Henry Cecil’s World Domination puts his huge reputation on the line in what promises to be an enlightening totesport Dante Stakes at York tomorrow.
A son of the stable’s 1997 Oaks heroine Reams Of Verse, World Domination never saw the racecourse as a juvenile, but that did not stop the Newmarket dogs barking loudly about his scintillating homework.
Plenty have failed to reproduce their morning glories when faced with the track, but when this much-vaunted colt finally did make it to the competitive stage at Newbury last month, he oozed class and won as he liked.
He soon shot towards the head of the betting for June’s Investec Derby at Epsom and his place as Classic favourite is likely to harden further if he can see off a clutch of classy sorts on the Knavesmire.
His opposition include another Newbury maiden winner in Sir Michael Stoute’s Carlton House, who carries the colours of the Queen.
Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager to World Domination’s owner Khalid Abdullah, said: “He’s pleased us and he’s got a good lot to prove to make sure he’s a Derby horse.
“But the way he trains, the way he’s run and of course his pedigree will help that to happen.
“Of course his name lends itself to people thinking he’s going to be a great champion.
“He’s got to go and win now – that is the downside of it!
“We very much hope he’s better than a maiden winner, but this is what these trials are here to find out.”
Connections were open enough to reveal World Domination suffered a stone bruise that slightly hampered his progress a couple of weeks ago, and Cecil is under no illusions about the task in hand.
“I am happy with him,” said the Warren Place handler.
“He has just recovered from a bruised foot but I’m pleased with his work at home.
“It’s asking a lot of him for the second race of his life to be the Dante but we’ll know a lot more afterwards.”
Her Majesty’s racing manager, John Warren, reports Carlton House’s recent homework to have been very encouraging.
“Ryan Moore rode him a bit of work a couple of weeks ago and he was very impressed by the amount of speed the horse had,” Warren told At The Races.
“Henry Cecil’s horse has a bit to prove as well, so while you could call it a mini-Derby, there are still enough horses in this field who are on the learning curve.
“That is what makes the Dante such a special trial.
“The betting for the Derby will be firmly in place afterwards.”
The market suggests the only other serious challenger for top honours on Thursday is the Aidan O’Brien-trained Seville, second in last year’s Racing Post Trophy.
“Seville is a lovely, laid-back horse. He was always a Derby type horse,” said O’Brien.
“We were never going to go another route with him.
“He’s in good form, he’s just ready to start and I’m looking forward to seeing him run.”
Marcus Tregoning’s Yaseer chased home Carlton House last season and showed he had trained on with an excellent third in the Craven Stakes at Newmarket on his return.
Speaking on his website, www.marcustregoningracing.co.uk, the trainer said: “Yaseer has been working well since the Craven and should give a good account of himself.”
Pisco Sour showed some decent form last season, but his trainer Hughie Morrison does not have any great expectations for Thursday.
“It wouldn’t have been the plan to start off in a Dante, to be quite honest, but we’re running out of options and hopefully we might get some decent ground at York,” said Morrison.
“We realise we’re probably aiming a bit high, but at least we’ll know where we’re going afterwards.”
The six-runner field is completed by the Michael Dods-trained Ashva.