South Seas set for Dewhurst
Trainer Andrew Balding has revealed that his unbeaten Solario Stakes winner, South Seas, is on course for Saturday 8th October's Dubai Dewhurst Stakes, one of the two Group One highlights of the Dubai Future Champions Festival at Newmarket's Rowley Mile Racecourse.
Andrew Balding, trainer of South Seas
This prestigious seven furlong contest has 50 of Europe's best juveniles still engaged following Tuesday's scratching stage while the Group One Dubai Fillies' Mile – which is run 24 hours earlier on Friday 7th October – has 30 entries remaining. Both races are worth £500,000, making them Europe's richest Group One two-year-old events.
South Seas has yet to be properly tested in three career starts, which have all taken place with plenty of give in the ground.
The son of Lope de Vega followed up a runaway Windsor maiden success with a smooth victory at Haydock Park before taking the step up to Group Three company in his stride when notching a two and a quarter length verdict in the Solario at Sandown.
"The Dubai Dewhurst Stakes is very much the target for South Seas, that was the plan for him when I last spoke to his owner, Sheikh Fahad Al Thani," Balding said.
"He has intentionally had a quietish time since the Solario and I am very happy with him.
"He is a high class horse with a good cruising speed and, although the Dewhurst will be a lot tougher, he has three runs under his belt now so is well equipped to try his hand against the very best opposition.
"He handles cut in the ground very well but I think he will handle fast ground too when the time comes. Although he might possibly get a mile and a quarter next year, he is a potential Guineas horse – the Dewhurst will tell us more.
"In my opinion the Dewhurst is the number one two-year-old race of the whole season so it is great to have a horse in my care considered good enough to take part in it."
Almost a third of his potential Dubai Dewhurst rivals are trained by the Irish Champion, Aidan O'Brien.
His 16 possible runners include last Sunday's easy Group One National Stakes hero, Churchill, and the Group Two Vintage Stakes scorer, War Decree.
The other leading British entries are the brilliant Group Two Gimcrack Stakes winner, Blue Point, together with the first two home from Saturday's Group Two Champagne Stakes, Rivet and Thunder Snow.
O'Brien's son, the first-season trainer, Joseph O'Brien, broke his Group One duck with Intricately in the Moyglare Stud Stakes at The Curragh on Sunday.
She is one of the 30 remaining entries for Dubai Fillies' Mile where she could be opposed by seven of her father's fillies, including the two that chased her home on Sunday, Hydrangea and Rhododendron.
The top home-trained Dubai Fillies' Mile hope is Fair Eva, the Group Three Princess Margaret Stakes winner who is set to run on the Rowley Mile beforehand in the Group Two Shadwell Rockfel Stakes on Friday 23rd September.