05/18/2006 12:00AM

Easy victory for Septimus in soft Dante


On paper, it will look like a mighty triumph for Septimus, but in reality his eight-length Dante Stakes victory at York on Thursday was a questionable affair that should not overly concern the connections of the Epsom Derby favorite, Visindar.

Under testing soft ground conditions, Septimus, an Aidan O'Brien-trained son of Sadler's Wells, cruised to a handy score over five rivals who simply couldn't handle the going in this 1 1/4-mile, 88-yard Group 2 prep for the Epsom Derby. Kieren Fallon had everything his own way as he guided the favored 3-1 winner into the lead just inside the quarter pole. Best Alibi was second, with the other four strung out up the track. There were 11 more lengths back to Snoqualmie Boy in third, with Leningrad 1 1/2 lengths farther behind in fourth.

Godolphin's early-season woes continued as their multimillion-dollar purchase Palace Episode, who had beaten Septimus and Best Alibi when he won the Group 1 Racing Post Trophy on Oct. 23, tailed off to last, 57 1/2 lengths behind the winner. Septimus was timed in 2:17.55, nearly two seconds slower than Short Skirt's clocking over the same distance in Wednesday's Musidora Stakes.

Out of a Darshaan mare who won going 1 1/2 miles, Septimus will now head for the June 3 Derby at Epsom, where he could be joined by stablemates Dylan Thomas, Horatio Nelson, and Papal Bull.