Dewhurst Stakes Preview – Saturday 8th October

Last updated: October 7, 2016 by Leon Marshal

The £500,000 Group 1 Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket is one of the most prestigious two-year-old races of the season. The race has produced numerous subsequent Classic winners over the years and the roll of honour is littered with famous names of the turf.

Nijinsky (1969), Mill Reef (1970), Grundy (1974), Wollow (1975) and The Minstrel (1976) all won the Dewhurst before going on to Classic success the following season. Other famous winners include El Gran Senor (1983), Generous (1990), Dr Devious (1991), Zafonic (1992) and Rock Of Gibraltar (2001). The great Frankel won the race in 2010 on his way to super-stardom while Dawn Approach (2012) was the most recent Dewhurst winner to go to win a Classic the following season.


Churchill odds-on for Dewhurst Stakes

Aidan O’Brien will find it difficult to surpass last weekend’s 1,2,3 in the Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe but has the odds-on favourite for the Dewhurst in Churchill.

The son of Galileo currently heads the market for next year’s 2000 Guineas following his brilliant four and a quarter lengths victory over Mehmas in the National Stakes at the Curragh. He was beaten on his debut at the same course in May but won the Listed Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot next time. He has been more impressive in each subsequent outing and his latest success earned quotes as short as 5-2 for the Guineas.

He has not been winning his races on the bridle and briefly looked in trouble when Mehmas loomed up alongside in the National Stakes. Richard Hannon’s runner probably failed to stay the seven furlongs and jockey Ryan Moore has already said that he believes Churchill will definitely stay at least ten furlongs next season. That would bring the Epsom Derby into the equation but we will learn a great deal more about his Classic prospects this weekend.

Going concerns for South Seas

His closest market rival is South Seas, a colt by Lope De Vega trained by Andrew Balding for Qatar Racing. He is unbeaten in three races including the Group 3 Solario Stakes at Sandown in August. He was slowly away but settled nicely in midfield for Oisin Murphy before making a decisive move at the furlong pole.

He ran on strongly to beat Salouen by two and a quarter lengths with Eqtiraan back in third. The runner-up boosted the form when second in a Group 1 at Chantilly next time but Eqtiraan was surprisingly beaten at odds-on. All three victories for South Seas have come with plenty of cut in the ground so fast ground would be a concern.

Charlie Appleby has elected to run Blue Point, a beaten favourite in the Group 1 Middle Park Stakes last month. He won the Gimcrack Stakes at York in fine style but the form was reversed by The Last Lion at Newmarket. He is a free-going colt and is yet to race beyond six furlongs.


Seven Heavens the dark horse in Dewhurst line-up

The dark horse of the race is Roger Charlton’s Seven Heavens, a colt by Frankel out of Heaven Sent by Pivotal. He beat Lockheed on his debut at Ascot before easily defeating his only rival over seven furlongs at Goodwood.

William Haggas sent out a record 37 winners in September and will be hoping that Rivet can continue the excellent form of his Newmarket stable. He won the valuable Convivial Maiden Stakes at York before scraping home from Thunder Snow in the Group 2 Champagne Stakes at Doncaster.

He was all out to beat Saeed bin Suroor’s colt by a head so further improvement is needed if he is to trouble the favourite on Saturday. Andrea Atzeni rides Rivet with Jim Crowley partnering Thunder Snow. The field is completed by Lancaster Bomber who is in to set the pace for Churchill and will be ridden by Colm O’Donoghue.

Dewhurst Stakes Betting Tips

Churchill @4-5 Betway

The Dewhurst Stakes is due off at 3.30 on Saturday 8th October and will be televised live on Channel 4.