Dewhurst Stakes: Let it Snow
Matt Brocklebank runs through the contenders for Saturday's Dubai Dewhurst Stakes and concludes an outsider could be worth support.
Thunder Snow (left): Fancied to run a huge race at rewarding odds
Blue Point, Charlie Appleby (Sky Bet odds: 6/1)
With an official BHA rating of 115 he's already shown an extremely high level of form and the big question here is whether or not the step up to seven furlongs from six can eke out a little more improvement. There is some encouragement in his pedigree (half-brother to multiple one-mile winner Esytopolishadimond) and he was keeping on well enough when just unable to reel in The Last Lion in the Middle Park Stakes last time, but he's looked a sprinter from day one and others are already proven high-class performers over this distance.
Churchill, Aidan O'Brien (8/11)
Like so many from his yard, he stepped up considerably on his debut outing and has won his four subsequent starts, including a four and a quarter-length victory over leading juvenile Mehmas in the Group One National Stakes at the Curragh last month. Obvious doubts over whether Mehmas was ideally suited by seven furlongs on easy ground that day but very hard not to like this imposing son of Galileo, who possesses superstar potential and is already a pretty skinny price for next year's 2000 Guineas.
Lancaster Bomber, Aidan O'Brien (33/1)
Won his maiden at the second time of asking in early-August but has essentially adopted the role of Churchill's pace-setter when stepped up to Group level the last twice and he could be in for a similar time here. Bred to be very smart, being a half-brother to Excelebration and Mull Of Killough, and there's a small chance genuinely fast ground could see this son of War Front suddenly step up a gear, but minor money the best he can hope for based on form shown so far.
Rivet, William Haggas (15/2)
Has improved quite rapidly since being denied on debut at Ascot, running out a wide-margin winner of a York maiden over seven furlongs and doubling up in tenacious fashion from the reopposing Thunder Snow in a Doncaster Group Two. Needs another step forward to win a Dewhurst but impossible to say he won't be able to do so and quick ground should see this Fastnet Rock colt in his best light. Given the doubts over Blue Point (trip) and South Seas (ground), he looks a value alternative to the favourite.
Seven Heavens, John Gosden (15/2)
Son of the great Frankel who took top spot in this race six years ago and although things didn't really go to plan when bumped into and hampered by his only rival at the start at Goodwood last time, he still ran out a ready six-length winner despite racing freely. The form is questionable with the runner-up subsequently fourth of four at Catterick, but hopes are obviously high Seven Heavens can develop into a top prospect for next season. Still has to prove it on the track and others in the line-up look more likely, though John Gosden is not one to call his geese swans so must be respected accordingly.
South Seas, Andrew Balding (11/2)
Has looked a very nice prospect ever since storming to an eight-length victory on his Windsor debut in June and took his form up to somewhere near the level required to be competitive here when justifying favouritism in a Sandown Group Three over seven furlongs last time. More to come no doubt, but notable caveat is that all his public outings to date have come with ease underfoot and there has to be questions over this son of Lope De Vega ability to act on rattling fast ground.
Thunder Snow, Saeed bin Suroor (16/1)
Got the better of fellow Godolphin representative Boynton, only to find War Decree too good in the Vintage Stakes at Glorious Goodwood, and he again filled the runner-up spot when beaten a head by Rivet at Doncaster when last seen. That represented another career best that Town Moor form shouldn't be underestimated. Trainer Saeed bin Suroor is on record stating "he needed that after 45 days off" so further progress can be expected and at the prices there's a case to be said for him being the best value on offer.
The race clearly revolves around Churchill, who tends to briefly look in trouble in his races before finding an extra gear and ultimately winning in style. There's a strong chance he'll repeat the feat and plenty of Aidan O'Brien fans will be happy to get stuck in at 8/11 but this is probably going to be the fastest ground he's raced on. South Seas is unlikely to appreciate the conditions, while Blue Point and Seven Heavens have their own questions to answer, so it could pay to focus on the form of last month's Champagne Stakes at Doncaster, which saw Rivet beat THUNDER SNOW by a head. The latter was returning from a short break there and, considering he ran a fine fifth when second of nine in his group in the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot, could be capable of bursting a few bubbles at headquarters.