As the flat season draws to a close, Newmarket hosts one of the biggest meetings of the campaign, the Future Champions Festival. It’s two days for the juveniles and gives us great insight for the classics of next season.
After taking an in-depth look at the Fillies Mile yesterday, I’m moving onto the Dewhurst Stakes. Raced over the seven-furlong distance, it’s produced some outstanding winners including Pinatubo, Too Darn Hot, Churchill, Dawn Approach and Frankel, just to name a few.
It’s a race that will have huge connotations on next year’s 2000 Guineas market and it’s a contest of the highest quality for the two-year-olds. Taking an in-depth look at the market, here’s the low-down on another exciting Group 1 contest!
Dewhurst Stakes (10th October)
A perfect two out of two, Joseph O’Brien’s charge has looked something special. Both those successes have come at the Curragh, stepping straight out of maiden company to take Group 1 honours on his latest outing.
His National Stakes victory was a magical performance. He had no luck in running and was checked on multiple occasions. When he found his gap, however, he quickened clear in frightening fashion to score very easily.
Perhaps the most exciting juvenile coming out of Ireland in 2020, he rightly sits atop the antepost market.
Winning all three of his starts thus far, Richard Hannon has a smart one in Chindit. He’s not been hard-pressed for any of his successes, stepping out of maiden company to take Listed honours at Ascot in July.
It was no surprise to see him take the Group 2 Champagne Stakes on his latest outing. Catching the eye with the way he travelled into the contest, his ceiling remains completely unknown.
Hannon confirmed after Doncaster this would be his target and he’s clearly enamoured with this colt. It’s not hard to see why and he’s a very exciting prospect.
He was unfancied on debut at Doncaster, but made quite the splash with a dominant success. Unsurprisingly sent off favourite for the Champagne Stakes subsequently, he bumped into Chindit.
There was no disgrace in that defeat, however, tanking into the contest but just finding that rival too strong in the finish. There should be plenty more improvement under the hood, especially as he holds a Derby entry. With not much to split him and the aforementioned rival, a reversal would be no real surprise.
It’s been a standout year for Owen Burrows, and further success could be just around the corner.
Holding a very lofty reputation, he’s won both his starts since a promising Naas debut. Landing the Chesham at Royal Ascot very comfortably, the same comments can be applied to his Vintage Stakes success.
He’s a colt with a very good attitude and he finds plenty for pressure. His Vintage Stakes success was far from flashy, but he always looked in the ascendency and finished his race off very strongly.
Trained by Aidan O’Brien, he’s likely to have taken a big step forward since that Goodwood success. The faster they go early, the better his chances, and he should be granted that scenario in this.
Another horse with three starts under his belt, a nine-length winner on debut at Leopardstown. He went down at odds-on when second in the Group 2 Futurity Stakes at the Curragh subsequently, but made no mistake when last seen at the same level.
Relishing the step up to the mile and the return to better ground, he swept clear at Leopardstown impressively. Dropping back to seven furlongs does raise a small question mark, but he’s a strong traveller and is evidently not short of speed in a finish.
Owen’s Antepost Verdict
Richard Hannon has an obvious chance with Chindit, but Etonian has really caught my eye this season. Winning impressively at Sandown on debut, that form has already been franked by One Ruler finishing third at Listed level.
Returning to Sandown for the Solario Stakes last month, he had plenty go wrong that day. He stumbled on the turn, but he tanked into the contest and there was only one winner as they reached the two-furlong pole.
He accelerated clear when ridden and landed that Group 3 prize in very cosy fashion. With Guineas ambitions next season, connections clearly think plenty of this colt. With a better pace to aim at in the Dewhurst, even better can be expected.