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Lancashire Telegraph Racing Column
7:14am Thursday 15th May 2014 in Sport
Bunker is a credible opponent to hot favourite True Story in the Betfred Dante Stakes at York.
Richard Hannon's colt made a big impression as a juvenile and can take the next step along the ladder by claiming this leading trial for the Investec Derby.
True Story is rightly the name on everyone's lips following his pretty dazzling success in the Feilden Stakes at Newmarket last month.
But the Manduro colt is an unknown quantity when there is cut in the ground, a fact deeply concerning trainer Saeed bin Suroor, and this could pave the way for a mini-upset.
Bunker has also never experienced running on anything other than a sound surface, but his sire, Hurricane Run, has already produced lots of horses to have shown a fondness for when the mud is flying.
Although he has yet to be sighted this term, his form as a juvenile was handsomely franked at Longchamp at the weekend.
Karakontie, who was a short-head second to Bunker in the Prix Francois Boutin at Deauville last August, won the French 2000 Guineas on Sunday and looks a horse firmly in the ascendancy.
Before that, Hannon's Classic hope was a really fine second in a particularly strong renewal of the Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Everything he has so far done tends to suggest Bunker will be in his element over a mile and a quarter.
The fact he was supplemented for the Derby earlier in the year might also offer a neat indication as to how much he has thrived during the winter.
Secret Gesture can make a successful return to the fray in the "Betfred £10 Million Scoop6 This Saturday" Middleton Stakes.
Runner-up to stablemate Talent in last season's Investec Oaks, trainer Ralph Beckett must have been chuffed to pieces by the recent rainfall at York.
The Galileo filly is usually at her best when there is ease in the ground, as evidenced by her 10-length romp in the Lingfield Oaks Trial last spring.
To that end, her honourable third behind The Fugue in last season's Yorkshire Oaks deserves to be upgraded as it was very fast on the Knavesmire last August.
Although she then struck out in the Prix de l'Opera on Arc weekend, Secret Gesture might have had enough by the autumn following a demanding year.
That she is even still in a training as a four-year-old is a firm statement of intent.
Fury has a sound chance of claiming a second victory in the Betfred Hambleton Stakes.
William Haggas' six-year-old has never quite fulfilled his true potential, but he won this Listed race off a 9lb lower mark two years ago and likes soft ground.
Ashpan Sam almost certainly needed his run at Newmarket earlier this month and is quite a confident pick in the Betfred Supports Jack Berry House Stakes.
Three times a winner on soft ground, John Spearing's developing sprinter is just 7lb higher than when he annihilated a strong field over six furlongs at Goodwood last October.
Newmarket's evening meeting looks quite informative, with St Paul De Vence taken to shine in the Carrs BMW Handicap.
Paul Cole's four-year-old was only beaten two lengths over an inadequate distance at Pontefract towards the end of April, and should be far better over this mile-and-a-quarter trip.
Quest For More had absolutely no luck on his comeback at Windsor but can gain satisfying restitution in the Chassis Cab DAF Handicap.
War Spirit can post another winner on the board for the Hannon team in the Sally-Ann Fisher Will You Marry Me Handicap at Salisbury, while Be My Deputy looks a decent shout in the Expro Handicap Chase at Perth.
FONTWELL: 5.15 Country Foolery, 5.45 Jacks Lastchance, 6.15 Gamato, 6.50 Double Dizzy, 7.25 Rossmore Lad, 7.55 Marlpit Oak, 8.25 Utopian.
NEWMARKET: 5.25 Celestial Vision, 5.55 St Paul De Vence, 6.25 Venezia, 7.00 Quest For More, 7.35 Cosette, 8.05 The Silver Kebaya, 8.35 Port Alfred.
PERTH: 2.25 Quickasyoucan, 2.55 Man With Van, 3.25 Be My Deputy, 4.00 Sam Lord, 4.35 Debt To Society, 5.05 Dormouse, 5.35 Quiet Account.
SALISBURY: 1.30 Fine Prince, 2.00 Melrose Abbey, 2.35 War Spirit, 3.05 Shama's Song, 3.35 Cascading, 4.10 Black Caesar, 4.45 Burnt Fingers.
TIPPERARY: 4.55 Patsio, 5.30 Realdealholyfield, 6.05 Marshim, 6.35 Corr Point, 7.10 Raise Hell, 7.45 James, 8.15 Flight Line, 8.45 Fiddlers Bow.
YORK: 1.45 Ashpan Sam, 2.15 Secret Gesture, 2.45 BUNKER (NAP), 3.15 Fury, 3.50 Eccleston, 4.25 Portamento, 5.00 Entihaa.
DOUBLE: Bunker and Secret Gesture.
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