Sir Michael Stoute's Desert Crown looking to shine in Dante ahead of Derby

Desert Crown is a fancy for the Epsom Derby for Sir Michael Stoute. First comes the Dante at York on Thursday, May 12 which can show whether the money for the Derby is a mirage or not.

The money has come for Sir Michael Stoute's Desert Crown for the Epsom Derby but the colt will have to put up a show in the Dante at York to justify the support.

The three-year-old by Nathanial won a Nottingham maiden nicely last November but it is obviously a massive step up to tackle the Dante Stakes at York on Thursday, May 12 followed by the Derby on June 4.

Desert Crown, who carries the silks of Stoute's 2003 Derby winner Kris Kin, is heading the Dante market and short as 6/1 for the Epsom Classic.

Elsewhere, James Ferguson's talented El Bodegon will attempt to follow up his impressive win in the Criterium de Saint-Cloud last October.

The runner-up that day in France was none other than Aidan O'Brien's Derby fancy Stone Age, who hosed up in the recent Derby trial at Leopardstown.

John Gosden has a seriously impressive record in the Dante, winning the Grade 2 four times and with both Benny The Dip (1997) and Golden Horn (2015) going on to win the Derby itself.

Magisterial is sent by John Gosden and his son Thady this time around with the Frankel colt ridden by Frankie Dettori.

Mark and Charlie Johnston, another father and son team, will be hoping for better in the Dante from their Royal Patronage who didn't land a blow in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket.

Masekela is flying under the radar for Andrew Balding with not quite as impressive breeding as the likes of Magisterial but good form from a second in the Feilden Stakes at Newmarket.

Meanwhile, David Loughnane's Kingmax is another relatively unknown quality, looking to step up in trip after finishing fourth behind Native Trail in the Craven Stakes at HQ.

Loughnane said: "I have no worries at all about the trip, to be honest - I've always felt he wanted a mile and a quarter.

"We ran him in the Craven to see if he was going to be quick enough for a Guineas or not. He showed to us that he wasn't, so I'd be very hopeful a mile and a quarter shouldn't be a problem at all for him.

"He was only rated 86 going into the Craven, so it was a proper hike up and I think he'll be a much better horse over 10 furlongs."

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