Dante Stakes: Kieren Fallon backs True Story for happy ending
Wednesday 14 May 2014
All eyes will be on True Story at York as the Derby second favourite has his final prep in the Dante Stakes. It is a crucial test. If he passes it with flying colours, we can look forward to a battle royal with the short-priced Australia at Epsom. If not, there's the prospect of a Shergar-style procession on 7 June.
True Story's form credentials are rock solid, but the rain-drenched York ground has been such a cause for concern that Godolphin, the colt's owners, are leaving it as late as they can to commit to the trial, while hoping the track dries out.
The signs were bright today; the sun was shining and several jockeys felt that the ground was riding faster than the official description ("soft, good to soft in places"), a view borne out by the race-times.
Vitally, one of those most upbeat about the going was True Story's rider, Kieren Fallon, and it is his opinion Godolphin would have been paying attention to.
"It's not ideal at the moment, but the way it's drying out, it could be good by tomorrow," said the six-time champion jockey. "And the Dante is such an important trial – of course we want to run."
Fallon is confident True Story will have the stamina for this step up in distance and beyond after his dazzling win over nine furlongs at Newmarket last month. If so, it should be fairly plain sailing this afternoon, although Bunker boasts smart juvenile form and Arod impressed in a Windsor maiden.
This is a glorious autumn to Fallon's career, the 49-year-old, fresh from a fifth 2,000 Guineas victory, now looking forward not only to a fourth Derby triumph on True Story, but also perhaps a fifth Oaks win aboard Madame Chiang following their success in today's Musidora Stakes.
Bookmakers cut the filly to as short as 10-1 for Epsom and she certainly pleased Fallon, who believes she has the same potential as his other Oaks winners.
Trainer David Simcock is convinced that Madame Chiang needs give in the ground and would probably miss Epsom if it came up fast, but the rider did not get that impression and would be optimistic about her chances whatever the going. Either way, the daughter of Archipenko is one to follow.
Simcock was not sure what to expect because she is so laid-back at home, but this is a filly who saves her best for the racetrack, such an enviable quality.
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