Dante key as John Gosden targets festival

Champion trainer John Gosden.
Champion trainer John Gosden.
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CHAMPION trainer John Gosden’s season is likely to be shaped by the next three days at York as some of his top horses complete their preparations for the summer’s major prizes.

Though Ireland’s Aidan O’Brien is already in dominant form, Gosden has always targeted the Dante festival and this year is no exception. Today he seeks a seventh victory in the Musidora Stakes for fillies when he saddles Sparkle Roll and Entitle.

Though Sparkle Roll, the mount of Oisin Murphy, won well at Sandown like month her target is the Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot rather than the Epsom Oaks.

“We don’t see her as a filly for the Oaks, because she is very tall and very leggy,” said the trainer.

Sparkle Roll’s stablemate Entitle is certainly bred for the job – she is a half-sister to dual Arc heroine Enable – but has endured a challenging preparation.

“She has had a difficult Spring and she has just come to herself now,” added Gosden.

Tomorrow he will saddle the precocious Group One winner Too Darn Hot in the Dante Stakes, a major trial for the Epsom Derby on June 1.

Frankie Dettori’s mount has seven high-class rivals to beat in a vintage renewal.

Champion stayer Stradivarius will then head the field for the Yorkshire Cup, Friday’s feature.