Archie Watson has made a terrific start to 2018 and his multiple winner Brandon Castle is one of 27 entries for the Group 2 Yorkshire Cup, which will take place at York on Friday 18 May.
The son of Dylan Thomas, who carries the colours of owner Chris Hirst, has enjoyed a meteoric rise since joining Lambourn-based Watson last summer.
The six-year-old has triumphed six times for Watson, most recently when taking the £100,000 Queen’s Cup at Musselburgh last Saturday.
The upwardly mobile stayer mastered his rivals from the front that day and Watson is optimistic that he can make his mark in Pattern race company this season.
Watson, who has already trained 25 winners this year, said: “I think he has improved 37lb since we got him and he continues to progress.
“It helps that he absolutely loves deep ground and when he gets these conditions it makes it hard for the others to peg him back.
“Because of his running style, I think the smaller fields of these races will suit him more than big-field handicaps where there is always something to take him on.
“The plan is to go to the Further Flight at Nottingham and if that goes well then the race (Yorkshire Cup) would definitely be on the radar.”
Stradivarius could be one of the top staying prospects for the 2018 campaign and he is one of three entries in the mile-and-six-furlong Yorkshire Cup made by trainer John Gosden.
The Group 1 Goodwood Cup hero is joined by Clarehaven stable-mates Muntahaa and Weekender in the £165,000 race.
Godolphin are also well represented in the entry through Frontiersman, Rare Rhythm, Red Galileo and Twilight Payment.
Three of that quartet ran last Saturday at Meydan in the Dubai Gold Cup in which Rare Rhythm was third, Frontiersman fourth and Red Galileo sixth behind three-time winner of that race, Vazirabad.
Wicklow Brave, now nine, could make his third visit to York for trainer Willie Mullins. He finished second in the 2015 Ebor and third in the following season’s Weatherbys Hamilton Lonsdale Cup.
New this season, the Yorkshire Cup forms part of the Weatherbys Hamilton £1 million bonus, a series of races that seek to promote and reward the stayers division.
The Dante Festival runs from Wednesday 16 May 16 to Friday 18 May inclusive.
For tickets please call 01904 620911 x 225 or visit www.yorkracecourse.co.uk