All the clues to find winner of the Derby trial at York
This month’s three-day Dante Festival at York gives us a chance to get some earlyseason clues ahead of the Epsom Oaks and Derby. The Musidora Stakes, which is run on Wednesday 12th May, will attract potential Oaks runners, while the Dante Stakes – run on Thursday 13th May – gives Epsom Derby hopefuls an ideal preparation race.
It’s the Dante Stakes that I’m going to take a look at in more detail.
Run over 1m2f, the Dante Stake is staged over a trip two furlongs shorter than the Epsom Derby, but still gives punters a great guide as to whether this season’s 3-year-old crop of middle-distance performers can go well on the Downs the following month.
In recent years, the race has thrown up several Derby winners. 16 of the last 18 Dante winners went on to run in the Epsom Derby. Golden Horn, in 2015, was the last horse to bag the double, while the likes of Authorized (2007), Motivator (2005) and North Light (2004) are others to have landed the Dante Stakes before going on to Epsom glory.
Let’s take a look at the key trends …………
Recent Form/Run – Being this race is run during the early part of the Flat season – if recent trends are anything to go by – then look for horses that have had a run already in this campaign - 12 of the last 18 winners had raced that season. Also note horses that won their last race, as 11 of the last 18 Dante Stakes winners were successful in their most recent race. The race often attracts horses that are stepping up in trip for the first time, too. This is backed up with only 4 of the last 18 winners having won over 1m2f in the past. I’ve already mentioned that horses with a recent run earlier in the season have done well, but, of those, look for ones that finished in the top three in their most recent race – 14 of the last 18 (78%) winners – ticked that trend.
Betting/Favourites – With only two winning favourites in the last 13 runnings, this race has not been a decent one for the layers – since 2008, only Roaring Lion (2018) has rewarded favourite backers. The average winning SP during that period is 8/1. Having said that, even though the market leaders have tended to struggle, it’s not really been a race for big-priced winners. In 2013 we saw a 33/1 winner when Libertarian took the prize, but 12 of the last 18 winners returned 8/1 or shorter in the betting.
Trainers – It’s no shock that several of the ‘big gun’ trainers have their names on the Dante roll of honour, but in the last six runnings the Mark Johnston (2) and John Gosden (3) yards have dominated with five wins between them. The Sir Michael
Stoute camp also have a cracking record in the race – with six wins in total. The last of those came in 2011 with the Queen’s Carlton House. Aidan O’Brien is another stable to respect with four wins to his name, but in more recent years the race has eluded him – the last of his four successes came eleven years ago in 2010 with Cape Blanco.
With top stables winning, it’s no shock that many leading jockeys have also graced the winners’ enclosure. Since 2007, Ryan Moore (3), Frankie Dettori (2), William Buick (2), Oisin Murphy (2) and Franny Norton (2) have won the race 11 times between them from those 14 renewals.
The final trends to note are that only one of the last 18 winners had raced at York before, so previous course experience is not essential. We’ve also not seen a winner from stall 2 in the last 18 runnings, but being a race that’s run over 1m2f, this is probably more by coincidence, rather than a rock-solid trend.
Overall, come early June this is a certainly a race to look back on when doing your homework for the Epsom Derby.
Past Dante Stakes Winners
2020 – THUNDEROUS (13/2) 2019 – TELECASTER (7/1)
2018 – ROARING LION (3/1 fav) 2017 – PERMIAN (10/1)
2016 – WINGS OF DESIRE (9/1) 2015 – GOLDEN HORN (4/1)
2014 – THE GREY GATSBY (9/1) 2013 – LIBERTARIAN (33/1)
2012 – BONFIRE (3/1)
2011 – CARLTON HOUSE (11/4)
2010 – CAPE BLANCO (9/2)
2009 – BLACK BEAR ISLAND (12/1) 2008 – TARTAN BEARER (10/1) 2007 – AUTHORIZED (10/11 fav)
Dante Stakes Trends
16/18 – Winners that went onto run in the Epsom Derby (4 won)
14/18 – Finished third or better last time out
12/18 – Returned 8/1 or shorter
12/18 – Had a previous race that season
11/18 – Won their previous race
9/18 – Went onto be placed in Epsom Derby
4/18 – Went onto win Epsom Derby 4/18 – Winning favourites
4/18 – Had won over 1m2f before
3/18 – Won by trainer Aidan O’Brien (won it 4 times in all)
3/18 - Won by trainer Sir Michael Stoute (won it 6 times in all)
3/18 – Won by jockey Ryan Moore 3/18 – Trained by John Gosden (3 of last 5 runnings)
2/18 – Trained by Mark Johnston
2/18 – Ridden by Franny Norton
2/18 – Ridden by Frankie Dettori
2/18 – Ridden by William Buick
2/18 – Ridden by Oisin Murphy
1/18 – Had run at York before
0/18 – Winners from stall 2
Just 2 winning favourites in the last 13 runnings
Golden Horn (2015) was the last Dante winner to go onto win Epsom Derby The average winning SP in the last 13 years is 8/1