Hemingway Written Off After Dante Stakes

The Aidan O’Brien-trained, Ernest Hemingway, was a persistent whisper in the 48 hours leading up to the Group 2 Dante Stakes at York, on Thursday, and was eventually sent off favourite to land the key Investec Derby trial.

After leading for much of the way, the Irish colt was soon beaten and eventually trailed in a distant last of the seven-runner field behind the exciting middle-distance prospect, Bonfire, writes Elliot Slater.

In hindsight, it might well have been a case of punters betting on the potential latent talent of the son of Galileo, rather than on what he had materially achieved on the racecourse, the three-year-old having raced only once previously. He did, after all, look very useful in demolishing his rivals by 10 lengths in a Dundalk all-weather maiden contest over 11 furlongs, just five weeks earlier.

The step up though from a Polytrack maiden to the most highly regarded Group 2 trial for the world’s premier middle distance contest for horses of his generation proved far too much on the day for Ernest Hemingway.

He probably went off a shade too fast in the lead, under the young Joseph O’Brien, and capitulated all too easily. He was soon allowed to come home in his own time, suggesting that there may well prove a genuine reason for his flop in due course.

O’Brien had won the Dante three times in the previous six years, and the fact that Ernest Hemingway was his chosen representative from a host of initial entries suggests that this first defeat of his career should not be enough to write off this well-bred imposing-looking colt.

However, the Derby must be a remote possibility now for a horse that previously featured at 20/1 in the Epsom Derby betting tips, but has now been removed from the list by almost all firms.

Find more Royal Ascot betting tips, as well as all the best odds for upcoming events, on the Betfair horse racing website.