Griffiths sweet on Firenze

Duke Of Firenze (left) will bid for his second 'Dash'

Trainer David Griffiths is confident Duke Of Firenze is at the top of his game ahead of his bid for a second victory in the Investec Corporate Banking "Dash" at Epsom on Saturday.

It is four years since the eight-year-old claimed the fiercely competitive handicap, when trained by Sir Michael Stoute.

But Duke Of Firenze has arguably been in the form of his life since being he was snapped up by Doncaster-based Griffiths at the start of last season for the relatively modest fee of 16,000 guineas.

He opened his account for new connections at York last May before finishing third in this event 12 months ago.

Duke Of Firenze returns to Epsom significantly higher in the weights, but in fine fettle after winning again at York just over a fortnight ago.

Griffiths said: "I thought it was a really good performance at York under top weight and even though he handled the soft ground well, I definitely think he's better on good or good to firm ground.

"He's come out of the race unbelievably well, to be honest. I'm delighted with him going into the race on Saturday.

"The handicapper thinks he's better than he was last year, obviously, and realistically, this could be his last chance in a handicap.

"He ran well in the Prix de l'Abbaye last year (finished sixth) and he's probably a Group horse running in a handicap.

"You need a lot of luck in these races, but I think he goes there with a good chance."

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Caspian Prince is chasing a third Dash triumph, having struck gold in 2014 for Tony Carroll and in 2016 for Dean Ivory.

He is now trained by Tony Coyle, who said: "He's in good form, but we could definitely do with a better draw (stall one).

"It's very tough from there, so we'll see what happens."

Desert Law led home a one-two for trainer Paul Midgley in the 2015 renewal of the Dash.

The nine-year-old endured a frustrating campaign last season, but showed he retains plenty of ability and enthusiasm with an impressive comeback success at Musselburgh.

"We could just never get him right last year, but he was excellent at Musselburgh," said Midgley.

"He goes well fresh, so we decided to sit tight and wait for the big one and he goes there in great form."

The Westow handler also saddles Line Of Reason and Olivia Fallow.

Midgley added: "Line Of Reason ran well at York the other day considering the rain they had and he's potentially very well handicapped.

"He's never run at Epsom, but it shouldn't be a problem and I can see him running a massive race.

"Olivia Fallow has always threatened to win a go big one and she has no weight on her back, so I wouldn't be surprised to see her run well, too."

The John Quinn-trained El Astronaute is two from two this season after scoring at Newmarket and Chester and won over the course and distance last summer.

Quinn said: "He's in very good form, touch-wood.

"He's won twice this year and has won at the track before, so we're looking forward to it."

Other contenders include Richard Fahey's Kimberella, the David O'Meara-trained Edward Lewis and Boom The Groom from Tony Carroll's yard.


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