Now recognised as the race that most likely defines the champion two year old colt of Britain and Ireland each season, the Dewhurst Stakes is a race that also plays a significant role in establishing likely contenders for the following year’s 2,000 Guineas and Derby.
Raced over the straight 7 furlongs of Newmarket’s Rowley Mile, the Dewhurst Stakes has been one by many of the outstanding horses in the history of Flat Racing and is open to juvenile colts and fillies.
The event was founded by Thomas Gee and was established in 1875 and was originally titled the “Dewhurst Plate”. It is named after Gee’s Dewhurst Stud at Wadhurst. The first four winners all went on to win one or more of the next year’s Classics.
The Dewhurst Stakes was added to the Breeders’ Cup Challenge series in 2011, at the same time forming part of the dual Group 1 competition on the newly formed Future Champions’ Day. The winner was given an automatic invitation to compete in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf. It was removed from the series in 2012.
The first winner of the Dewhurst was the Hungarian bred colt Kisber, who the following year won the Derby and Grand Prix de Paris. In 1876 Chamant landed the Middle Park Stakes-Dewhurst Stakes double and followed-up in the 1877 2,000 Guineas.
The third winner of the Dewhurst was the top class filly Pilgrimage, who in 1878 added the 1,000 Guineas and 2,000 Guineas and finished second in the Oaks.
Remarkably the Dewhurst Stakes produced its fourth Classic winner in as many races in 1878, when Wheel Of Fortune, unbeaten in 6 starts at two, added the 1,000 Guineas, Oaks, Prince Of Wales’s Stakes and Yorkshire Oaks.
The next big name winner of the Dewhurst was Dutch Oven in 1881. She played her part in a remarkable 1882 season, winning the St Leger as fillies achieved an unprecedented feat of winning all five English Classics.
Three years later, the 1884 Dewhurst Stakes was won by a colt of rare quality called Paradox. Once again the race proved a platform for a hugely successful 3 year old campaign which saw the horse win the 2,000 Guineas, Grand Prix de Paris, Sussex Stakes and Champion Stakes.
However Paradox proved the hors d’ouevres to the following year’s champion juvenile, who would prove a champion on many levels. In fact to many, Ormonde was simply the horse of the 19th Century. As a 3 year old he won the Triple Crown and his career also included 2 wins in the Hardwicke Stakes and success in the Champion Stakes as he retired unbeaten.
Both Paradox and Ormonde were trained by the pre-eminent trainer of the era, the incomparable John Porter. In all Porter trained a record 8 winners of the Dewhurst Stakes: Paradox (1884), Ormonde (1885), Friar’s Balsam (1887), Orme (1891), Matchbox (1893), Vesuvian (1896), Hawfinch (1897) and Frontier (1898).
In 1887 there was a brilliantly precocious colt called Friar’s Balsam and he swept through the British juvenile pattern races, winning the New Stakes, July Stakes, Richmond Stakes, Middle Park Stakes and Dewhurst Stakes. After bursting an abscess in his mouth during the 2,000 Guineas, he later returned to beat Minting in the Champion Stakes of 1888.
Another brilliant colt appeared in the 1888 Middle Park Stakes, which was won in terrific style by Donovan. The colt had started off winning the Brocklesby Stakes at Lincoln and later won at the Royal meeting. After landing the Middle Park Stakes Donovan stepped up to 7 furlongs and became the latest horse to add the Dewhurst Stakes and by the season’s end, had won 11 of his 13 races. As a 3 year old, Donovan won the Derby and St Leger and was denied a Triple Crown by just a head in the 2,000 Guineas.
Orme also completed the Middle Park-Dewhurst double in 1891 and later became an outstanding stallion. The following year the great Isinglass won the Middle Park and he went on to win the English Triple Crown of 1893.
In 1895 St Frusquin won the Middle Park and Dewhurst Stakes and went on to win the 2,000 Guineas of 1896. The Dewhurst Stakes had made a significant mark in its relatively short life, as the world headed into the 20th Century.
The quality continued into the new era and in 1902 Rock Sand won the Dewhurst Stakes. The following year he became the tenth winner of the English Triple Crown and took part in that great Eclipse Stakes against Sceptre and Ard Patrick in 1903.
Bayardo became the latest dual winner of the Middle Park and Dewhurst Stakes in 1908 and the following year won the St Leger. A year later Lemberg won the Dewhurst by 5 lengths and as a 3 year old took the Derby, St James’s Palace Stakes, Eclipse Stakes, Jockey Club Stakes and Champion Stakes as part of a brilliant career.
