Dante Festival

The Dante Festival is a three-day flat racing event, taking part in York Racecourse in May. The feature race of the festival is the Dante Stakes, a group three-race, run over one mile two furlongs, The competition is open to three-year-olds, and the prize money for the 2019 running of the race was £165.000. This feature race takes place on the second day of the Dante Festival.

Two other primary races taking place are the Tattersalls Musidora and the Yorkshire Cup, The Musidora is a Group three-race open to three-year-old fillies, run over one mile two furlongs, The feature race on the last day of the meeting is the Yorkshire cup. The race, which is run over one mile five furlongs is a group two race, open to horse four years old and above.

Most Successful Horse

With two of the three feature races open only to three-year-olds, it’s only possible to win those races once. That doesn’t mean to say certain horses haven’t stood out over the years. Considered a trial for the Derby, the Dante Stakes has created some great success stories.

Golden Horn was one such success story. Going off at 4/1 in the Dante Stakes, the John Gosden trained horse was soon clear in the final furlong, beating Jack Hobbs by two and a quarter lengths, to the delight of the jockey, W. Buick. The impressive win didn’t go unnoticed by the bookies, who made him the firm favorite for the Derby. Golden Horn justified his odds by claiming victory in Britain’s richest race.

Authorized, ridden by Frankie Dettori and trained by Peter Chapple- Hyam, won the Dante Stakes in 2007 in exquisite style from Raincoat, by four lengths. That win made him favorite for the Derby, going off at 5/4, the horse under the guidance of Frankie Dettori once again didn’t disappoint, winning by five lengths from Eagle Mountain.

Two horses have the honor of winning the Yorkshire Cup twice. Back to back wins for Ardross in 1981 and 1982, and the same back to back successes for Stradivarius later in 2018 and 2019. It was the dream team of trainer Henry Cecil and jockey Lester Piggot who gained success with Andross’s two victories. The John Gosden and Frankie Dettori partnership saw that Stradivarius passed the winning post in front on two occasions, in 2018 and 2019.

Two winners stand out in the Tattersalls Musidora Stakes. Sariska was impressive in winning in 2009. Ridden by Jamie Spencer and trained by Michael Bell., the 3/1 shot, stayed on firmly to win by three and a quarter lengths, from Star Ruby. He claimed a famous double later on in the Oaks, beating Midday. Star of Sevilles win in the 2015 Musidora over Together Forever, with Frankie Dettori on board the John Gosden horse, was followed up with victory in the Prix de Diane, the French equivalent to the Oaks.

Leading Jockey

Lester Piggotts’ eight victories in the Yorkshire Cup certainly stand out, Pandofell in 1961 and lastly Andross in 1982. Pat Eddery had great success in the Dante Stakes, winning it seven times, his first coming in 1981 on Beldale Flutter and his final victory in 1993 on Tenby. Steve Cauthen and Frankie Dettori both have five successes in the Musidora Stakes. Steves wins came between 1982 and 1989 and included Diminuendo, who went on to win the Oaks. Frankie Dettori had success between 1998 and 2017, most notably, Star of Seville, who went on to gain victory in the French equivalent of the Oaks. The Prix de Diane.

Leading Trainer

Henry Cecil has achieved remarkable success in the three feature races at the Dante Festival. The leading trainer in both the Dante Stakes with seven wins and the Musidora stakes with nine triumphs, and although not the leading trainer in the Yorkshire Cup, his four wins together with sixteen in the other two races, certainly make for impressive reading.

His first Dante Stakes victory came in 1970 with Approval, with Greville Starkey on board, with his final Dante twenty three years later in 1993, with the Pat Eddery mount Tenby. Back to back wins in 1981 and 1982 saw Henry get off the mark in the Yorkshire Cup, with his final victory coming in 2010 with Manifest. Nine wins between 1985 and 2010 in the Musidora Stakes make for an excellent record at the Dante Festival.

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