Newmarket’s two big seven-furlong Group One races for two-year-olds take centre stage on Friday and Saturday, with the Dewhurst Stakes, primarily for the colts, on the latter usually the race to cement the following season’s 2000 Guineas favourite.
Aidan O’Brien has bossed the race lately and is likely to be mob handed this year – while the ante-post market is struggling to separate his entires as Group Two winner Seahenge is shortest of his as the 10/1 fourth-favourite.
The market is dominated by Sir Michael Stoute’s Expert Eye, who trades 4/6 after thrashing Seahenge at Glorious Goodwood, and that’s a price that simply has to be taken on regardless of how good he looked.
O’Brien is the dominant yard and this is the most important two-year-old race of the season, so the lack of an Irish money horse is most unusual.
It is, however, still early in the week and that could all quickly change once riding arrangements are confirmed.
With racing times at last weekend’s meet at Newmarket suggesting the ground is currently quick, the dry forecast points to good-to-firm ground this weekend.
That, coupled with the uncertainty around the O’Brien first string, leaves me thinking the $3m purchase MENDELSSOHN has been flown under the radar at massive odds of 50/1.
He’s been entered for this race for a good while and will have been laid out for it, so O’Brien’s talent for improving two-year-olds in the autumn could see him step up massively on all known form and outrun those odds.
He won his maiden at the second attempt – and did it without setting the world alight – before he was a big disappointment when seventh of seven behind Seahenge in that Doncaster Group Two.
Crucially, that was raced on softish ground and his American breeding suggests he’s a fast-ground horse through and through.
By super-sire Scatt Daddy, whose progeny include leading three-year-old sprinters Lady Aurelia and Caravaggio, he’s out of the same dam as star American dirt horse Beholder, meaning he’s bred very much in the purple.
Stable jockey Ryan Moore rode him over Seahenge at Doncaster hinting that big things are expected of this horse, and he was quite open about him being a work in progress in the build-up.
O’Brien has been quoted this week saying he’s a likely runner this weekend and will be fitted with a hood to help him concentrate in his races, claiming this looks to have helped him at home.
At 50/1 and with the ground in his favour, I think the market might have missed a trick.Leave a comment