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Racing: Arrow looks too sharp for Dante opposition

IF THE bookmakers are right, the Derby winner will emerge this afternoon. The problem is that it is not exactly clear which is the great horse as we wipe the egg from the corner of our mouths.

A bit of the breakfast could easily stay on the face as substantial cases can be made out for five of the six contestants in today's Dante Stakes on the Knavesmire, an encounter which promises to be the definitive Blue Riband pointer. The layers will immediately propel the winner to Derby favouritism.

The favourite today, in Coral's book at least, is a colt who made just about the least impression of these as a two-year-old, Dr Fong. Henry Cecil's representative will be easy to locate as his chestnut form is controlled by a white bridle which appears to have been purchased from the Nigel Tinkler car boot sale. It may even be that this distinctive shape is the first over the line as Dr Fong has worked beautifully since exhibiting great tenacity on his Newmarket seasonal debut. On Saturday, he trotted on to the Limekilns with another Warren Place Derby pretender, Capri, and gave his galloping companion a real roasting.

Peter Chapple-Hyam said, last year, that City Honours was his best horse since Dr Devious, but that was in the Pearl & Dean interlude before the colt was purchased for Sheikh Mohammed's Godolphin team. There is no reason on Royal Lodge form why he should beat Teapot Row and stable confidence is some way short of sky-high.

Saratoga Springs has skipped round these pastures to great effect once already, when capturing the Acomb Stakes last August. He later won the Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster and his performance today will do much to determine whether his Irish stablemate King Of Kings, the 2,000 Guineas winner, runs at Epsom.

BORDER ARROW (nap 3.10) has already been well supported for the most prestigious Classic, but by the time he gets to Epsom he may have had one race too many over an undulating course that is not guaranteed to accommodate his huge stride. In fact, he won't win a Derby. But he will win a Dante.