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Darley Dewhurst Stakes (Group 1)
Four wins for Aidan O’Brien and five for Jim Bolger in the last eleven years tell the story of a Group 1 contest dominated by the Irish in recent times. Only Frankel and Belardo have done the business for the ‘home team’ in a race that has been feast or famine for favourite backers. Seven winners from the last eleven have been favourites (five odds on) but 33/1, 20/1, 20/1 and 10/1 winners in the other four years show that it doesn’t always go to plan for punters. Our expert preview for the 2017 Dewhurst Stakes is below.
IN SUMMARY: Expert Eye is all the rage and it’s not any surprise as he routed a field in the Vintage Stakes at Glorious Goodwood and the form has worked out well. He’s the one to beat on ratings but preference is for THEOBALD for Jim Bolger, who has a brilliant record in this race. He’s been runner-up in a pair of Group 3s since debut and connections now reach for the cheekpieces, which should perk him up. He can provide Bolger with his sixth win in the race as he still remains with potential and has Kevin Manning aboard.
1 CARDSHARP – Has been running well of late without managing to gain a fourth success, finishing third in the Group 1 Middle Park Stakes when last seen. A step up to seven furlongs needs to yield improvement and with doubts about his stamina, others are preferred.
2 EMARAATY – Cost 2,600,000gns as a yearling and improved on a fair debut to make all comfortably at Newbury in a Novice race. He remains with significant potential and despite being pitched into the deep end, he is a leading contender for top connections.
3 EXPERT EYE – Won on debut for Sir Michael Stoute before winning the Vintage Stakes at Glorious Goodwood in impressive fashion. That form has worked out very well and he sets the standard, so merits a huge amount of respect as he could be something special.
4 GREAT PROSPECTOR – Useful sort for Richard Fahey but his latest fourth in a Sales race at Doncaster is nowhere near the standard required here. He will be helped by the step up to seven furlongs but should be outclassed here.
5 MENDELSSOHN – Won a maiden at the second attempt at the Curragh but he was completely outclassed in a Group 2 at Doncaster when last seen. He is the fourth string for Aidan O’Brien and should be well held once again here as the first-time blinkers aren’t enough to tempt.
6 SEAHENGE – Has showed marked improvement with each run, posting a career best on his third run to win the Champagne Stakes at Doncaster. Ryan Moore prefers U S Navy Flag but if he improves once again with conditions to suit, he has an each way chance.
7 THEOBALD – Won his debut before two second places in Group 3 company, not running his race when last seen at Leopardstown. Now the cheekpieces go on which should eek out further improvement and with Jim Bolger’s excellent record in this race, he is massively over-priced as he should improve markedly for the headgear.
8 THREEANDFOURPENCE – Ran well to finish second on debut but didn’t need to improve to win his second start at Fairyhouse last month. The form is nothing special and he needs a huge leap forward here to threaten. Unlikely to be involved under Seamie Heffernan.
9 U S NAVY FLAG – Aidan O’Brien first string who has improved markedly on his last two runs, winning a Group 3 at the Curragh before a great success in the Middle Park last month. A step up in trip should only serve to suit him and with potential for even more improvement, he’s a big threat.