Racing: Dip can start a plunge

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Such is Entrepreneur's hold on the Derby market that the only threat to Michael Stoute's colt at Epsom seems to be the possibility of IBM's technicians developing legs for Deep Blue.

The Predominate Stakes at Goodwood next week has become a hollow trial and if a challenge is to emerge to the 2,000 Guineas winner it will have to come today on the Knavesmire.

The Dante Stakes at least offers succour for those who look for winners not in the form book but in historical tomes. Last year Glory Of Dancer and Dushyantor, who were first and second, went on to be fourth and second respectively at Epsom. In addition, Erhaab, Reference Point and Shahrastani have all gone on from the Dante to win the Blue Riband in recent times.

It was not easy to find a beast that might follow in their hoofprints yesterday, as the disclaimers whistled around. Usually, the winner of a Racing Post Trophy selected for winter toning in Dubai would be a strong fancy, but it transpires that Medaaly returned from Doncaster as if a crowbar had been taken to his leg. "The trip will suit him, as will the ground, and he's been working nicely," Simon Crisford, the Godolphin racing manager, said. "But he missed a lot of time after the Racing Post Trophy with a chip in his knee. We've been behind schedule since and so he's bound to improve for the run."

Yorkshire will be a popular coincidence choice, but then Surrey Dancer did not win the Derby. "He'll improve fitness- and experience-wise because he's not had a trouble-free preparation," his jockey, Richard Quinn, said. "This is the closest we've got him to fitness."

Maktoum Al Maktoum has two entries but not double the chance, according to his racing manager. "Musalsal is very promising, but he's out of a fast mare and it's a question of whether he'll get the trip," Joe Mercer said. "Benny The Dip is the one we've got to beat because he's beaten Desert Story twice."

Benny too has had problems. "After Sandown he had a cough and some mucus, so it hasn't been plain sailing," John Gosden, his trainer, said. "But he's back working nicely now."

BENNY THE DIP (nap 3.10) looked as if he had emerged from hibernation but turned in a persuasive performance at Esher, where he blew longer than the wolf trying to knock down the little piggies' houses. Speculation in the markets suggests he is now back close to his best.