Epsom Derby News: Desert Crown favourite for Classic after Dante romp

Talk is cheap in racing but Sir Michael Stoute's colt lived up to the hype with a smooth win in the Dante Stakes at York. Desert Crown is now the favourite for the Epsom Derby on June 4.

Desert Crown swept through the Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Dante Stakes like a sandstorm and went straight to the head of the betting for the Epsom Derby.

The recipient of solid backing for the Epsom Classic on June 4 had question marks for such a race after only a maiden win at Nottingham but showed the talk had depth with a sound win on the Knavesmire.

Richard Kingscote just had to steer his Nathanial colt, trained by Sir Michael Stoute, in the right direction as the three-year-old beat Royal Patronage by three and a quarter lengths as the Dante heated up.

Kingscote told ITV Racing: "It was nice and smooth, he was very relaxed throughout. I sort of moved him a little earlier than I would have ideally liked because I was in behind one I didn't want to be behind, but he was shrewd and I was really pleased with him.

"We went a nice gallop throughout and it was perfect for my lad really as he's really well mannered and relaxed and he gave me a lovely ride.

"I was in front plenty long enough and we were just rolling around a little in the finish and he's had a little shout on the way to the start, so you'd like to think there could be more to come.

"It's great to see him (Sir Michael Stoute) in the morning when he gets to see a horse like this lad and he's been fabulous to me for the last couple of years and it's lovely to ride him a nice one."

Bookmakers reacted seriously to the performance with Betfair and Paddy Power making Desert Crown the new 2-1 Derby favourite. Coral have kept faith with Aidan O'Brien's Stone Age as their 2-1 market leader ahead of Desert Crown at 3-1. The battle between Desert Crown and Stone Age will be a scintillating one on the Downs on June 4.

The Epsom Derby is considered the premier English Classic and takes places on Epsom Downs on Saturday, June 4. It is run over a distance of one mile and four furlongs and will be screened live on ITV Racing.

Latest news