No juvenile race in Europe is more important than the Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket. Since the Cartier Award for champion 2-year-old colt began in 1991, 11 of the 26 awards were given to the Dewhurst winner. It’s also an important guide to future racing: in that same period, 11 Dewhurst winners went on to win classics at three, while another two would be group or grade one winners.
As can be the case for top-level races in Britain and Ireland, Aidan O’Brien and the Coolmore team dominate the entries numerically, with four. Unusually, though, the two favorites are not his.
Heading the market at 4-6 with bookmakers is Expert Eye, trained by Sir Michael Stoute for Juddmonte Farms owner Prince Khalid Abdullah. He won his first start comfortably before thrashing his rivals in the Vintage Stakes (G2) at Goodwood by 4 ½ lengths.
Also well fancied is Emaraaty, a colt owned by Sheikh Hamdan al Maktoum from the John Gosden stable. He was beaten on debut but then won easily at Newbury, albeit at a lower level than this.
O’Brien’s best chance according to the market is Seahenge. He was well beaten by Expert Eye in the Vintage Stakes but bounced back to take the Champagne Stakes (G2) at Doncaster.
Another top O’Brien chance is U S Navy Flag, winner of the six-furlong Middle Park Stakes (G1). He is a brother to multiple group one-winning filly Roly Poly, but there may be some question marks about his ability to stay seven furlongs.
Run over a straight seven furlongs on Newmarket’s Rowley Mile course, the Dewhurst can be a tactical race, but there should be some pace this year.
Expert Eye’s Vintage Stakes victory is one of the most eye-catching 2-year-old efforts this season, and he looks the one to beat. Emaraaty will have his fans, and don’t be surprised if one of the O’Brien runners makes a good showing either.