O’Brien leads way in entry list for York’s Dante Stakes

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CAMELOT, favourite for the 2000 Guineas and Epsom Derby, is among Aidan O’Brien’s 24 entries for the Betfred Dante Stakes at York on May 17.

The Ballydoyle trainer is responsible for almost a third of the 76 possibles for the prestigious Epsom trial that also includes UAE Derby winner and third, Daddy Long Legs and Wrote.

Marco Botti has put in Kingsdesire who recorded a smooth success at Doncaster on Sunday.

“Kingsdesire is going the right way, improving and he has done well physically,” said the in-form Newmarket trainer.

“We are hoping that he will turn into a nice horse

“He won a weak maiden last year and we thought he would make a better three-year-old.

“I was expecting a good run from him last Sunday and he won nicely on ground that was a little bit too quick for him.

“We have spoken to the owner since and said ‘would you mind if we give him an entry into the Dante’ and he said, ‘Let’s do it’. The horse is also in the French Derby and we will see how he progresses.”

Meanwhile a £1m carrot is being dangled by the sponsors of the Qipco Sussex Stakes in an attempt to make a showdown between Frankel and Black Caviar at Glorious Goodwood a reality.

Qipco have offered to increase the prize-money of the one-mile showpiece on August 1 from £300,000 to seven figures, in a bid to attract the two unbeaten stars of international Flat racing.

Such a scenario would, however, lessen the possibility of the unbeaten Frankel appearing in York’s Juddmonte International at the Ebor Festival.

n Nicky Henderson is looking forward to Shakalakaboomboom flying the flag for his Seven Barrows base in the John Smith’s Grand National as he looks for his first win in the race after a training career that is now in its fourth decade.

The horse was seventh in the Topham Chase last season over the Aintree fences and franked his form when finishing second in the Sky Bet Chase at Doncaster to Calgary Bay.

“He’s our intended runner and is all ready to go,” said Henderson, who is in a protracted struggle with reigning champion Paul Nicholls for the trainers’ title.

“I think 10st 12lb is an area horses can win from and he’s in good form. It’s nice he’s been there once before.”

Henderson also has Burton Port in the National but the Cheltenham Gold Cup fourth is more likely to run in the Betfred Bowl at the big meeting on Merseyside instead.

“Trevor already has Ballabriggs, last year’s winner, in the National so it seems sensible to play it that way,” he added. “He’s still in the National and he’s there as a reserve if, God forbid, something went wrong with Ballabriggs.

“We could possibly bring Burton Port into it, or think about it anyway.”

n Harry The Viking, co-owned by Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson and twice a Doncaster winner, heads the betting at 7-1 with the sponsors for the Coral Scottish Grand National.

Matt Sheppard’s Ikorodu Road, winner of the Grimthorpe Chase at Doncaster, is 10-1 joint-second favourite.