John Leeper takes on five rivals as the impeccably bred colt tries to improve his reputation in the Betway Fairway Stakes in Newmarket on Saturday.
Frankel’s son, out of several winning Group 1 mares, Snow Fairy, stood out in Newcastle two weeks ago on his second career start.
Named after trainer Ed Dunlop’s late father John, the three-year-old colt is highly regarded and holds entries in some major races, including the Cazoo Derby.
“The Dante looked like a very strong run on paper and he had the option to go to Newmarket instead,” said the Newmarket handler.
“We didn’t want firm ground in Newmarket, but with the rain we’ve had it’s not going to be, so we discussed it and decided to come here.
“He won a novice at Newcastle in a very impressive way after a difficult draw but we have no illusions he still has a long way to go. He was an immature horse last year and he only had ‘one run, but we were hoping he would improve from two to three.
“He won his rookie over a mile and a quarter and I’m sure he will stay further. William Buick rode him for the first time and he knows the horse. I hope we learn a lot more on Saturday.”
Fancy Man must give weight to everyone to win the Listed Ascendant Stakes at Haydock.
The colt trained by Richard Hannon has already competed in two races this season and finished third at Chester Vase last week.
Mark Johnston’s Sea The Shells must bounce back from a disappointing race at Sandown after making a big impression by winning their first two starts.
Assistant coach Charlie Johnston said: “We have no idea what happened at Sandown and nothing concrete has emerged. It was a shame to be true.
“It’s not the normal course to get into a handicap and then enter a Listed race but the options out of your mark were limited. It was a great opportunity to run on a nice track on decent ground in a small field. “
He continued: “He’s been very impressive at the start of his first two starts, but the last time was a reality check. We’re on a fact-finding mission on Saturday and hopefully we can get back on track. “
Jane Chapple-Hyam reports that Bellosa is in good shape before putting her undefeated record on the line in the Betway King Charles II Stakes.
The three-year-old filly Awtaad progressed seven lengths on the course and distance in her debut.
Chapple-Hyam said: “Bellosa has trained well since her last win and I’m very happy with her. I don’t see the rain that we have a problem as she goes on any pitch in training .
“I don’t think she will get an easy lead like last time around because she will be more competitive, but she doesn’t have to lead because she is a very relaxed filly.
“We thought she would be fine last time around, but she just kept finding when she hit the rising ground and didn’t come back to them. Oisin (Murphy) said we could travel back with her but I was happy to stay at seven. It’s a learning curve for us – that will tell us what she’s capable of. “