In 1910 came the first of two dead-heats in the Dewhurst Stakes, as King William and Phryxus could not be separated by the judge.
The Dewhurst Stakes continued during the First World War but there was no race in 1920. The following decade did not produce any outstanding winners but did see the start of a great run of victories for trainer Frank Butters, who in time would match John Porter’s 8 victories in the race thanks to: Toboggan (1927), Mrs Rustom (1933), Hairan (1934), Bala Hissar (1935), Sultan Mahomed (1936), Umiddad (1942), Paper Weight (1944) and Migoli (1946).
The next really significant horse to win the race though was the diminutive Hyperion, a horse short in size but mighty in heart and on talent. Hyperion won the Dewhurst Stakes of 1932 and the following season landed the Chester Vase, Derby and St Leger before becoming the most successful British stallion of the 20th Century.
There was no Dewhurst Stakes in 1939 as the Second World War began but otherwise the race continued into the 1940s and in 1946, Migoli earned Frank Butters his eighth Dewhurst victory. Later in his career the colt would win the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, the first British trained winner since 1923 and there would not be another until Mill Reef in 1971.
In 1952 Pinza won the Dewhurst Stakes and became immortalised the following year as he was the horse who finally gave Sir Gordon Richards a winning mount in the Derby and also won the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes.
Another of the great jockeys came to prominence in the 1950s though and Lester Piggott rode the first of his record 10 Dewhurst Stakes in 1956, aboard the future 2,000 Guineas and Derby winner Crepello. Piggott’s Dewhurst winners were: Crepello (1956), Follow Suit (1962), Ribofilio (1968), Nijinsky (1969), Crowned Prince (1971), Cellini (1973), The Minstrel (1976), Try My Best (1977), Monteverdi (1979) and Diesis (1982).
The 1960s ended with a pair of Piggott winners in the Dewhurst Stakes, with both running in the distinctive green and yellow colours, with the red sash, of Charles Engelhard. After Ribofilio had won the 1968 race for trainer Fulke Johnson Houghton, the decade ended with a real superstar.
In 1969 the Irish-trained, Canadian-bred colt Nijinsky began to made waves in Ireland, winning his first 4 races. Trained by the legendary Dr Vincent O’Brien, the colt travelled over to Newmarket and sauntered to victory in the Dewhurst Stakes, confirming himself the best European 2 year old for the year. He took the racing world by storm in 1970, becoming the first English Triple Crown winner since Bahram in 1935 – and to date the last colt to achieve this accomplishment. He also won the Irish Derby and King George at Ascot in an unbelievable year.
As Nijinsky was wowing the public in 1970, a small bay colt was making waves in the 2 year old division, Mill Reef had won the Coventry Stakes by 6 lengths and the Gimcrack by an astonishing 10 lengths, suffering his only defeat to My Swallow in the Prix Robert Papin, The colt confirmed himself top draw with an easy 4 length success in the Dewhurst Stakes. The following year he took part in perhaps the greatest of all 2,000 Guineas, narrowly defeating My Swallow but finding the legendary Brigadier Gerard 4 lengths too good against the stands rail. Mill Reef was never beaten again and romped to victories in the Derby, Eclipse Stakes, King George, Arc de Triomphe and the following year’s Prix Ganay and Coronation Cup before injury ended a brilliant career.
Another outstanding colt from the 1970s was Grundy, the chestnut horse trained by Peter Walwayn, who would go on to win the Derby and the “Race of the Century” when beating Bustino in that never to be forgotten 1975 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes. A year earlier he had really established himself with a brilliant 6 length demolition of the very smart Irish colt Steel Heart.
A year after Grundy, another top class colt won the Dewhurst Stakes as Wollow stretched his unbeaten run to 4 for the up and coming trainer Sir Henry Cecil. Of course the following year Wollow proved a most brilliant horse, winning the 2,000 Guineas under Gianfranco Dettori (father of Frankie), Eclipse Stakes (on the disqualification of Trepan), Sussex Stakes and Benson and Hedges Gold Cup.
This truly was a golden period for the Dewhurst Stakes and the mid-70s also saw an influx of expensively purchased American-bred colts to Ballydoyle, where master trainer Dr Vincent O’Brien shaped the careers of some of the finest sons of Northern Dancer, sire of Nijinsky.
