Wednesday 21 November 2018

Jack can prove to be the lad with Dante run

Jack Hobbs (Frankie Dettori) powers to victory in the 1m 2f handicap
Sandown 24.4.15
Jack Hobbs (Frankie Dettori) powers to victory in the 1m 2f handicap Sandown 24.4.15

Jack Hobbs can throw down the most compelling marker for the Epsom Derby in what has so far been a hazy year by winning at York.

There have hitherto been rather more errors than trials for this season's premier Classic, with numerous alleged big guns having been found badly wanting.

All that could change after the Betfred Dante Stakes, in which Jack Hobbs is fancied to impress on the Knavesmire.

The unbeaten Halling colt is already ante-post favourite for the Derby, but this is by far his stiffest assignment yet on a racecourse.

John Gosden's inmate has only won a Wolverhampton maiden and a Sandown handicap, but it was his performance in the latter which really spiked punters' interest.

There are those that have questioned the worth of the form, but the style and ease with which he accelerated 12 lengths clear in a race with a fine roll of honour was not far off jaw-dropping.

A long-striding thoroughbred with a maturity which belies his relative inexperience, Jack Hobbs looks the business, with a mile and a half almost certain to suit at Epsom.

In the interim, the timing of the 10-furlong Dante is absolutely perfect in terms of gaining more awareness in top company.

The Betfred Middleton Stakes looks a slightly murkier puzzle, but it is entirely possible Secret Gesture has slipped beneath the proverbial radar.

One blip in France aside, Ralph Beckett's five-year-old has ably held her own in hot races since she finished a close second in the 2013 Epsom Oaks.

She also runs especially well at York, having finished second to the high-class My Ambivalent in this race 12 months ago.

The underrated mare's last outing, when a superb fifth at the Breeders' Cup fixture, also appeared to have passed by unnoticed.

With more fashionable, younger horses likely to be more in demand, Secret Gesture could be available at most generous odds in what looks a fairly humdrum renewal of the Group Two.

Mick Easterby often targets a good one at the Betfred "Supports Jack Berry House" Handicap, with Perfect Pasture a name to consider.

The five-year-old gelding struggled at Kempton last time, but the return to the minimum trip on turf is almost certainly in his favour.

With Ryan Moore at the helm, Easterby clearly means business.

A more settled Lunasea should have enough about him to claim the Chassis Cab DAF Handicap at Newmarket.

ca Cumani's colt was too keen for his own good at Newbury in April, but he did enough to give connections a platform from which to build.

A similar display to the one when he stretched tidily clear at Lingfield last autumn ought to see him get a lot closer.

Ghalib should have all the answers in the Bathwick Tyres Salisbury Handicap at Salisbury.

Ed Walker's colt won really well at Kempton last month and can translate that form across to the turf.

Gordon Elliott's inevitable Perth winner could come via Antilope Du Seuil, who runs in the Pentland Land Rover Novices' Hurdle.



FONTWELL: 5.05 A Country Mile, 5.40 Curraigflemens, 6.15 Cygnet, 6.45 Start Royal, 7.15 Ebbison, 7.50 Marlpit Oak, 8.20 Broken Eagle.

NEWMARKET: 5.15 Island Flame, 5.50 Ninety Minutes, 6.25 Resonant, 6.55 Lunasea, 7.25 Angel Vision, 8.00 No Delusion, 8.30 Gossiping.

PERTH: 2.30 Antilope Du Seuil, 3.05 Senor Alco, 3.35 Street Entertainer, 4.10 Rock Relief, 4.40 The Shrimp, 5.10 Royal Macnab, 5.45 Western Home.

SALISBURY: 1.50 Light Up Life, 2.20 Tutti Frutti, 2.55 Stay Silent, 3.25 Hope You Dance, 4.00 Imperial Link, 4.30 Ghalib, 5.00 Rain God.

TIPPERARY: 5.30 Theos Well, 6.05 Lettermacaward, 6.35 Ancient Sands, 7.05 Stonehall Jack, 7.40 Island Master, 8.10 Monbeg Rose, 8.45 Knocknanuss.

YORK: 2.10 Perfect Pasture, 2.40 Secret Gesture, 3.15 JACK HOBBS (NAP), 3.45 Prince Of Johanne, 4.20 Strath Burn, 4.50 Tawakkol, 5.20 Steve Rogers.

DOUBLE: Jack Hobbs and Secret Gesture.

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