Godolphin’s principal trainer has saddled Classic Cliche (1995) and Moon Ballad (2002) to win what is traditionally one of the best trials for the Epsom Derby, and he appears to have another live contender in Chabal.
The former Jim Bolger inmate made a winning debut in the famous royal blue silks in last month’s bet365 Classic Trial at Sandown and his trainer has been thrilled with his subsequent progression.
“I was pleased with the way Chabal won at Sandown and he came out of that race in very good order,” Bin Suroor told www.godolphin.com.
“His last piece of work went very well and he is ready to race again.
“He’s taking a step up in class now and it looks like it will be a tough race to win.
“But he goes there in good form and I am looking to see him run a good race at York.”
Michael Bell trained Motivator to win both the Dante and the Derby five years ago and heads to York with Coordinated Cut, who made a winning debut for the yard in Newmarket’s 250000 Tattersalls Timeform 3-Y-O Trophy.
“He’s taking on a lot of horses who have big aspirations tomorrow, but he’s one of them so we’ll so how he gets on,” said Bell.
“They are five very, very decent opponents so we’ll just have to see what happens.
“York should be fine, the ground looks like being lovely but what I do know is that a stiffer test will suit him.
“But this is a very good test to see if it is worth lining up on Derby day.
“He looks a high-class horse at home but this is very much a trial run.
“There are no comparisons with Motivator, apart from the fact they are by the same stallion (Montjeu) and they are both very good horses.
“It wouldn’t be fair on Motivator to draw comparisons yet as this horse hasn’t even won a Listed race.
“He’s a lovely horse with a great temperament. He’s a very easy horse to train and he’s certainly got plenty of ability.”
Aidan O’Brien won the Dante 12 months ago with Black Bear Island and is this year responsible for the unbeaten Cape Blanco.
“He is a low-moving horse and you wonder how far he will stay,” said the Ballydoyle handler.
“He should get a mile and a quarter and if he gets further then who knows, but he does have class.
“There doesn’t look to be a lot of pace in the Dante and we don’t have a pacemaker in it.
“I would love to ha ve something in there to go on and make the running but we don’t.”
The talking horse of the race is the Sir Michael Stoute-trained Workforce, who is disputing favouritism with Chabal, despite having been off the track since winning a Goodwood maiden in September.
“We are keen to get Workforce’s season started. He is not spectacular at home, but he has been giving us more encouragement of late,” said Stoute.
“He is a big horse and first time up we would not want ground that is too fast.
“He’s a big talking horse – he won his maiden well – and it’s early days in his career.”