TRAINER David Griffiths is confident Duke Of Firenze is at the top of his game ahead of his bid for a second victory in the Epsom Dash.
It is four years since the eight-year-old claimed the fiercely competitive handicap, when trained by Sir Michael Stoute.
But Duke Of Firenze has arguably been in the form of his life since he was snapped up by Bawtry-based Griffiths at the start of last season for the relatively modest fee of 16,000 guineas. He opened his account for new connections at York last May before finishing third in this event 12 months ago.
Duke Of Firenze returns to Epsom significantly higher in the weights, but in fine fettle after winning again at York just over a fortnight ago.
Griffiths said: “I thought it was a really good performance at York under top weight and even though he handled the soft ground well, I definitely think he’s better on good or good to firm ground.
“He’s come out of the race unbelievably well, to be honest. I’m delighted with him. The handicapper thinks he’s better than he was last year, obviously, and realistically, this could be his last chance in a handicap.
“He ran well in the Prix de l’Abbaye last year (finished sixth) and he’s probably a Group horse running in a handicap. You need a lot of luck in these races, but I think he goes there with a good chance.”
Desert Law led home a one-two for North Yorkshire trainer Paul Midgley in the 2015 renewal of the Dash. The nine-year-old endured a frustrating campaign last season, but showed he retains plenty of ability and enthusiasm with an impressive comeback success at Musselburgh.
The Westow handler also saddles Line Of Reason and Olivia Fallow.