ASTAIRE is being primed for Classic glory but Hambleton trainer Kevin Ryan could run his star three-year-old at York's Dante Festival if he proves unable to stay the 2,000 Guineas trip.
The colt is among a quintet of entries from his Sutton Bank stable in the Group 2 Duke of York Clipper Logistics Stakes - a race Ryan has won twice in the last seven years - on Knavesmire on May 14.
Astaire has already won at York, taking the Gimcrack Stakes last year, before triumphing in the Group 1 Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket.
He could be joined in the £100,000 Knavesmire contest by stablemate Hot Streak, who was second to Astaire in that race at headquarters having earlier scooped the Listed Julia Graves Roses Stakes at the Ebor Festival.
Astaire is set to start his season in Greenham Stakes at Newbury a week on Saturday, a race which is likely to decide if he goes for Guineas glory or reverts to sprint distances and comes to York.
Ryan said: “Astaire and Hot Streak have wintered very well. Astaire is being aimed at the Guineas. We will start off over seven furlongs at Newbury in the Greenham and if we are guaranteed he is going to stay, he will go for the Guineas.
“We just want another option if we thought he wasn’t going to stay the mile. That is why he is having a provisional entry in the Duke of York. He will run in the Greenham and then that will tell us where we are going from there.
“Hot Streak will probably go to Newmarket for the Palace House and start there. At the same time, we’ve an option to go York with him if he doesn’t turn up at Newmarket.”
No fewer than 13 horses from nine different Yorkshire stables form part of the 43 strong entry for the York race with Pearl Secret, a winner at the Dante Festival in 2012 and trained by Maunby's David Barron, among that number.
The five-year-old made only one start last season, finishing third in the Group 1 King’s Stand at Royal Ascot, and missed the rest of the campaign with a fractured splint bone.
Barron said: "He has been back in work since December and seems, at this particular moment, in good form. I am not quite certain yet where we will start with him. He is in fast work.
"I would hope we would get a run before we would aim for a race like the Duke of York, anyway. Over this next week or two, if we could find a suitable opportunity we will give him a run somewhere.
“At this moment, things are looking quite good and hopefully we will get back to the track with him. I just hope we get a little bit of luck.”