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York's Dante Stakes: Economics adds up for William Haggas with stunning success

Economics romped to an eye-catching victory in the Dante Stakes at York, completing the second leg of a treble on the day for jockey Tom Marquand; also on the card, Bluestocking made light work of the Middleton Fillies' Stakes and Point Lynas broke his Knavesmire hoodoo

Dante winner Economics
Image: Dante Stakes winner Economics romps home at York

Economics swept his rivals aside to record a brilliant victory in the Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Dante Stakes at York.

Winner of a mile maiden at Newbury last month, William Haggas' twice-raced chestnut son of Night Of Thunder was always well placed under Tom Marquand in the extended 10-furlong feature.

Still moving with menace when asked to mount a challenge in the home straight, he was able to pull clear of the field and lengthened his stride to cross the line six lengths ahead of 7/4 favourite Ancient Wisdom.

Economics does not hold an entry for the Derby, for which the Dante is a key trial, and Haggas has previously stated he does not intend to add him to the mix as a supplementary entry.

Marquand said: "To be honest I couldn't really believe it, I just thought he had so much to learn after Newbury. That was a mile and obviously going up on trip was always going to help.

"I popped him on the back of William (Buick, Ancient Wisdom) and he had Ryan (Moore, on Cambridge) keeping him in a bit of a pocket and that was an advantage to him as he was conserving energy and he was the one to keep an eye on.

"I went to follow Ryan and to be honest I lit his fuse to make sure I stayed on the same line and he was electric, I lit his fuse and he did it a hell of a lot faster than I anticipated and I had to take a bit of a tug to make sure I didn't hit the front too soon - which I still managed to do.

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"I think he's a very talented horse, he's still learning on the job as he just had a wander when he hit the front, but he's exciting for the future."

Haggas was represented by his wife and assistant, Maureen, who said of the 6/1 winner: "William has always liked him and he is a talented horse. He's beautiful, but still a baby. We'll see about the Derby, it's not my department.

"I'm not sure he'll stay a mile and a half, I think the more he races the more switched on he'll become and 10 furlongs will be his best trip.

"I thought he looked a bit all over he place in the final furlong, he's a big horse and this is just his third race. You've got to be switched on to go around there. It's a big ask for any horse. He's an inexperienced, big baby.

"The Derby is the one we all want to win, we've been lucky enough to win it once, but it was that long ago I've almost forgotten what it was like. We'd love to win it again, but we have a very nice horse and there are a lot of other nice races to win and we need to make sure he stays a nice horse and that has to be the priority.

"We took him out (of the Derby) because we didn't think he'd stay and I'm still not sure he would."

Bluestocking records easy Middleton victory

Bluestocking made light work of the Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Middleton Fillies' Stakes earlier on the card at York.

Ralph Beckett's Juddmonte-owned four-year-old travelled well from the off in the Group Two, stalking Sapphire Seas as Rossa Ryan remained patient on board.

When the Godolphin runner began to falter, Bluestocking was left in front and after starting at 5/2 she was unchallenged when striding to a most impressive six-length victory.

Last year's winner Free Wind, the 15/8 favourite, was the runner-up this time for John and Thady Gosden.

Beckett was understandably delighted with the winner, who finished second in the Irish Oaks and on British Champions Day last season.

"It's about time, isn't it? She was a bridesmaid too many times last year and it's great to get that race under our belt," he said.

"She has been frustrating. I said to Barry Mahon (of Juddmonte) yesterday that I felt we'd done everything right, but you never know with her.

"I thought she looked well all week, saddling her I thought she could have looked better but she's put it all together well today on a track that really suits her. She ran well here in the Yorkshire Oaks last year and I was quite happy to come back even if the ground did dry out.

"We tried the cheekpieces on her last start last year and had them on again. I always think the cheekpieces are pretty much a halfway house, you can take them off pretty easily and put them on pretty easily and I don't think she'll always need them.

"Perhaps she's just come of age today and we had all of our ducks in a row. She was full of confidence and Rossa rode her that way."

The Kimpton Downs handler was non-committal regarding future plans, adding: "We're well entered up and we'll work it out as we go along, I think.

"The Coronation Cup is a possibility, but it's quite soon (15 days). We'll have a think and see how she comes out it, all options are open."

Big Evs books Royal Ascot ticket

Big Evs booked his ticket to Royal Ascot when making a most satisfactory return to the track in the British Stallion Studs EBF Westow Stakes at York.

