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Fencing can put rivals to sword in Dante

Fencing ran a race full of promise when sixth in the 2000 Guineas and he has to be rated a major contender for the Betfred Dante Stakes at York.

John Gosden's American-bred colt was a seriously high-class juvenile, opening his account with a brilliant performance in a Newbury Listed race in August.

He signed off for the year with a fine third behind Camelot in the Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster to leave connections dreaming over the winter.

His early-season preparations did not go entirely according to plan, with a setback ruling him out of a run in the Greenham Stakes, and he therefore headed straight for the colts' Classic.

He was beaten a few lengths further by Guineas hero Camelot than he was at Doncaster, but he should strip fitter now and with the step up to a mile and a quarter expected to suit, he probably sets the standard.

The major supporting race to the Dante is the Betfred Middleton Stakes, which has been claimed by multiple Group One-winning mares Sariska and Midday for the last two years.

One with stronger claims than most is Saeed bin Suroor's Sajjhaa. The five-year-old was a three-time winner when trained by Michael Jarvis in 2010, signing off with a Group Three victory.

Pearl Secret has been hugely impressive on his two starts to date and a hat-trick could be in the offing in the British Stallion Studs Supporting British Racing EBF Sprint Conditions Stakes.

David Barron talked in glowing terms about the three-year-old after his victory at York and he looked even better on his comeback at Doncaster.

The best bet at Salisbury is the David Lanigan-trained Shestheman, who goes in the Bathwick Tyres British Stallion Studs EBF Fillies' Handicap.

Fort Bastion should take a bit of beating in the Orbital Food Machinery Conditions Stakes at Newmarket for Richard Hannon and Richard Hughes.

It Was Me has obvious claims in the Grant's Cherry Brandy South East Novices' Hunters' Chase at Folkestone, while Salomo should be hard to beat in Ludlow's Lycetts Insurance Brokers Novices' Handicap Hurdle.

Naiad Du Misselot could land the Timothy Hardie Jewellers Novices' Chase.


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