One of the highlights during the early weeks of the Flat season has been the lightning start made by Sir Michael Stoute and it should get even better if Midterm stamps his class all over the Betfred Dante Stakes at York.
After a couple of quiet seasons by his lofty standards, Stoute has started the new campaign with real intent.
Even when at the top of his game Stoute’s string traditionally do not click into gear until the Guineas meeting, but 13 winners during April and a strike-rate of around 30 per cent for the first half of May suggests he has them all ready to rock and roll.
We already know Midterm is fit as he put up a very pleasing display to win the Classic Trial at Sandown, and it depends how romantic you are if you want to read anything into the fact that Shergar took that race for Stoute, too, before landing the big one.
Midterm is famously lazy at home, that is why he was probably sent off at 8-1 for his debut.
But he overcame plenty to win that day and it was very hard not to be impressed by his finishing effort at Sandown, pulling away from Algometer (now rated 109), with eight lengths back to the third, which is usually a good sign.
There are some nice colts taking him on but if Midterm does get beaten, the Derby picture would resemble a jigsaw puzzle without a box.
John Gosden’s horses never seem to need a run so Journey should be pretty straight for the Betfred Middleton Stakes.
She progressed rapidly through the ranks last season, culminating in a fine effort at Ascot on Champions Day when just touched off by Simple Verse.
Outstayed by the St Leger winner that day, despite having already won over a mile and a half, being forcefully ridden over an extended 10 furlongs could be her optimum trip.
York: 2.10 Desert Law, 2.40 Journey, 3.15 MIDTERM (NAP), 3.45 Master The World, 4.15 Exist, 4.45 Gulliver, 5.20 Rite To Reign.
Newmarket: 5.10 Springwood, 5.45 Molten Lava, 6.15 Firnas, 6.45 Goodwood Mirage, 7.20 Delve, 7.55 Percy’s Romance, 8.25 Salvo.
Fontwell: 4.55 Man Of Steel, 5.25 Sonoftheking, 6.00 Polisky, 6.35 Join Together, 7.05 Grandioso, 7.40 The Flying Doc, 8.15 Carnglave Cat.
Perth: 2.15 Outlaw Josey Wales, 2.50 Warriors Tale, 3.25 Curious Carlos, 4.00 Always Tipsy, 4.30 More Madness, 5.00 Voyage A New York, 5.35 Tessie B.
Salisbury: 1.55 Bohemian Flame, 2.25 Intermittent, 3.00 Hold Hands, 3.35 Denham Sound, 4.05 Broughtons Fancy, 4.35 Hitman, 5.05 Verne Castle, 5.40 Welsh Inlet.
Double: Midterm and Journey.