Roaring Lion came back to the best of his juvenile form to comprehensively land this afternoon’s Betfred Dante Stakes at York.
Nine colts contested this important Derby trial, over 10-furlongs.
From the outset it was Mildenberger who led with White Mocha and Crossed Baton next.
With two furlongs covered, Mildenberger led by a length from Crossed Baton, who failed to settle, while White Mocha sat third to the inside, followed by Wells Farhh Go to the outside and then Roaring Lion.
Turning into the home straight, Mildenberger still led the way as the field headed down the centre of the track.
The leader weakened gradually and Crossed Baton and White Mocha led as the field fanned out across the track.
But just before the furlong pole, Roaring Lion burst through and moved several lengths clear, easing down at the line to coast home 4 ½ lengths clear of Mildenberger. Zabriskie ran on for third, with Merlin Magic fourth.
Afterwards, trainer John Gosden was far from keen to commit to Epsom, stating:
“I would absolutely advise people to wait. We have set ourselves something to think about.
“I would have been disappointed if he hadn’t won like this. He’s been training beautifully at home. He woke up after the Guineas and has got himself mentally in the zone. To that extent I expected a big performance.
“He hit the line strong, galloped out well, and we just have to work out whether we go to Epsom or the Prix du Jockey Club. There is no decision to be made in a hurry.”
“It has confirmed Saxon Warrior as the horse,” said Gosden. “He beat us at Doncaster, he beat us in the Guineas – which is the best trial – and we’ve won the second-best trial in emphatic style.
“Roaring Lion is very comfortable at this trip and I always knew this was his trip. I’m not saying he’ll stay a mile and a half. He hit the line strong. They didn’t go the most generous pace, Frankie tells me, but they really turned it on from the four. I was very confident about this trip, the next I don’t know.”