After Wollow’s victory in the Dewhurst Stakes, O’Brien sent his flashy chestnut colt The Minstrel – a son of Northern Dancer, across the Irish Sea to win the 1976 renewal, finishing the season unbeaten in 3 races. Having been defeated in the following year’s Guineas, The Minstrel won the Derby, Irish Derby and King George, proving a tough and honest horse.
O’Brien, his chief owner Robert Sangster and jockey Lester Piggott had masterminded the career of The Minstrel and in 1977 they had the following year’s Champion 2 Year Old in the shape of another Northern Dancer colt Try My Best. Sadly Try My Best was injured when finishing last in the 1978 2,000 Guineas and never ran again but his dam Sex Appeal, would have further bearing on the Dewhurst.
In 1978 the flashy chestnut Tromos looked really exciting as he defeated More Light by 3 lengths but he flopped in the following year’s Craven Stakes and never ran in Britain again. The 1979 Dewhurst then returned to familiar surrounds as the Sangster-O’Brien-Piggott trinity were successful with Monteverdi, who beat among other the follow year’s Derby winner Henbit. Monteverdi never quite hit the heights as a 3 year old.
With Pat Eddery replacing Lester Piggott at Ballydoyle (Piggott joining Sir Henry Cecil’s Newmarket yard), the Sangster-O’Brien axis continued to churn out Dewhurst Stakes winners and in 1980, the exciting Storm Bird made it 4 wins in 5 years, defeating future 2,000 Guineas winner To Agori Mou and the future top class stallion Miswaki. Storm Bird was strongly fancied to take 1981 by storm but was attacked during the winter in his stable, allegedly by a former stable lad, having his mane and tail cut off. Niggling injuries and illness then disrupted his career but he went on to prove a success at stud as Shergar and To Agori Mou made their marks in 1981.
In freezing cold temperatures, the 1981 Dewhurst Stakes was won by the Henry Candy trained Wind And Wuthering, who went on to finish a close second to Zino in the following year’s 2,000 Guineas.
In 1982 there was a sensation that put the Dewhurst Stakes on the front pages of the national press for all the wrong reasons. Gorytus had been labelled a wonder horse after destroying his rivals, including the highly-rated Sir Henry Cecil colt Salieri, as he smashed the York track record in the Acomb Stakes on debut. The Major Dick Hern trained son of Nijinsky was equally impressive in winning the Champagne Stakes at Doncaster and scared away most of his opposition in the Dewhurst Stakes, facing just 3 rivals.
Chief among these was Sir Henry Cecil’s colt Diesis, who had won the Middle Park Stakes but was not thought capable of living with Gorytus. The son of Sharpen Up, racing in the apricot silks of Lord Howard de Walden, was a fully brother to the great miler Kris. He became the first (and last) horse to complete the Middle Park-Dewhurst Stakes double as Gorytus seemed to lose his action at halfway and dropped away from his rivals alarmingly and was virtually pulled up amid allegations of doping. The headlines rather robbed Diesis of his achievement and he went into the winter as a major Classic hope, although he sadly failed to reproduce his form in 1983.
In 1983 came one of the mighty match-ups in Dewhurst Stakes history. Once again the Sangster-O’Brien team combined with a Northern Dancer colt who was out of Sex Appeal. His name was El Gran Senor and he went to Newmarket unbeaten in 3 races. Up against him was the Champion French 2 year old Siberian Express and the ultra-consistent Bill O’Gorman colt Superlative, who had featured in many of the summer’s leading juvenile contests. Also in the line-up was the unbeaten Blushing Groom colt Rainbow Quest, who had vanquished 29 runners in a maiden on Newmarket’s July Course before landing the competitive Haynes, Hanson and Clark Stakes at Newbury. In a thrilling race it was Rainbow Quest who threw down the gauntlet to El Gran Senor and the pair of unexposed horses pulled right away from their rivals, duelling through the final quarter of a mile. It was El Gran Senor who had the upper hand at the line but both colts had confirmed they were out of the top draw, beating horses with excellent form, by a very long way. The following year El Gran Senor went on to beat Sadler’s Wells in the Gladness Stakes before beating one of the great 2,000 Guineas fields, containing champion miler Chief Singer, Lear Fan and Rainbow Quest. El Gran Senor was narrowly defeated in the Epsom Derby but again beat Rainbow Quest in the Irish Derby before injury curtailed his career. Rainbow Quest proved a smart colt too, winning the Great Voltigeur Stakes at three and as a 4 year old winning the Coronation Cup and Arc de Triomphe on the disqualification of Sagace.
