John Gosden’s talented Fencing was far from disgraced in finishing third behind Bonfire in the Group 2 Dante Stakes at York’s May meeting on his first attempt beyond a mile.

However, his overall performance must be considered a shade disappointing, and unlikely to help convince connections to send him two furlongs further in the Investec Derby at Epsom, on June 2, writes Elliot Slater.

Many observers on the Knavesmire felt that the George Strawbridge-owned colt had run the typical race of a non-stayer, moving in behind the leaders a furlong-and-a-half from home, before fizzling out inside the last 200 yards, and apparently running on empty, as he crossed the line nearly five lengths adrift of the Andrew Balding-trained winner.

The winner of last season’s listed Washington Singer Stakes at Newbury over seven furlongs had gone on to run a fine race, when third to the mighty Camelot in the Group 1 Racing Post Trophy at Doncaster, at the end of the term, leaving the impression that he might develop into a genuine middle-distance prospect this term.

Making his seasonal reappearance in the Qipco 2000 Guineas at Newmarket, at the start of the month, the son of Street Cry came with a challenge two furlongs from home, but could not quicken with the principles. He eventually finished a creditable sixth of the 18 runners, behind Camelot.

His York run, however, suggests that, at this stage of his career, 10 furlongs is plenty far enough, and that the extra quarter-mile at Epsom might be beyond his compass.

Many firms took Fencing out their ante-post list for the Derby, following his York effort, whilst those that remain appear divided on his chances, with some going no bigger than 20/1 in the Epsom Derby betting odds, and others offering as big as 50/1 in places.

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