Fencing The Dante Call
Fencing The Dante Call
By Simon Holt


2pts win Fencing in 14.30 York at best morning price. Looked a picture at Newmarket and will improve for ten furlongs.
2pts win Sajhaa in 14.00 York at best morning price. Loves the Knavesmire and looks the class horse on display.

All eyes are on Bonfire going into Thursday’s Betfred Dante Stakes at York. He seems to be a highly-regarded horse and ran twice as a juvenile.

He won first-time-out at Salisbury, beating a filly called Cubanita who finished third in the Cheshire Oaks last week. But the more criticial piece of form was his third behind subsequent 2000 Guineas runner-up French Fifteen in a Group One race at Saint-Cloud.

Bonfire was due to run at Chester last week but was taken out because of the testing ground but if they’re looking to run him in the Derby they’ll be desperate to get a race into him.

He is a fascinating runner but there are a lot of promising and unexposed colts in opposition. The ground is a worry for Ernest Hemingway who won by ten lengths at Dundalk on his debut and Aidan O’Brien has warned he won’t run if it gets any more testing. If he does he could be anything.

Ektihaam will really like the ground having won on a soft surface at Newbury on his reappearance. He had some good form as a juvenile but did disappoint in the Dewhurst on his final start.

You also have to respect Mandaean, the Godolphin representatitve, who was unbeaten in two starts in France at two. He’ll handle the conditions but I have it in the back of my mind that when I spoke to Simon Crisford earlier in the season he really didn’t seem to think they had any real top-notch three-year-old colts. Mandaean is possibly the pick of them though.

The horse I like is Fencing who finished sixth in the QIPCO 2000 Guineas. A line through French Fifteen leaves him with a little to find with Bonfire but he really caught the eye in the parade ring at Newmarket. He looked to have grown a good deal and I think he’ll come on for the run.

The step up in distance will suit too and with solid two-year-old form to his name, and he might be good enough to win this.

Ptolemaic finished a place behind the selection in the Guineas but I feel he may have been flattered by that, racing in the small group on the far side.

Elsewhere there’s a competitive renwal of the Betfred Middleton Stakes. Sajhaa finished second to Midday last year and doesn’t meet anything of that calibre here.

She later confirmed her liking of this track when winning a listed race over course and distance on good to soft ground, beating Myplacelater. She reopposes here but looks held.

I think this filly has an awful lot of ability and she’s my choice to beat Dahlia Stakes winner Izzi Top and Timepiece, who only finished fourth in that Newmarket race.

  • Preview posted at 1500 BST on 15/05/2012.
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