High­est Ground looks ready to peak again for Stoute in the Dante Stakes

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Sport - By Mar­cus Army­tage

Sir Michael Stoute’s fa­mously pa­tient ap­proach to train­ing should pay a hand­some div­i­dend at York where High­est Ground, an un­beaten Frankel colt owned and bred by the Niar­chos fam­ily, can win the Al Basti Equi­world Dubai Dante Stakes today.

Tra­di­tion­ally a step­ping stone to the Derby, it is no less in­ter­est­ing com­ing five days af­ter an ex­tra­or­di­nary Clas­sic at Ep­som and, if the word on New­mar­ket High Street is any­thing to go by, High­est Ground might well be a colt ca­pa­ble of putting it up to Ser­pen­tine at a later stage of the sea­son.

The win­ner of a Le­ices­ter maiden last year, he reap­peared at Hay­dock a fort­night ago, where he beat the race-fit Wald­konig 2½ lengths in a novice over today’s trip, prompt­ing Ryan Moore, spar­ing with his praise, to be­lieve that this was a proper colt in the mak­ing.

Quite apart from the tim­ing, Stoute has been in this game far too long to sac­ri­fice a po­ten­tially smart but green and in­ex­pe­ri­enced colt on the Derby al­tar on only his third start and, hav­ing watched Satur­day’s race when Ser­pen­tine got loose, he can only have thought his de­ci­sion was vin­di­cated.

“Michael has liked him from a long way back,” said the Niar­chos fam­ily’s rac­ing man­ager, Alan Cooper. “He’s very low-key and likes to let the horses do the talk­ing. He was an im­ma­ture year­ling who has pro­gressed men­tally and phys­i­cally and Michael is hope­ful he has a nice fu­ture. He’s won his maiden, his novice and today he steps up to the big plate. It’s an as­cend­ing path but whether he gets to the top of it is a dif­fer­ent mat­ter.”

Today’s Dante is nev­er­the­less a good test for High­est Ground. Ai­dan O’Brien sends over Cor­morant, the Der­rin­stown Trial win­ner, beat­ing sub­se­quent As­cot win­ner Rus­sian Em­peror.

At New­mar­ket a big week­end for the evolv­ing rac­ing na­tion of Bahrain starts with its spon­sor­ship of a cou­ple of races, while the Bahrain­iowned Golden Horde is hot favourite for Satur­day’s July Cup.

Lord Campari is clearly one rea­son Andrea Atzeni is stay­ing in New­mar­ket rather than go­ing to York to ride Juan El­cano, and he can win the Bahrain Sir Henry Ce­cil Stakes, while Royal As­cot win­ner Tac­ti­cal can step up to six fur­longs suc­cess­fully in the Tat­ter­salls July Stakes.

Great pedi­gree: High­est Ground, a son of Frankel, de­fends his un­beaten record

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