05/14/2008 11:00PM

Tartan Bearer pulls Dante upset at York


Tartan Bearer caused a 10-1 surprise at York on Thursday, winning the Group 2, $291,000 Dante Stakes by a head from the 14-1 Frozen Fire, with the Epsom Derby favorite Twice Over a one-paced third, 2 1/2 lengths behind the runner-up.

Trained by Michael Stoute, Tartan Bearer won a maiden race on April 26, going 1 1/4 miles at Leicester. A Spectrum full brother to the 2000 Guineas and King George winner Golan, Tartan Bearer covered the 1 1/4 miles, 85 yards in 2:09.50 on good to firm ground and looks like a horse very much on the improve on his way to the Epsom Derby on June 7. He is now vying for Derby favoritism with Curtain Call and Casual Conquest, who must yet be supplemented to the 1 1/2-mile classic. Twice Over, meanwhile, has been removed from Derby consideration by trainer Henry Cecil.

* Saturday's $388,000 Lockinge Stakes at Newbury will be the first Group 1 mile of the year in Europe for older horses. A wide-open affair, it features the intriguing Phoenix Tower, a Henry Cecil-trained son of Chester House who returned form an 11-month absence caused by a fractured pelvis on April 17 to extend his undefeated streak to four with a victory in the 1 1/8-mile Group 3 Earl of Sefton Stakes.

Ascot specialist Cesare made it 3 for 3 at his favorite course two weeks ago by winning the one-mile listed Paradise Stakes, but is stepping up in class. Astronomer Royal is winless in four tries since landing the French 2000 Guineas a year ago, while his Aidan O'Brien-trained stablemate Haradasun, a two-time Group 1 winner in Australia, will makes his European debut riding a seven-race losing streak. Creachadoir, a three-time Group 3 winner last year for his Godolphin connections, should improve off his three-length eighth in the Dubai Duty Free.