05/12/2009 12:00AM

Crowded House comes back in Dante

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Crowded House joins a very crowded and talented Epsom Derby field on Thursday at York when he will start as the favorite in the Group 2, $226,000 Dante Stakes at 1 1/4 miles, 88 yards.

A son of Rainbow Quest trained by Brian Meehan, Crowded House has not been seen since winning the Group 1 Racing Post Trophy by 3 1/2 lengths on Oct. 25 at Doncaster. He had previously been a half-length second in the Tattersalls Million to subsequent Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf winner Donativum and spent most of the winter as the antepost favorite for the Epsom Derby. Owned by J. Paul Reddam, whose colors were carried by both Wilko and Red Rocks to Breeders' Cup victories, Crowded House will be ridden by Jamie Spencer.

Saeed bin Suroor, who won his first group race of the European season with Mastery in the Derby Italiano on Saturday, saddles Kite Wood. A Galileo colt who won Ascot's Group 3 Autumn Stakes on Oct. 11, Mastery will be making his first start for Godolphin with Frankie Dettori aboard.

The undefeated Redwood returned to action on April 15 with a win in the listed 1 1/8-mile Feilden Stakes at Newmarket. Another unbeaten horse, Nehaam, is coming off a narrow score in the 1 1/4-mile Tattersalls 3-Year-Old Trophy the same day at Newmarket.

Trainer Aidan O'Brien will have two runners in this key classic trial, which has been won of late by subsequent Derby winners North Light, Motivator, and Authorized. Freemantle, a Galileo maiden winner, is the choice of O'Brien's first-string rider, Johnny Murtagh. Colm O'Donoghue will ride Black Bear Island, a Sadler's Wells colt who was third a month ago in the Group 3 Prix La Force at Longchamp.

* Sheikh Mohammed, his Darley Stud, their stallion Halling, and trainer Andre Fabre had themselves a happy day at Saint-Cloud on Tuesday as Cutlass Bay and Cavalryman finished one-two in the Group 2, $176,000 Prix Greffulhe, the last major prep for the June 7 French Derby. Cutlass Bay made it 3 for 3 with a half-length victory, traveling the 1 1/4 miles on holding ground in 2:14.50. He is a full brother to Group 2 King Edward VII Stakes winner Boscobel, bred in the United Arab Emirates and ridden by Frankie Dettori. The coupled entrymates, both sired by Halling, were sent off as the 7-5 second choice behind third-place finisher Allybar.