A Dewhurst of such quality was a hard act to follow but the 1984 renewal was not short on drama or excitement. Once again Ballydoyle had a major candidate in the unbeaten Alleged colt Law Society, although Major Dick Hern once again had a big player in Local Suitor. Both colts were involved in a thrilling finish but there was a shock result in what turned out to be a desperately close three-way finish. The grey colt Kala Dancer, a recent maiden winner, put in the race of his life to narrowly deny Law Society by a head, with Local Suitor a further head away in third place. Only Law Society made his mark the following year, finishing second in the Derby to Slip Anchor before winning the Irish Derby.
The 1985 Dewhurst Stakes also produced a shock result. A strong field assembled, including the unbeaten Ballydoyle colt Woodman, the top class Nomination and Bakharoff and the exciting Coventry Stakes winner Sure Blade, while Jareer had been an expensive yearling, his sales price into the millions. However the race provided jockey Michael Hills with his first Group 1 success as Huntingdale lost his maiden tag. The following season he went on to finish third to Dancing Brave in the 2,000 Guineas.
The 1986 Dewhurst Stakes took place on Newmarket’s July Course as the Rowley Mile course was having work carried out. It was a race that threw up a champion – but a hundred questions. Sir Michael Stoute’s colt Ajdal was yet another son of Northern Dancer and had made a good impression when winning races at Doncaster and Ascot. He stepped up markedly in class for the Dewhurst Stakes, where his rivals included the Middle Park Stakes winner Mister Majestic. Ajdal came through to win the race and went clear racing up the hill inside the final furlong. However all of a sudden his stride shortened and he won by a diminishing ¾ of a length from Shady Heights, provoking great debate over his ability to stay a mile. Sadly the following spring he did not fire fully and disappointed in the English and Irish 2,000 Guineas before also failing to stay in the Derby. Stoute dropped him down in trip for the July Cup and the horse went on to become Champion Sprinter of 1987, also winning the William Hill Sprint Championship and Vernons Sprint Cup.
In October 1987, much of the south of England was hit by extraordinary gales that caused enormous structural damage, bringing downs thousands of trees. At Newmarket the damage included marquee tents and the course was not safe to host the Dewhurst Stakes which failed to take place.
A year on, Newmarket basked in autumn sunshine and a thrilling finish to the Dewhurst Stakes, as the beautifully-bred Prince Of Dance (a son of Sadler’s Wells out of the Oaks winner Sun Princess – whom he resembled in appearance), dead-heated with Scenic (another son of first season sire Sadler’s Wells). Sadly neither colt went on to make a significant impression the following year. The decade ended with Ian Balding, trainer of Mill Reef, landing another Dewhurst Stakes with Dashing Blade, as the red hot favourite Royal Academy disappointed. However the latter went on to win the July Cup and Breeders’ Cup Mile in 1990.
The 1990 Dewhurst Stakes produced another huge shock which 12 months later looked like the most obvious result! Generous was a beautiful chestnut colt who had made his mark as an early season colt, finishing second in the Coventry Stakes but appearing fully exposed as he finished third in the Vintage Stakes and unplaced in the Prix Morny. He then won a small Sandown Park contest but was thought to be no match for horses of the calibre of Champagne Stakes winner Bog Trotter and the exciting runaway winner of the July Stakes and Gimcrack Stakes, Mujtahid. However it was the Paul Cole trained Generous who came out of the Dip best of all and ran on strongly to repel Bog Trotter at odds of 50/1. In 1991 that seemed incredibly, well, generous, as the horse brilliantly won the Derby at Epsom defeated Suave Dancer in the Irish Derby and routed older horses in the King George.
The reputation of the Dewhurst continued on an upward trajectory the following year as Dr Devious, one of two exceptional juveniles in the care of first season trainer Peter Chapple-Hyam, (who won the Middle Park Stakes with Rodrigo de Triano) added the Dewhurst Stakes to his earlier Superlative Stakes and Vintage Stakes successes. In 1992 the colt ran unplaced in the Kentucky Derby before sensationally returning to England to win the Epsom Derby and Irish Champion Stakes.
Another exceptional colt demolished his rivals in a memorable 1992 Dewhurst Stakes. The outstanding French trainer Andre Fabre sent his unbeaten powerful colt Zafonic to Newmarket after 3 previous wins including an imperious 3 length destruction of Kingmambo in the Prix De La Salamandre. In a field containing the exciting Irish colt Fatherland, the cop class filly Sueboog and the smart Inchinor, Pat Eddery was content to sit in last place on Zafonic. In the later stages Eddery asked his mount to quicken and the horse made smooth, powerful progress, slicing through his rivals to demolish a top class field by 4 lengths, going away. After a surprise reversal behind Kingmambo on his comeback, Zafonic repeated his Dewhurst Stakes exploits with a devastating victory in the 1993 2,000 Guineas, one of the most memorable images of the entire decade.
