Highclere duo Telescope and Greatwood are on target for the Dante at York
Highclere Thoroughbreds duo Telescope and Greatwood feature among 83 entries for the Betfred Dante Stakes.
Last Updated: 03/04/13 12:41pm
The ten furlong contest has firmly established itself as the premier trial for the Investec Derby in recent years and has attracted Kingsbarns, currently favourite for the Epsom Classic.
Telescope, owned by Highclere Thoroughbred Racing's 'Wavertree' syndicate, won a Newmarket maiden on his second and final start last season and is also prominent in the ante-post Derby lists.
Harry Herbert, managing director for Highclere Thoroughbreds, said: "I've just spoken to Sir Michael and the horse, touch wood, is very well. Sir Michael is pleased with his progress
"He has wintered really well and physically is very changed from last year. He was always going to change, being by Galileo out of a Darshaan mare.
"He was working well and winning last year but was a shell of the horse that he is now. In terms of physical improvement, you couldn't have expected more and you hope that it shows in his ability.
"At the moment, the plan is to run in a Derby trial - Sir Michael will decide which one he heads to. But the Dante is a great trial - arguably the best - and a race that we've been lucky enough to win twice. Motivator won it for the Royal Ascot Racing Club in 2005 and Bonfire won it for Highclere last year."
The Luca Cumani-trained Greatwood, who won a maiden at Kempton on his third career start last autumn.
Herbert added: "Greatwood is a horse we like very much and Luca wanted to make the entry in the Dante. But he will be running in a Tattersalls Sales race at Newmarket (on April 18) so we will take it one step at a time."
William Derby, Chief Executive and Clerk of the Course at York, said: "We are delighted by the support of owners for our four Group 2 races at the Dante Festival which with an overall entries of 188 includes some of the best and most exciting horses in Europe and represents a record overall number of entries for our early closing races for Dante.
"With eyecatching entries from Ireland, France, Britain and, of course, Yorkshire, it looks set to provide some fabulous racing action for our traditional curtain-raiser which is all about quality racing and burgeoning talent for the summer ahead."