Dewhurst Glory On The Cards For Estidhkaar
The final Group 1 juvenile event on Newmarket’s mouth-watering menu this Friday is the Dewhurst Stakes (4.00)…
…which could well witness a 2,000 Guineas winner in the making.
Estidhkaar (8/11) arrives at HQ having landed two Group 2’s, the first of which came on the July Course at Newmarket (7f, good to soft), before defeating War Envoy just over 1l at Doncaster last month (7f, good) – a slightly bigger margin than Coolmore’s Gleneagles beat War Envoy in France – with Belardo (20/1) over 2l back in fourth.
Blessed with stacks of early pace, Estidhkaar won’t have to rely on early pace on Friday as he can go off in front, and the fact he handles soft ground could make him difficult to peg back.
A rest of 34 days prior to this assignment may also be in her favour according to the trends…
Of the last 10 Dewhurst winners…
10 had a 16-90 day rest period beforehand
9 ran over 7f/1m last time – those stepping up from 6f were only 1-25
9 had three outings or more
9 made the top three last time
8 ran in a Group race last time
8 were Irish or American-bred
7 ran at the Curragh last time
A O’Brien won it twice
But this is certainly no one-horse race, as Godolphin’s, Maftool is very much a live contender at odds of 7/1. Although beaten on his first venture into Group company at Kempton (6f), he improved at 7f when landing a Group 3 over C&D here last month (good). The manner in which Maftool drew clear by over 2l at the finish was impressive, and he won’t be far away if handling the ground.
Of the bigger prices – and remember, three of the last 10 Dewhurst winners returned 14/1 or bigger – Kodi Bear (9/1) has not been seen since winning a Listed race at Ascot in July (7f, good) and is unproven on soft ground, though it’s interesting to note that Smuggler’s Cove (8/1) has attracted money since the final runners were declared on Wednesday.
Aidan O’Brien’s juvenile won only a minor event at Listowel last month (7f, good), before stepping up to land Listed honours at Dundalk last weekend (7f, standard). Those present that day would not have seen an easier winner all year, as Smuggler’s Cove was never off the bridle in hacking up by 7l. If she improves again, the O’Brien’s decision to pitch her into Group 1 level may gain rewards.
Elsewhere, Dutch Connection (12/1) looked held when beaten over 2l by Gleneagles in a Group 1 at the Curragh last month (7f, good to firm) and doesn’t have much scope, although Mark Johnston’s Secret Brief (12/1) won a valuable sales race over C&D a fortnight ago and handles soft ground. He is capable of making the frame at decent odds.
With Coolmore having won this race twice in the last five years, respect goes to Smuggler’s Cove, but with the ground sure to play a big part, Estidhkaar is sure to handle the mud and could have them all in trouble from the front.