Midterm heads entries for York’s Dante Festival

Ryan Moore wins on Dartmouth at Chester yesterday (Picture: David Davies/PA Wire).
Ryan Moore wins on Dartmouth at Chester yesterday (Picture: David Davies/PA Wire).
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SIR Michael Stoute knows what it takes to complete the Dante and Derby double – both Shaharastani 30 years ago, and North Light in 2004, won on Knavesmire before winning Flat racing’s iconic contest.

Now the Stoute-trained Midterm, the new ante-post favourite for this year’s Derby after Aidan O’Brien’s US Army Ranger was an uninspiring winner at Chester, could look to repeat the winning formula.

Victorious in Sandown’s bet365 Classic trial last month, the Prince Khalid Abdullah-owned Midterm heads 18 entries for next Thursday’s Betfred Dante, a race which celebrates the last Yorkshire winner of the Derby,

Stoute has also left Ulysses in the Group Two over a mile and a quarter with Yorkshire hopes resting with Kentuckyconnection from the Hambleton yard of Bryan Smart.

Fifth in last weekend’s 2000 Guineas at Newmarket, quick ground is a prerequisite.

Stoute last saddled the Dante winner in 2011 when Carlton House prevailed for the Queen before finishing a slightly unlucky third to the fast finishing Pour Moi at Epsom.

However, Stoute and Her Majesty teamed up yesterday at Chester when Dartmouth won the Boodles Diamond Ormonde Stakes at Chester.

The four-year-old colt had to give away weight to the rest of the field, but was braveness personified in the hands of Ryan Moore.

Wicklow Brave, whose jockey William Buick lost his whip close to home, surged gamely towards the winning line on the far rail, but the Royal runner had a neck in hand.

The Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot could now be on the agenda for Dartmouth, who derives his name from the Royal Naval College where the Queen first met Prince Philip.

John Warren, the Queen’s bloodstock and racing adviser, said: “He’s a lovely horse.

“Sir Michael has typically trained him beautifully and now he has turned into a very useful older horse.

“He’s an improver and a late-maturing horse and will give Her Majesty a lot of fun this year.

“Physically, he’s starting to come to himself and now is probably the time to dip his toe into a slightly bigger pool.

“Her Majesty having a runner at the Royal meeting is always a thrill and we hope to get him there in one piece.”

Group One winner Elm Park will not be seen out until the autumn at the earliest after meeting with a setback.

The Andrew Balding-trained four-year-old, winner of the 2014 Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster, sustained the injury during a racecourse gallop at Kempton last month in his build-up towards an outing in the Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes at Newbury next Saturday.

Although the son of Phoenix Reach failed to perform in last year’s Epsom Derby, he showed an upturn in form when finishing a close-up fifth to Solow in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot.

“He picked up a strain and we will just have to act on veterinary advice. There is no particular timescale as to when he will back.

“He will be ready when he is ready. I still have high hopes for him,” said Balding.

Tutu Nguru bids to prove her stamina for a mile when she tackles the £45,000 EBF Breeders’ Series Fillies’ Handicap at Ascot.

Trainer William Haggas is keen to target the Sandringham Handicap at Royal Ascot with his charge and she can book her ticket with victory in this nine-runner event.

The Yorkshire-born trainer said: “Tutu Nguru will enjoy this return to turf after racing on the all-weather and, although I’ve done very little with her since her last run, she’s been doing very well in the meantime.

“I am not convinced that she really stays a mile – she may end up being better over seven furlongs, but this race is perfect preparation for the Sandringham Handicap at the Royal meeting if she does.”