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Dewhurst Stakes preview

The standout race on Future Champions Day at Newmarket is undoubtedly the Dubai Dewhurst Stakes. Worth a cool half-mill, we have a stack of picket fences in the formlines and most of the top stables represented. And after the incredible Galileo-sired, O'Brien-trained 1-2-3 at Chantilly last weekend in the Arc, is it really that surprising that the odds-on favourite for the race is yet another by the 18yo super-sire? It's as if he knows his son Frankel is about to take over, but he's over there saying "Wait your turn sonny...".

Returning to the blog to preview this cracking juvenile contest is aspiring journalist Conor Stroud, @conorstroud95. Prices shown are general market prices at time of posting.

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Dubai Dewhurst Stakes
A breeders race, for 2yo colts and fillies only
£500,000, 7f, Group 1
Newmarket, 1530 Saturday BST, 0130 Sunday AEST


Blue Point – 6/1
Charlie Appleby’s charge in this race comes in the form of Gimcrack winner Blue Point, who is likely to be well fancied despite being turned over in the late stages of the Middle Park Stakes just two weeks ago by The Last Lion. Winning three of five starts, he was beaten firstly by Mehmas in the Richmond Stakes before the aforementioned defeat in the Middle Park. He will likely need to improve on the recent effort if William Buick is going to pick up Group One honours.

Churchill – 8/11
Aidan O’Brien hardly needs any introduction, but if anyone wanted further proof of his genius should look no further than the Arc race last weekend, as Found, Highland Reel and Order of St George filled the first three spots. Another off the conveyor belt at Ballydoyle is the National Stakes winner Churchill. He couldn’t have been more impressive when beating the solid yardstick in Mehmas by over four lengths, after winning the Windsor Castle at Royal Ascot. A performance close to the one last month over the same distance will surely see him and Ryan Moore pick up the prize.

Lancaster Bomber – 66/1
O’Brien’s other horse in the contest is a little harder to place, having been well beaten on the last two occasions by Churchill by a combined 14 lengths. Colm O’Donoghue picks up the ride and while is unlikely to be employed as a pacemaker, you’d have to think that Lancaster Bomber will be fighting for the minor honours. If Churchill is as good as the hype, then O’Donoghue could find himself in the running for a place.

Rivet – 9/1
William Haggas trains the well-bred Rivet, who made a very good impression when winning a good maiden at York easily, and since made a very big step up into Group Two class at Doncaster. Despite Thunder Snow (who also runs here) having experience, Rivet overcame that to knuckle down in the latter stages and get up by a nose. Haggas was a little disappointed despite the win, which shows how much he thinks of this horse. Will be my next best to Churchill, and with further improvement may not be far away.

Seven Heavens – 15/2
This son of Frankel has done everything right so far, which admittedly isn’t all that much since winning on debut. He was very well backed when winning his Ascot maiden, and went onto win a Goodwood conditions stakes against just one opponent who hasn’t franked the form. So Seven Heavens is definitely a horse we don’t know all that much about, but a huge step up will be needed to come from effectively winning a maiden to winning the biggest two-year-old race so far this year. Wouldn’t discount by any means with that breeding, but couldn’t back given the lack of knowledge about the horse, the market could tell how much of a chance he has.

South Seas – 6/1

A horse that looks destined to stay further, South Seas is another unbeaten horse, and does have Group honours after winning the Solario Stakes comfortably. This was after one of the best debuts we have seen this season, dismantling the maiden field by eight lengths at Windsor. Oisin Murphy picks up the ride for Qatar Racing, who won a novice race at Haydock before the Group 3 win at Sandown. He hasn’t faced ground this quick so that could be a concern but also could bring out further improvement. Should be a big player in this field.

Thunder Snow – 16/1
Leicester maiden winner Thunder Snow is the other Godolphin runner in the race, having been defeated on every occasion since winning on debut. In the Coventry Stakes he was second in his group behind Caravaggio which was no bad effort, and was then second in a Goodwood Group Two behind War Decree. He was then very well backed to win the Champagne Stakes against Rivet, but was headed in the closing stages to again frustrate trainer Saeed Bin Suroor. With further progress expected from Rivet, he may be a little exposed in this field, but does have very good form in the book which others lack, so could be a very viable each-way bet.

Verdict
If Churchill can repeat the performance when cruising past Mehmas in Ireland, he will be very tough to beat. There could definitely be further improvement from Rivet and Seven Heavens, along with South Seas, so Ryan Moore may not have it all his own way. Both the Godolphin runners need to find another gear to win this, which narrows this down to just four runners I think. I can’t look away from Churchill, with Rivet and South Seas to complete the placings.

1. Churchill
2. Rivet
3. South Seas

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