The Duke’s Weekend Preview

The Dewhurst Stakes is a really good pointer as we look ahead to next year’s Classic races, with horses like Frankel, Dawn Approach and Churchill recent winners of the race who have gone on to score in the following season’s 2000 Guineas.

The brilliant Frankel was sent off 4/6 favourite for the Dewhurst in 2010 and in this year’s renewal we have a horse who could start even shorter than that; Expert Eye. Interestingly, he also runs in the colours of Khalid Abdullah, who has already had such a fine year with the superstar Arc winner Enable.

Expert Eye has certainly impressed in two starts to date, especially in the latter of those at Goodwood when he swooped home to win the Vintage Stakes. That form has worked out very well and I would not be siding against him in the Dewhurst.

His chief danger could be Emaraaty, a son of Dubawi who looked the part at Newbury on his second start. This is a tougher test, but his trainer and owner often bring horses on gradually and they probably wouldn’t throw him in to this contest without a chance. Seahenge won the Champagne Stakes last time but Ryan Moore prefers US Navy Flag out of four sent over by Ballydoyle. He looks overpriced and whilst he might not have the sheer potential of Expert Eye or Emaraaty, his experience should not be overlooked. US Navy Flag is by War Front, a sire who tends to produce horses who are better at two years old. The Dewhurst will be his ultimate target. War Front also fathered War Command and Air Force Blue who both won the Dewhurst, so while Expert Eye might be the most likely winner, I do think US Navy Flag is good value.

The big betting handicap is the Cesarewitch.

First Mohican is 40/1 in the betting and is 1lb lower than when runner-up in the race last year. He’s worth looking at. Who Dares Wins is a course and distance winner, landing the trial for this race and a 4lb penalty may not stop him putting in another big effort.

Ryan Moore and Willie Mullins combine with Lagostovegas and she comes in to the race after winning a couple of races over hurdles recently. John Constable is respected back on the Flat, while Withhold appears to be on a handy enough mark to get involved for trainer Roger Charlton. I’m going to take a chance with Withhold and at the odds, I’ll throw the each-way pick at First Mohican. Best of luck, you’ll need it!

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