Sir Michael Stoute’s unbeaten colt Highest Ground is among 10 entries for the Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Dante Stakes, as York prepares for its first meeting of 2020 – eight weeks later than scheduled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The normal three-day fixture has been condensed to a single card, with the 10-furlong Dante the centrepiece. The Group Two has been a long-standing trial for the Derby, but takes place after the Epsom Classic this year because of the lockdown.
The Derby came too soon for Highest Ground, but the rescheduled Dante provides the Niarchos family-owned son of a Frankel with the chance of a significant Pattern-race success on his third start.
He won his only outing at Leicester as a two-year-old and impressed on his seasonal debut when lowering the colours of the highly-regarded Waldkonig at Haydock.
Despite the unusual timing, there is a strong-looking entry, with Charlie Appleby putting in Al Suhail, who ran in the 2000 Guineas. Another Guineas also-ran, Royal Dornoch, features, as does his Aidan O’Brien-trained Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial winner Cormorant.
Tilsit, a winner by 19 lengths at Newcastle last month, is an interesting contender from the Charlie Hills stable, with similar comments applying to the Richard Hannon-trained Al Madhar, who is unbeaten in two starts.
Guineas fifth Juan Elcano is a possible for Kevin Ryan, while Damage Control, Encipher and Thunderous complete the possibles.
The main supporting race is the Group Three Tattersalls Musidora Stakes, historically a recognised trial for the Oaks.
Owner Khalid Abdullah has three of the 13 entries – the John Gosden-trained Franconia and Ricetta plus Roger Charlton’s Pocket Square.
Gosden has a third possible in Lake Lucerne, owned by Godolphin.
Also for Godolphin is Sakura Pearl, a daughter by Dubawi out of 2011 Oaks heroine Dancing Rain. She has been given an entry by Appleby on the back of a Newmarket novice success.
The Listed EBF Marygate Fillies’ Stakes has attracted 17 entries, including Queen Mary Stakes fourth Sardinia Sunset from the Roger Varian stable.
A nine-race card is set to start at 12.25.