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Air Force Blue To Cruise To Dewhurst Victory

Quite often a race which provides vital clues for next year’s Classics, Saturday’s Group 1 Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket (3.10) is shaping-up to be another informative renewal.

Two Guineas Prospects Do Battle
Currently heading the market is Godolphin’s unbeaten colt, Emotionless (10/11), who earned his price by blowing the opposition away in the Group 2 Champagne Stakes at Doncaster last month (7f, good). He quickened like a smart one that day, clearly relishing the decent surface which looks forecast for Newmarket on Saturday, where Emotionless won his maiden over C&D in August.

His performance at Doncaster also saw money arrive for next year’s 2,000 Guineas, where he is 5/1, though another tidy win on Saturday could see those odds slashed.

Charlie Appleby’s colt certainly ticks all the boxes, although trends followers may point out that he is a touch inexperienced with just two career outings, compared to previous winners…

Dewhurst Trends
Of the last 10 winners…
10 had three outings or more
10 were beaten no more than 3l last time
9 had a 16-60 day rest period beforehand
9 ran over 7f/1m last time – those that ran over 6f were 1-22
8 ran in a Group race last time
7 ran at the Curragh last time
J Bolger won it five times, A O’Brien twice

Strong Irish Challenge
The above trends also highlight the outstanding record Irish trainers hold in the race, including Aidan O’Brien, who enters the current 2,000 Guineas favourite, Air Force Blue (7/2), who is a touch bigger than Emotionless to win on Saturday at 5/4.

Having finished runner-up in a Group 2 at Royal Ascot, Air Force Blue then stepped up to land a couple of Group 1’s the last twice. The first came over 6f at the Curragh, prior to an even more impressive display over 7f when pushed clear to win easily by 3l.

His ability to handle good ground will be an asset on Saturday, and like Emotionless, could see his price for Classic glory cut if winning here.

But, with Jim Bolger winning this race on five occasions, could there be a shock in store via his 20/1 shot, Sanus Per Aquam? Beaten in a couple of Group 3’s prior to finally winning one over Saturday’s C&D last month, he must be deemed good enough by Bolger if lining-up here.

Each-Way Value
There are also a couple of 14/1 shots in the mix, namely the newmarket-trainer pair, Massaat and Tashweeq. Of the pair, preference is for the latter, who took his career record to 2-3 in winning a Listed event at Doncaster last month (7f, good). This represents a step up, but John Gosden obviously rates him.

Recommended Bets
A cracking match-up between two high-class colts in Air Force Blue and Emotionless…

…where the nod goes to Air Force Blue, who is more experienced and may use that to effect under Ryan Moore.

*Prices correct at time of publication.