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Dewhurst Stakes Tips: Back this one to Thunder home

Pinatubo confirmed his star status in the Dewhurst last year.
Pinatubo confirmed his star status in the Dewhurst last year.

Joe Tuffin takes a look at Saturday's Dewhurst Stakes, a race won by some of racing's most memorable names throughout its history...

If you were to think of some of the star two-year-old’s of the last few years, there is a very high chance that they competed in or even won the Dewhurst Stakes. Seen as one of the highlights of the juvenile calendar, the seven-furlong Group 1 event boasts a fine roll of honour which features the likes of Rock Of Gibraltar, Shamardal, Teofilo and Frankel, and more recently Pinatubo and Too Darn Hot. In short, whoever dots up at 14.55 at Newmarket on Saturday will likely have the world at their feet and a fair bit of pressure on their back.

In what looks like an incredibly fascinating renewal of the race, we can expect one unbeaten star to lose their faultless form line full of ones - providing they don’t dead-heat of course - as Richard Hannon’s Chindit and Joseph O’Brien’s Thunder Moon go head to head in a bid to keep those 1s rolling in. Both have shown signs of potential superstar status in their respective three and two runs, though the latter is the only one in the field with an elusive Group 1 already to his name, having bagged the Vincent O’Brien National Stakes at The Curragh races last month. It was an impressive win at that, scything through the congested field and exploding through the gap which Declan McDonogh patiently waited a furlong for. So impressive it was, that I’ll put my neck out on the line and suggest that it should have been enough to warrant favouritism for this event, though at the time of writing you can currently get some 11/4 about him. He re opposes two of those rivals here in Wembley and Sir Mark’s Basilica, both belonging to Aidan O’Brien, but even he may be thinking this is a training performance too far as both were firmly put in their place that day by the inconvenienced Thunder Moon. Whether or not the Vincent O’Brien win was a case of good horse, very good ride or very good horse, very good ride, remains to be seen, but I expect there’s plenty more under this colt's bonnet and he certainly looks like the one to side with here.

The aforementioned Chindit will be the one fetching most of the headlines in the build up to the race, as he’s looked fairly faultless in all three of his winning starts - most recently at Group 2 level in the seven-furlong Champagne Stakes. He was sent off as the 15/8 second favourite that day and travelled into the race nicely before moving from the rear to take up the lead at the furlong pole, entering into a bit of scrap with Albasheer but prevailing by a length. He certainly looks very talented and you can expect more to come from him, but Albasheer could have something to say yet and there is a chance he could reverse the form. He was away fairly slowly, taking a bit of time to get into stride, and was also the first of the main fancies to break cover - leaving him a bit lonely at the front and allowing Chindit to nip up his inside. If he can break with the line on Saturday then he is certainly a big player here at a backable price, though reeling in Thunder Moon could just be beyond his capabilities. Also coming out of that race into the Dewhurst is the Tom Dascombe-trained Devious Company, who with six races under his belt makes him the most experienced in this field. He showed plenty of early promise, finishing second at Group 2 level twice, but seems to have gone off the boil in his last two runs and finished fifth at Doncaster seemingly excuseless - he’ll have his work cut out here.

Most of the remaining challengers are making the step up from six-furlong to seven for this event, with the exemption of Decisive Edge, who is taking a big step up grade here and will have to improve plenty to feature, and Jessica Harrington’s Cadillac, a two time winner who’s dropping down from a mile after landing the Group 2 Champions Juvenile Stakes at Leopardstown races by three-and-a-half-lengths. He showed plenty of talent that day but there is the sense his best performances at the moment will come at eight-furlongs, and his presence at the top of the market for the Breeders Cup Juvenile Turf only reinforces that. An interesting runner, but possibly a watching brief for this one.

Three that will be stepping up from six furlongs and are of interest are Devilwala, Fivethousandtoone and Alkumait, who have already battled it out in the Group 2 Mill Reef Stakes, with the latter beating the second home. Fivethousandtoone assured he’d never be sent off at a price reflective of his name when flying home on his second start without a sign of movement from jockey Silvestre De Sousa, and was rightfully sent to Newbury races as the favourite. He looked to have every chance at the two furlong pole but Alkumait simply had more to offer and he readily pulled clear to win by just under a length. Both shape as if the trip will be no concern, but there is more eye-catching form on offer and though It’s hard to write them off as solid each-way plays, the win may be beyond them. Devilwala was beaten into seventh and although second in the Gimcrack, he hasn’t shown enough to suggest he’ll reverse the form - which he’ll need to do here and some.

More interest comes from Her Majesty’s Royal Ascot winner Tactical, who threw his cap into the ‘best juvenile of 2020’ ring when gliding home in the Listed Windsor Castle Stakes and following that up with a cosy success in the Group 2 July Stakes. There was a lot of excitement around this colt at the start of the year, particularly from Champion Jockey Oisin Murphy, but his last two runs at Group 1 level have been fruitless, finishing fifth and fourth respectively. Again, there isn’t much to say in terms of excuses for him, and though the results are still admirable there’s nothing to suggest that the extra furlong will reverse the sliding form and he may just finish outside the placings once again.

Etonian is the final one of note who will take his place at Newmarket, another unbeaten runner who has shown he is capable of cutting it at Group level after landing the Group 3 Solario Stakes in August. He won readily that day and for sure has some big runs in him, but the form of that race looks poor, with only one following up with a win - at Class 2 level - and he may be caught out by these classier looking rivals.

Poetic Flare completes the field, a once raced winner who is stepping up from five-furlongs but is very hard to recommend based on the standard of horse he beat at Naas back in March.


Dewhurst Stakes, Newmarket, Saturday 10th October - back Thunder Moon win at 11/4.

Dewhurst Stakes
Thunder Moon silk

Thunder Moon

Currently unbeaten after two runs, Thunder Moon showed he had talent in abundance when winning the Group 1 Vincent O'Brien Stakes despite encountering plenty of trouble in running. He seems to have plenty of gears and a clear run this time could see him dot up and record a second Group 1 win from only his third run.

Dewhurst Stakes Odds
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