Tag Archives: Dewhurst

Preview: Dewhurst Stakes 2018

Newmarket Rowley Mile tight finish

Odds-on favourite Too Darn Hot couldn’t have been more impressive in his three career starts. Winning the Champagne Stakes thanks to a deadly turn of foot without making it even remotely look hard work was quite something. He’s hard to oppose on that basis.

On the other hand, analyzing a a metric that I personally hold dearly – time speed ratings – the achievements of those lining up today turn this renewal of the Dewhurst into a more open race than one would have thought, if purely checking the betting market and assessing the left-hand column of the racecard.

Best TS Rating to date: 
Too Darn Hot – 106
Mohawk – 104
Anthony Van Dyck – 103
Advertise – 100

Obviously you can’t take this at face value. There is more to racing and performance. Particularly with these unexposed juveniles, performances can fluctuate, improvement can be sudden and unexpected, also TS ratings depend on circumstances.

Nonetheless, this is an interesting additional layer to interpret performance to date. Certainly what this shows is that TDH is likely to be the best horse in the race on what he’s achieved on the clock to date – but only by a slim margin.

For me the takeaway here is the urge to assess the two O’Brien horses, who ran to career best 103- and 104 TS rating last time out. Anthony Van Dyck’s National Stakes performance certainly rates highly. He’s expected to improve for it and he should make it a race for the favourite. He looks useful type who can progress into a top class individual next year.

In saying that, at given prices, his stable mate Mohawk clearly is a much more interesting individual. Five starts already, he didn’t look anywhere near top level when comprehensively beaten in the Futurity- and National Stakes subsequently.

However, this son of Galileo looked still raw and green to some extend those days. On the other hand, as a January foal, he should be rather forward by now. And he finally turned good last month at Newmarket in the Royal Lodge Stakes.

He looked bigger and better than ever. Granted, it was probably not the strongest of Group 2’s ever ran at HQ, it was still an impressive performance visually, as Mohawk quickened nicely in the closing stages to win a shade cozily. The fact that the visual impression is backed up by the TS rating gives me confidence that this lad has learned and improved, indeed.

The Royal Lodge was over a mile. Dropping back to 7 furlongs, a trip Mohawk was outran in Group company already, isn’t ideal. The rain is coming though, should take the fast out of the ground potentially, and may help to make this race more of a stamina test.

That’s a lot of “could be” and “if’s” to hope for – in saying that, as I am trying to make a case for a 25/1 shot, that’s rather expected. The likely outcome is that Mohawk, with Wayne Lordan in the saddle – which isn’t exactly a vote of confidence – won’t be good enough.

Regardless, the price is too big in a race where we can not predict how these juveniles have progressed since we saw them the last time. Given Mohawk appears to be making significant steps in the right direction I feel he’s got a chance to be competitive today.

Selection:
10pts win – Mohawk @ 25/1 PP

Saturday Selections: May, 5th 2018

Gleneagles

3.35 Newmarket: 2000 Guineas, 1 mile

You can’t deny the fact he has been massively disappointing in his last two runs, however, there were very valid excuses for Expert Eye to finish last in the Dewhurst when a warm favourite to land it, as well as when a slightly underwhelming runner-up in the Greenham a fortnight ago.

Regardless, Expert Eye possesses tons of talent as he proved in the Vintage Stakes last summer – a Group 2 event he took with so much ease only the really good ones are capable of.

No doubt, his chances hinge on him settling early on. We have seen Expert Eye pulling his chances away before, and if we see the same here, him pulling the arms off Andrea Atzeni over the first few furlongs then his race is over before it really started.

That’s the reason why Expert Eye is as big a price as he is. Still too big, as I trust Sir Michael to teach the horse how to settle and his seasonal debut run should help in that regard as well.

Selection:
10pts win – Expert Eye @ 12/1 VC

…….

6.20 Doncaster: Class 3 Handicap, 1 mile

Some interesting horses at the top of the market, though I do prefer the chance of bottom weight Chingachgook. A son of Eclipse winner Al Kazeem (wonderful memories, I was at Sandown that day to see him romp home), in five career starts he has shown plenty of potential.

After few fine performances on the All-Weather over the winter he made his handicap debut at Newcastle in February – the only time he bombed out up until now. Switched to turf for the first time at the end of March at Musselburgh, Chingachgook returned to form.

In bottomless ground conditions he didn’t have an ideal break from the widest draw and found himself for most parts of the race in the uncomfortable position chasing the pack. That’s never good at Musselburgh, particularly in those type of conditions.

Chingachgook also didn’t get the clearest of runs through the field and the bird was flown once he was in the clear. Still, he ran on well to finish a good second, doing anything as the only horse from those held up. The form has been franked by the winner and fourth subsequently.

Same handicap mark, slightly better ground, upped in grade, however having the chance to race off a featherweight – Chingachgook should be able to outrun his price tag. Whether that is enough to beat the better fancied market principles remains to be seen.

Selection:
10pts win – Chingachgook @ 9/1 WH

Saturday’s Flat Tipps

Newmarket Rowley Mile

3.10 Newmarket: Dewhurst Stakes (Group 1), 7f

Two super exciting colts go to post to fight it out here: Aiden O’Brien’s Air Force Blue and Godolphin’s Emotionless. Both created big impressions this season, both look special.

However I feel Air Force Blue should be a clear favourite here, given he already is a two times Group 1 winner – in fact he landed the two most important races for two year olds in Ireland, the Phoenix Stakes and National Stakes – and he seems to get better with each run.

The son of War Front has no issues with the ground today, after winning on yielding ground before. And he looked even more home over the 7f trip in the National Stakes than the sprints.

Air Force Blue @ 6/5 Racebets – 10pts Win

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5.35 Newmarket: Darley Stakes (Group 3), 9f

Mutakayyef is a very fair favourite to land this race but his odds offer no value so I go with lightly raced Ooty Hill who could easily be good enough to win at this level. He looked smart when getting off the mark last year at this venue but has had only two starts since.

A very promising runner-up effort behind subsequent Group 1 scorer Starof Seville was followed by a setback and a half year long lay-off. When he repapered at Newbury last month in an Arc Trial trainer Roger Charlton warned that Ooty Hill will most likely need the run.

The three year old colt dropped out tamely over 3f out which is a worry but he didn’t get a hard time either and one would hope the race has brought him along nicely for today.

Whether that is the case remains to be seen. Some horses never recover from their injuries. Ooty Hill deserves his chance today, though, and if he can find back to his form he’ll be a big runner with conditions very much to suit.

Ooty Hill @ 14/1 Coral – 5pts Win

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6.05 Chelmsford: Nursery (Class 5), 1m

Cogent makes his nursery debut and looks a very likeable sort. An opening mark off 70 looks stiff enough, but given the fact that he was far from disgraced in a super hot maiden when last time seen gives the indication that is a fair start. This son of Paco Boy is related to plenty of decent All-Weather winners and steps up to 1m which on pedigree will suit perfectly.

First time gelded today after a bit off a break, he makes plenty of appeal, given that sons of Paco Boy have often improved quite dramatically after a gelding op in the past. A good draw today is a help too – so in an open race, Cogent could easily outrun his odds.

Cogent @ 12/1 Coral – 5pts Win