LEADING Epsom Derby hopes Kingston Hill and True Story are among 12 horses confirmed for the Betfred Dante Stakes at York on Thursday.
The Roger Varian-trained Kingston Hill completed a hat-trick of juvenile victories in the Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster and was not disgraced in finishing eighth in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket last weekend.
He remains among the leading contenders for the Derby on June 7 and would be a major player if turning up on Knavesmire next week.
True Story appears York-bound after making a huge impression when winning the Feilden Stakes at Newmarket’s Craven meeting.
Saeed bin Suroor’s Godolphin runner is set to be ridden by Kieren Fallon on Thursday and at Epsom.
Aidan O’Brien’s only remaining Dante entry is Table Rock after he opted not to run the fast-finishing Guineas third, Australia, the ante-post Derby favourite.
It is the same with John Gosden – his leading Derby hope Western Hymn misses Thursday’s test with the lightly-raced Marzocco representing the in-form yard.
Bunker won twice from three starts at two for Richard Hannon and could make his seasonal reappearance while Kevin Ryan’s The Grey Gatsby is Yorkshire’s sole representative. Tenth in the Guineas, he does not hold a Derby entry with Royal Ascot’s St James’s Palace Stakes his June target.
Last year’s runner-up Ambivalent is one of 10 remaining fillies and mares in the Betfred Middleton Stakes at York on Thursday. Second to the French raider Dalkala 12 months ago, Roger Varian’s five-year-old was last seen running a career-best when third in the Dubai Sheema Classic.
Local hopes rest with Odeliz for Leyburn trainer Karl Burke. She has been ridden in her last two starts by Daniel Tudhope, The Yorkshire Post’s new guest columnist every Friday.
The Lark, third in the Epsom Oaks and subsequent Park Hill winner at Doncaster, will like the forecast rain.
The consistent Thistle Bird is a possible for Roger Charlton, with the Paul Cole-trained Gifted Girl still in contention for the Dante’s chief supporting race.