THE GREY GATSBY survived a stewards’ inquiry to keep the Betfred Dante Stakes in North Yorkshire – but there are doubts as to whether the three-year-old will be Derby bound.
Twelve months after Libertarian sprang a 33-1 surprise in the leading Epsom trial for Middleham trainers Elaine and Karl Burke, Kevin Ryan’s colt swept away from Arod to land the Group 2 mile-and-a-quarter contest once again for the county.
The Sutton Bank trainer had to keep his fingers crossed, as the stewards deliberated after his charge hung across the track inside the final furlong and forced some of his rivals wide.
But The Grey Gatsby had three-quarters of a length on Arod at the finish and the placings were left unaltered.
The odds-on favourite True Story was being pushed along before The Grey Gatsby, with former champion jockey Ryan Moore in the saddle, veered off his straight line and the Godolphin colt had to settle for third.
The Hambleton handler’s three-year-old doesn’t have an entry for the Epsom Classic next month and the trainer conceded that a trip to Chantilly for the Prix du Jockey Club – held over ten furlongs – could be the more likely destination.
“He’s in the French Derby,” Ryan said. “We will go away, let it all sink in and make a decision in the next 24 hours. I was delighted with him.
“The great thing about him was he hadn’t gone ten yards and he was asleep. Ryan (Moore) wasn’t having to fight him and the horse was switched off.
“When they turned in and started to turn it on he was still in his comfort zone. I thought ‘if he gets the trip he is going to take a lot of beating’.
“He has gone well. He’s quite a fast horse but I am a great believer that a really top class mile and a half horse has to have speed.”
Asked whether the result was a surprise to him, the trainer added: “It’s not a shock. He’s always been a horse we have held in high regard and now I’m thinking about how I won with him over six furlongs last year.
“I think he will be an even better horse on better ground than this. The ground was quite holding but good horses seem to get away with it.
“I definitely don’t think he will be going to Epsom. I don’t think the track will suit him but I don’t want to make a decision like that just now.”
Moore, who received a two day careless riding ban following the contest, believes the Derby should not be considered for The Grey Gatsby.
He said: “It rode a good gallop. I travelled lovely in third, but I was in front too early. When he got to the front he hung right. That is as far as he wants to go.”