Charlie Appleby feels this afternoon’s Dante Stakes (15:00) at York is the ideal Classic test for Line Of Duty.

Last season’s Derby-winning trainer sends Line Of Duty into battle on the Knavesmire in his reappearance, hoping to find that he’s a candidate for Epsom next month.

The Godolphin-owned colt rounded off his juvenile campaign with three successive wins, bringing up his hat-trick in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf at Churchill Downs in November.

Appleby swerved the 2,000 Guineas this month at Newmarket with Line Of Duty and, thereafter, there was only one target in mind for his charge, who is 7/1 with Betfred to win the Dante Stakes.

“He is giving us all the indications that a step up in trip will hopefully see more improvement, which is going to be needed,” Appleby said.

“Physically he has done well from two to three. He is a neat horse in size, but he has filled out in all the right places.

“It was always going to be the Dante to step him up in because – although you have the trials at Chester – the ones that stand out as trials to find a Derby horse are the Guineas and the Dante.”

Last season’s champion two-year-old Too Darn Hot is 10/11 favourite to make a winning reappearance for John Gosden. He, too, missed the Guineas and will put his unbeaten record on the line as he races beyond 7f for the first time in his career.

Aidan O’Brien has been monopolising Derby trials of late and the Ballydoyle handler sends Japan to Yorkshire for the Dante. A field of eight are set to line up and Appleby feels any positives from Line Of Duty would certainly bode well for next month’s Epsom Classic.

He added: “I know there is only a small field, but it was important to run him back on a turning track. I think if he is good enough in the Dante it will justify looking at the Derby – and if he is good enough to turn up in the Derby, I think it will be a track he enjoys.”

“He likes the hustle and bustle – and as we saw in America, he doesn’t go down without a fight.”

Odds subject to change.