Churchill tops Dewhurst 14
Aidan O'Brien's Churchill is one of 14 remaining juveniles in contention for Saturday's Dubai Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket.
Churchill is among 14 remaining in the Dewhurst
Regularly seen as the race which defines the champion two-year-old, the winner is usually propelled towards the head of the betting for the 2000 Guineas.
Churchill already holds that position – as well as in the Derby – due to his wins at Royal Ascot and in the National Stakes, and is likely to be a warm order at the weekend.
O'Brien could also run the classy Capri, Intelligence Cross, Lancaster Bomber, Pennsylvania or Finn McCool.
Charlie Appleby might go to the well once more with Blue Point, narrowly denied a Group One win over six furlongs in the Middle Park. Stablemate Bay Of Poets has also been left in.
Richard Hannon's Larchmont Lad, winner of the Tattersalls Stakes, and Saeed bin Suroor's Thunder Snow, runner-up in the Champagne Stakes, set a decent standard.
However, the home defence is led by Andrew Balding's unbeaten South Seas, who beat Jean -Luc Lagardere second Salouen easily in the Solario Stakes, and John Gosden's Frankel colt Seven Heavens.
Mark Johnston's Rich And Famous should not be discounted, while William Haggas admits Champagne Stakes winner Rivet will have to step up again if he is to strike Group One gold.
The Fastnet Rock colt has won two of three starts this term, putting his debut defeat behind him when winning the Convivial Maiden at York before making a seamless switch to Group Two company in the Champagne Stakes at Doncaster last month.
While Rivet won by upwards of three lengths at York, he had only a head in hand over Thunder Snow on Town Moor and although Haggas rates that rival highly, he knows more is needed of his charge this time.
Haggas, who watched the colt in a spin on the Newmarket gallops on Monday morning, said: "He's a good mover and dry ground will suit him well.
"I've had some out of this mare before, but this is the most precocious by some way. He did show me more speed than the others (juveniles in the yard) and that's why he's got entries in nice races.
"So far it's been a straightforward year, but there are still five days to go.
"I thought the win last time was laboured, but I think the ground was a bit loose for him and I also think the second was quite useful. Andrea (Atzeni) felt he got the run of race on the rail and he's got a bit to find to win a Dewhurst on that run."
Haggas' Lockheed was third in the National Stakes won by Churchill, giving the trainer some extra insight into the form.
He said: "We ran into Churchill in the National Stakes, he's very impressive.
"All his form is on slower ground than it will be on Saturday, but I'm not saying he won't go on faster ground as I'm sure he will go on anything. If it is soft it will be against us and probably favour him."
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