just touched off in the Royal Lodge over the Guineas course and distance and although I’m pretty certain he’s going to come into his own over middle-distances this year, I wouldn’t rule out his prep race being in the Guineas.

“They are the best two Derby trials and it will be one of the two races for him. Being a vanquished horse in the Guineas can often be the best Derby trial you can run.”