TRUE Story appears set to test his Derby credentials in today’s Betfred Dante Stakes at York.
Trainer Saeed bin Suroor raised doubts about the colt’s participation after the track was hit by significant rainfall. But with conditions improving, the runaway Feilden Stakes winner looks set to line up as a long odds-on favourite.
Kieren Fallon will partner True Story for the first time in this recognised Derby trial, with a view to keeping the ride at Epsom on 7 June.
Bin Suroor said: “So far, the weather looks like it is going to be dry and if the ground is good to soft, we will let him run.
“He’s in good form and his condition is good, so we are looking forward to running him. We are hoping for a good run from him and we will decide about the Derby after (the Dante).”
The Richard Hannon-trained Bunker was last seen beating subsequent French 2,000 Guineas winner Karakontie in a Deauville Listed race last August and now steps up in trip.
Jockey Frankie Dettori said: “His form is rock solid and we have always liked him. He is in at the deep end in the Dante, the best Derby trial, but we will see where we are in the pecking order.”
At Perth last night, Gordon Elliot and Davy Condon stole the show as the Irish pair combined for a short-priced double with Hold Em Cowboy and Killeenmore.
The latter landed the featured Salutation Hotel Perth Handicap Chase by six lengths from last year’s hero Wild Geese.
Elliott said: “I think we’ve had around 90 winners here and I look forward to getting the 100 up. We love coming here as they really look after you. It’s just a shame we haven’t had as many suitable horses to come over recently.
“I haven’t had Killeenmore that long as the change of scene has done him good.”
Hold Em Cowboy was a very cheeky winner of the Thanks Ninewells Neurosurgery Team Handicap Hurdle under a super-conﬁdent Condon.
The top-weight, who is declared again today, scored under heavy restraint by two lengths.
“Davy gave him a cool ride and he won well,” Elliott said.
“He’s for sale as a point-to-pointer as he’s getting too high in the weights.”
On The Case impressed for Tom George and Paddy Brennan in the novices handicap chase and the trainer said: “It’s great to see him off the mark over fences as he’s been lightly raced through no fault of his own. I trained his mother to win a couple of hurdles and hopefully he will start progressing now.”
Meanwhile, Stuart Crawford hopes to be among the winners at Perth today and his main hopes rest with Man With The Van and Okotoks.