The 1993 Dewhurst Stakes went to the progressive colt Grand Lodge, racing in the same silks as Diesis, a decade before. Having won the Tattersalls Stakes impressively a fortnight earlier, Grand Lodge showed a fine turn of foot to defeat the ill-fated Stonehatch in the Dewhurst and proved a top class 3 year old colt, winning the St James’s Palace Stakes and placing second in the 2,000 Guineas.
Andre Fabre’s trips to England for the Dewhurst Stakes were sparing and always of merit. In 1994 he brought the unbeaten colt Pennekamp to Newmarket, having followed the Zafonic route via the Prix De La Salamandre. At Newmarket he was much more workmanlike than Zafonic, beating Green Perfume by a length. However like his predecessor, he duly landed the 2,000 Guineas the following season, in a dramatic photo finish from Celtic Swing. Sadly injury in the Derby ended his racing career.
The 1995 Dewhurst Stakes winner was Major Dick Hern’s Alhaarth, the outstanding juvenile colt of the year, who had already won the Vintage Stakes, Solario Stakes and Champagne Stakes. Sadly he was unable to dominate as a 3 year old. A year later In Command proved a surprise winner of a race containing future Irish 2,000 Guineas and Irish Derby winner Desert King and QEII winner Air Express.
In 1997 the Dewhurst Stakes moved from its traditional Friday berth to the Saturday of the Houghton Meeting, as one of the major highlights of what proved a hugely popular and successful afternoon’s racing for Champions’ Day. This day brought together the top races from the three-day Houghton Meeting; the Challenge Stakes, Champion Stakes, Cesarewitch, Rockfel Stakes and the Dewhurst and the meeting consistently delivered decent autumn ground, top class winners, good crowds, good betting turnover and fair results on a fair course.
The 1997 Dewhurst Stakes also introduced British race goers to a significant son of Zafonic. A fascinating renewal was turned into a procession as Xaar, racing in the same Prince Khalid Abdullah silks and also trained by Andre Fabre, stormed away from his rivals, with the same domination that Zafonic had displayed. Memories of the superstar miler of 1993 were immediately invoked but Xaar did not progress at 3, scraping home in the Craven Stakes and only finishing fourth in the 2,000 Guineas.
The 1998 Dewhurst Stakes was considered one of the great renewals on the morning of the race, but by early evening, pundits and punters were scratching their heads at the result. The highly touted Aidan O’Brien colt Stravinsky was expected to run well but up against him was Sir Henry Cecil’s exciting unbeaten colt Enrique, who had won the Tattersalls Stakes by 5 long lengths, while the unbeaten Lujain had won the Middle Park Stakes by 4 lengths. Barry Hills saddled Auction House, a colt who was on a four-timer and had won the Acomb Stakes and Champagne Stakes like Gorytus. Andre Fabre also sent over the unbeaten, once raced Indian Danehill for what promised to be a mouth watering clash. However all of these horses had to play second fiddle to Mujahid, a horse who had lost his unbeaten record when flopping in the Gimcrack Stakes on good to firm ground. At Newmarket he strode clear of Auction House and Stravinsky at massive odds. Mujahid and Enrique went on to place in the following season’s 2,000 Guineas, while Stravinsky was the Champion Sprinter after winning the July Cup and Nunthorpe Stakes.
The autumn of 1999 saw the Rowley Mile fixtures moved to the July Course as Newmarket’s new grandstand was being built. In the Dewhurst Stakes, Barry Hills’s unbeaten colt Distant Music proved far too good for his rivals, sealing his position as Champion 2 Year Old colt. Among those he beat was King’s Best who gained revenge by winning the 2,000 Guineas the following spring.
Mick Channon, one-time England football star, trained the 2000 winner of the Dewhurst Stakes as his exciting colt Tobougg, followed-up his recent Prix De La Salamandre victory with a convincing success over Noverre. Ridden by the Australian jockey Craig Williams, the colt ended the year one of the top rated horses of his generation although he did not progress the following year. Noverre certainly did and after finishing first past the post but disqualified in the French 2,000 Guineas, the flashy colt won the Sussex Stakes. The Dewhurst fourth Mozart went on to emulate Stravinsky with success in the July Cup and Nunthorpe Stakes.
