The Duke’s Weekend Review

It’s a good weekend of racing at Newmarket, with the Dewhurst Stakes a key tester for next season’s Classic Races.  Or, at least sometimes it is a good pointer.

Actually, of the 17 winners of the Dewhurst since the millennium who have raced on as a three year old (Teofilo was retired after winning the 2006 Dewhurst), just seven have gone on to win a Classic race the following season. You might expect that to be higher, given the usual depth of the race, but actually many of them have been precocious two-year-olds, who haven’t transferred their early ability into their three-year-old careers. The important point is that this race has a combination of horses. For some, this race may be as good as they ever get, while for others they may continue to improve into next season and beyond.

Too Darn Hot is the favourite off the back of three wins, including at Doncaster last time. I think people have been a bit swept away with him because he is from such an exciting pedigree. Even-money is very short, given that four of his rivals threw their races away at Doncaster by playing up. He ran well but at the price he is opposable.

Anthony Van Dyck is really interesting. He was a good second in the Group 1 National Stakes in Ireland, especially as the winner edged across him in the closing stages. They were well clear of the rest of the field too. Prior to that he won the Group 2 Futurity Stakes. I think that form should put him in the mix for the win and he gets the vote.

Sangarius will need to improve a fair bit from his latest win at Doncaster but it would not be a surprise if he put in a better performance. Martyn Meade’s Advertise is a Group 1 winner of the Phoenix Stakes, but that was over six furlongs and the extra furlong in this race might be a stretch.

The exciting handicap of Saturday afternoon is the Dubai £500,000 Cesarewitch. With 34 runners, it’s a mission for punters. Stars Over The Sea won the trial for the race and clearly must be respected on that effort, but he does carry a big weight as a result.

Willie Mullins has a hatful. The most interesting of which could be Stratum, who was badly hampered in the Ebor when making a real challenge and he had previously won at Newbury. He looks in with a huge chance based on those two runs. Stablemate Low Sun has bags of potential over this trip too and should enjoy the ground.

Southern France has class as shown with a third in the St Leger. He’s still improving too, so Aidan O’Brien’s horse must be one of the leading candidates.

Further down the list, Vis A Vis is in good form, while Melinoe sneaks in at the bottom of the weights for Sir Mark Prescott. The shrewd trainer adds blinkers for the first time and don’t be surprised if Melinoe outruns her odds of 33/1. The most interesting one off a light weight for me is Golden Spear who was fifth in the race in 2016 off the same handicap mark. He also showed he’s healthy and well when runner-up in the trial for this race a few weeks ago.

It’s tricky to choose from that shortlist, but I will split stakes with two picks; Stratum and Golden Spear. Good luck!

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