Mick Appleby's stable star enjoyed an exceptional juvenile season and having won the Windsor Castle, Molecomb and Flying Childers on home soil, ended his two-year-old campaign with a victory at the highest level at the Breeders' Cup.

His connections came back to Listed level for his three-year-old return on the Knavesmire and he corrected the record of his Nunthorpe disappointment at this track to continue his winning thread.

Sent off the 4/7 favourite in the hands of Tom Marquand, his jockey was in no rush, dropping the son of Blue Point in during the early stages.

However, he soon gave a glimpse of the speed that made him such a top-class performer last term, powering to the head of proceedings and keeping on for a cosy success over the game runner-up Sommelier.

The King Charles III Stakes at Royal Ascot has always been Big Evs' main summer target and connections can now look forward to ordering their top hats as his big-race jockey brought up a treble on the day.

Appleby said: "He's probably half-missed the break as he was a bit buzzy in the stalls and kind of fell out really, but Tom gave him a great ride and he won it well in the end.

"He'll come on for that run, we didn't have him fully primed up for this.

"We already said we'd probably miss the Temple Stakes at Haydock and go straight to Royal Ascot with him. We obviously tried the Nunthorpe with him here last year as a two-year-old and it didn't work out, but I think we'd probably like to try again.

"Going from two to three you never really know until you get them out there, but he was still showing us the signs at home and he's gone and done it on the track now, so he's still got it there.

"It will be the King's Stand (King Charles III Stakes) next I think."

Point Lynas breaks York hoodoo

Point Lynas secured an overdue victory at York with a determined display from the front in the Oakmere Homes Hambleton Handicap.

Ed Bethell's charge had made four previous visits to the Knavesmire and on three occasions had to make do with the silver medal.

Point Lynas held on strongly
Image: Point Lynas held on strongly

The five-year-old actually passed the post in front in a valuable contest at the 2022 Ebor Festival, only to get demoted by the stewards for causing interference, while last season he was beaten a head in May and again in August.

Making his first appearance since finishing fourth in the Group Three Superior Mile at Haydock in September, Point Lynas was a 6/1 shot in the hands of Callum Rodriguez and while he looked sure to be claimed by course specialist Northern Express in the closing stages, Bethell's charge refused to bend and passed the post a neck to the good.

Bethell said: "I thought we were going a bit fast but he has one way of going and you just have to let him do it. Callum gets on with him great.

"He deserved to win a nice one like this today, on his last three visits to York he's been beaten in two photos finishes and been thrown out by the stewards [after winning].

"I'm delighted for the Martins (Julie and David) and Dan (Hall) who own him and Liam who does a fantastic job on him at home because he's not straightforward.

"It's great to have a winner at York, this is where we all want to have winners and it's not easy to win here.

"He was a class-dropper, he ran in a Group Three last time out but I'd say that was a career-best. We'll probably look at something better than a handicap, I'd say we'd have to now but Ascot is not really his track, you can't really make the running there."

Marquand lands smooth success aboard Clarendon House

Ahead of his ride on Economics, Marquand showed no ill effects following a nasty incident on Wednesday when steering Clarendon House (8/1) to a smooth success in the Lindum York Handicap.

Marquand was brought down on Tiber Flow in the Group Two 1895 Duke of York Stakes, but thankfully horse and rider escaped unharmed.

Partnering Robert Cowell's speedster in the day-two opener, he was content to follow the rapid early pace set by Tees Spirit and readily picked them off in the final furlong, beating Looking For Lynda by a length and a quarter.

Clarendon House en route to victory
Image: Clarendon House en route to victory

Tom Palin, racing manager for owners Middleham Park Racing, said: "I didn't think it was going anywhere near to plan to be honest, he's normally in the front rank but Tom said he gave him a great feel and they were clearly going plenty quick enough.

"The pace has has sort of collapsed in front of him, Tom's timed it really well and he's seen it out really well. He's kind of coasted home in the end and the only worry was whether the gods were shining on us at York - after two seconds yesterday, I couldn't celebrate until he was past the line.

"He's clearly a very fast horse and it will probably the Epsom Dash next. I guess we might come back here for the Nunthorpe at the Ebor meeting as well, he's ran in that before and this track clearly plays to his strengths.

"He's not an easy horse to train, so it's a great training performance from Robert. He's the sprint king and that is exactly why we sent him this horse."

Marquand continued his excellent day by completing a treble in the Listed British Stallion Studs EBF Westow Stakes on board Big Evs.

Last year's Windsor Castle Stakes victor, who started the 4/7 favourite, made a winning return for Mick Appleby with a workmanlike success ahead of Sommelier.

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