Grey Gatsby makes great strides at York
Ryan Moore steers Kevin Ryan’s charge home in the Dante Stakes
Ryan Moore riding The Grey Gatsby (left) wins The Betfred Dante Stakes at York. Photgraph: Photo by Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images
Derby dreams in England and France remain alive for the first three horses home in the Dante Stakes at York as The Grey Gatsby beat off Arod and True Story in a pulsating finish.
The Grey Gatsby, trained by Kevin Ryan, was tackling the mile-and-a-quarter distance for the first time, having previously finished down the field in the 2000 Guineas, and Ryan Moore settled the 9-1 chance in midfield as Odeon attempted to dominate from the front.
The pack had closed up rounding the home turn, however, and each contender had some sort of chance as the race unfolded early in the straight.
Odeon did not fold tamely, while Bunker was also in there pitching two furlongs down, but the grandstands roared as Kieren Fallon guided stunning Feilden Stakes winner and 8-13 favourite True Story towards the front end passing the one-furlong marker.
However, The Grey Gatsby quickened up best, and although his waywardness close home led to a stewards’ inquiry and a nervy wait for his connections, he was three-quarters of a length to the good passing the post.
The placings unsurprisingly remained unaltered, but Moore was given a two-day suspension (May 29-30) for careless riding.
Peter Chapple-Hyam’s highly-touted Windsor maiden winner Arod belied his inexperience to run a fantastic race in second, coming from a long way back.
True Story was the same distance away in third.
The Grey Gatsby does not hold an entry at Epsom and Ryan has no intention of supplementing him, with the French Derby at Chantilly his Classic target.
Ryan said: “We always thought a lot of the horse and he ran very well in the Guineas.
“He was always a work in progress and at the back of my mind I thought we had to go and try him over further and the key to it was how well he switched off.
Chapple-Hyam has saddled two previous winners of the Epsom Derby — Dr Devious (1992) and Authorized (2007) — and Arod is now destined for the Downs.
“Faster ground will suit him, as will the step up to a mile and a half. Whether he’s good enough to win the Derby, we’ll find out on the day,” said the trainer.
“This horse still has to go and prove himself, in some ways, and he’s been a bit slower to mature than the other two (Derby winners), but he’ll get there.”
Trainer Saeed bin Suroor will press ahead with the Derby for True Story.
He said: “Kieren said the ground was not perfect for him and that he would be better on good to fast ground.
“He also said he will be better over a mile and a half, which he will get at Epsom.”
Connections of Bunker, who beat just one horse home, will reconsider whether the colt takes his chance at Epsom.
Trainer Richard Hannon said: “He will improve, but he might just lack a gear for the Derby.”
“We’ll sleep on it and come up with a plan.”
“The King Edward (VII Stakes) might be a race for him at Royal Ascot.”