Trainer Aidan O’Brien chases his 19th Grade One success in the Dewhurst Stakes on Saturday as he hunts down Bobby Frankels’ world record. There’s a seven runner field to navigate at Newmarket, but luckily there’s no need to melt your brain with form study – because the Timeform boffins have broken it down runner-by-runner. Happy days.
1. Blue Point (Charlie Appleby) Imposing individual who won 6 furlong minor events at Nottingham in June, Doncaster (by 11 lengths, in a very good time) in July and Gimcrack Stakes (by three lengths) in August. Beaten favourite both other starts, though that doesn’t tell the full story as he was unsuited by making his own running when a neck second in the Richmond and unable to reel in The Last Lion (third in Gimcrack) in the Middle Park Stakes a fortnight ago. Likely to stay 7 furlong and big run expected.
2. Churchill (Aidan O’Brien) By Galileo out of a two-year-old 5 furlong winner from the family of Cheveley Park winner Airwave and he looks to have the right blend of precociousness, speed and scope for improvement. Won Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot in June, Tyros Stakes at Leopardstown in July and Futurity Stakes at the Curragh in August. Didn’t need to improve when completing four-timer in National Stakes recently by four and a quarter lengths from Mehmas. Major player for the yard who have won two of the last three runnings of this race.
3. Lancaster Bomber (Aidan O’Brien) Half-brother to three winners, including top-class winner up to 1 mile Excelebration. Won maiden at Leopardstown (7 furlongs) in August by short head and has run to similar level in two starts behind Churchill since, including when acting as a pacemaker for his stable companion in National Stakes last time. Expected to assume a similar role here.
4. Rivet (William Haggas) Brother to useful 7 furlong winner Out And About and closely related to several winners, including smart 1¼ mile winner Alexander Pope. Shaped with promise under hands and heels riding at Ascot (6 furlong) on debut and successful over 7 furlongs on both starts since – in a maiden at York and in the six-runner Champagne Stakes at Doncaster, knuckling down well to beat Thunder Snow by a head (pair clear). Sure to improve further and one to bear in mind.
5. Seven Heavens (John Gosden) By Frankel out of dual Dahlia Stakes winner (and four-time Group 1-placed) Heaven Sent. Won strong 6 furlong maiden at Ascot (second, fourth, sixth, seventh and eighth all won since) in July by length from Lockheed and shrugged off eight-week absence when easily following up in two-runner 7 furlong minor event at Goodwood. Exciting prospect but will face his first thorough examination here.
6. South Seas (Andrew Balding) Looked something out of the ordinary when winning 6 furlong maiden at Windsor (by eight lengths) in June and didn’t need to improve to win minor event over the same trip at Haydock in July. Completed hat-trick when stepped up to 7 furlongs in the Solario Stakes at Sandown last time, winning by two and a quarter lengths from subsequent French Group 1 runner-up Salouen. Open to further improvement and big run expected.
7. Thunder Snow (Saeed bin Suroor) Half-brother to at least three useful winners, including Fillies’ Mile and 1000 Guineas third Ihtimal. Won maiden at Leicester (6 furlongs) in May on debut before running to similar level when sixth in Coventry Stakes. Showed improvement when runner-up on last two starts – in the Vintage Stakes at Goodwood (one and three-quarter lengths behind War Decree) and in the Champagne Stakes at Doncaster (beaten head by Rivet, pair clear). Still progressing, but perhaps lacks the scope of some of his rivals here.
Timeform Dewhurst Stakes 1-2-3
- South Seas
- Seven Heavens
Timeform Analyst’s Verdict:
SOUTH SEAS probably would be much shorter than his current odds if housed in a more powerful yard and he proved he doesn’t need soft ground when winning the Solario Stakes at Sandown last time. He is the value call over hot-favourite Churchill. Seven Heavens is potentially the big improver in the field so is also feared.