‘I’d prefer another 10 days… It’s all coming tight and quick enough’: Trainer John Gosden issues Too Darn Hot warning ahead of seasonal debut in the Dante Stakes at York
- John Gosden has issued a warning that Too Darn Hot is only just ready to return
- Too Darn Hot is set to return to action in Thursday’s Dante Stakes at York
- He missed his comeback at Newbury last month because of a leg issue
Published: 16:46 EDT, 15 May 2019 | Updated: 17:03 EDT, 15 May 2019
Trainer John Gosden has issued a warning that Too Darn Hot is only just ready to return as he makes his seasonal debut at York on Thursday afternoon.
A leg problem meant the top-rated two-year-old of 2018, who is owned by composer Lord Lloyd-Webber, missed his intended comeback run in the Greenham Stakes at Newbury and the 2,000 Guineas.
How he fares in the mile-and-a-quarter Dante Stakes will determine whether Frankie Dettori’s mount heads for the mile-and-a-half Investec Derby at Epsom on June 1 or reverts to a mile for the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Highly-rated Too Darn Hot is set to make reappearance in Thursday’s Dante Stakes at York
Gosden said: ‘This was not the original plan. We lost all that time when he had to walk for two weeks but he has trained well since.
‘I’d prefer another 10 days. It’s all coming tight and quick enough. It’s a mile-and-a-quarter in the Dante on summer ground and we will learn which direction we want to go.
‘It is a matter of whether you look towards the Derby or the St James’s Palace Stakes. There is no point me running him over a mile somewhere because that does not tell me anything.’
Trainer John Gosden has issued a warning that Too Darn Hot is only just ready to return
Unbeaten Too Darn Hot is the only horse in the top five of the ante-post betting for the Derby not trained by Aidan O’Brien, who is represented in the Dante by Japan. The opposition also includes Charlie Appleby-trained Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf winner Line Of Duty.
A decisive result is needed in the Dante Stakes to spice up the Derby picture.
That was not forthcoming in the Musidora Stakes on Wednesday, with the Oaks trial falling to Roger Varian’s 14-1 shot Nausha, who beat dead-heaters Entitle and Frankellina a neck.
Varian and owner Nurlan Bizakov have to decide whether to go for the Oaks or stick at a mile-and-a-quarter and target the French Oaks (Prix de Diane).
William Haggas-trained Frankellina is not a definite Oaks starter while Gosden, who has Cheshire Oaks winner Mehdaayih and Lingfield Oaks Trial winner Anapurna for Epsom, said Entitle would head for the Ribblesdale Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Invincible Army won the Duke Of York Clipper Logistics Stakes on day one of the Dante Festival
Gosden did win the Sky Bet Race To Ebor Jorvik Stakes with Dettori-ridden First Eleven, who beat Varian’s Fujaira Prince a neck. The success for an impeccably-bred colt – his sire is Frankel and his dam 2002 1,000 Guineas winner Zenda – earns him a guaranteed start in the first running of the Sky Bet Ebor back at York in August.
Despite stamina concerns about First Eleven staying the extra two furlongs in the Ebor, that’s his likely destination via a run at Royal Ascot.
The royal meeting and the Diamond Jubilee Stakes is where James Tate-trained much-improved Invincible Army is heading after his impressive two-and-a-quarter-length win from Major Jumbo in the Duke Of York Stakes.
Tate said: ‘He just seems different this year and has the mentality for it.’