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Horse Racing - Racing: Desert Crown credentials to be put to the test

Desert Crown will aim to live up to the hype on Thursday as the popular Derby fancy makes just his second career start in the Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Dante Stakes.

 

The son of Nathaniel has been subject to a significant gamble over the past week, backed into single figures for the Epsom Classic despite being yet to run a race this season.

The confidence behind Desert Crown has carried over to the Dante, with the three-year-old priced at 15/8 with bet365 to claim the Group 2 contest. However, trainer Sir Michael Stoute warned that the colt's preparation was far from ideal.

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Stoute outlines Desert Crown prep

"We're only just up for a race and that's why he hasn't run yet - because he had a minor hiccup, which has delayed the start of his season. We've only just got him there ready to go to the races," Stoute said.

"He's not a spectacular home worker and he surprised us when he won at Nottingham last year. His work here has been workmanlike but he's a very talked-about horse."

Desert Crown ran with greenness in his maiden success at Nottingham, despite winning with ease, and his absence from the track may prove a hindrance against more experienced rivals such as El Bodegon, who claimed the Group 1 Criterium de Saint-Cloud in October over Stone Age.

The pair will face seven other rivals at York, with just two runners in the field without entries for the Cazoo Derby on 4th June.

Friday's 1m2½f contest was won last year by Hurricane Lane, who went on to claim three Group 1 races that season including the St Leger for trainer Charlie Appleby.

This year, Godolphin will be solely represented by White Wolf, who like Desert Crown only has one race to his name when scoring last month at Southwell.

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