Aidan O’Brien at this stage of his highly successful career, had trained winners of 4 of the 5 English Classics, but had still not trained a Dewhurst Stakes winner. His luck finally changed in 2001 as the progressive Rock Of Gibraltar, famously running in the colours of Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson, narrowly outpointed stable mate Landseer, to add the Dewhurst to his earlier victories in the Gimcrack Stakes and Grand Criterium. The following year Landseer won the French Guineas, while Rock Of Gibraltar went on a winning spree, landing the English and Irish Guineas, St James’s Palace Stakes, Sussex Stakes and Prix du Moulin, before narrowly failing in the Breeders’ Cup Mile.
The Dewhurst was still producing outstanding winners but another shock was on the cards in 2002, as Tout Seul, having his seventh run of the season and seemingly fully exposed, ran out a comfortable winner from Tomahawk in a surprisingly large field of 16 runners. Among the beaten horses was subsequent Irish 2,000 Guineas winner Indian Haven and St James’s Palace Stakes winner Zafeen. Tout Seul ran fourth in the following year’s 2,000 Guineas and third behind Indian Haven but never quite hit the same heights again for Eve Johnson Houghton.
There was an even bigger shock in 2003 though, as Milk It Mick, having his thirteenth run of a decent but hardly outstanding season defeated much higher rated rivals. Jamie Osborne’s colt had won the Tattersalls Stakes a couple of weeks earlier but that result had been a surprise and in the Dewhurst he faced recent Middle Park Stakes first past the post (although later disqualified) Three Valleys and the highly-rated Haafhd, who had already beaten Milk It Mick. However under Darryl Holland, the son of Millkom defied his rating and got the better of Three Valleys in a narrow finish. His career did not take off afterwards, but Haafhad went on to land the 2,000 Guineas of 2004 and Bachelor Duke was successful in the Irish equivalent.
In 2004, the unbeaten Mark Johnston colt Shamardal, won a hugely informative Dewhurst Stakes by a convincing 2 ½ lengths from Aidan O’Brien’s Oratorio. Shamardal was adding the Dewhurst to his earlier Vintage Stakes victory and as a 3 year old won the French 2,000 Guineas, Prix du Jockey Club and St James’s Palace Stakes before injury curtailed what looked like being an outstanding career. Oratorio went on to defeat Motivator the Derby winner in the Eclipse Stakes and later won the Irish Champion Stakes. Also in that Dewhurst was Librettist, who was injury-hit at 3 but as a 4 year old in 2006 won the Prix Jacques Le Marois and Prix du Moulin.
That tried and tested route of the Vintage Stakes at Goodwood once again proved the key to the Dewhurst Stakes in 2005, as Sir Percy defeated another Ballydoyle colt Horatio Nelson. Sir Percy was an orphan foal after his top class mother Percy’s Lass had sadly died giving birth, but he proved a top class colt, finishing second to George Washington in the 2,000 Guineas before winning the Epsom Derby.
The Dewhurst often defines a champion juvenile colt and that alone earns a racehorse a career at stud. However few people could have foreseen the future of the first two horses in the 2006 Dewhurst Stakes as the main protagonists returned to unsaddle. Teofilo was trained by Jim Bolger and had swept through the top Irish juvenile races, landing the Tyros Stakes, Futurity Stakes and National Stakes in an unbeaten run of 4 victories. His great rival Holy Roman Emperor had won the Railway Stakes and Phoenix Stakes and the pair met in the National Stakes where Teofilo was well on top. However Holy Roman Emperor then travelled to France to land the Jean Luc Lagadere, underlining the strength of the form. In the Dewhurst Stakes, the pair faced 13 rivals but pulled clear of their rivals, settling down for a terrific scrap which the Bolger horse edged by a head. Hopes were high for both colts going into 2007, with Teofilo even mentioned as a prospective Triple Crown contender. However Teofilo picked up an injury close to the 2,000 Guineas and never raced again, while Holy Roman Emperor was retired to stud without racing at 3 years, to replace the sub-fertile George Washington who returned to racing for a campaign that resulted in tragedy. Both Teofilo and Holy Roman Emperor had the potential to light up the 2007 Flat season but neither colt raced although they have enjoyed successful stallion careers to date.
Jim Bolder must have been disappointed not to get a clear run of luck with Teofilo but in 2007 he had a ready replacement as the chestnut colt New Approach went to Newmarket unbeaten in 4 starts, including the Futurity and National Stakes. In the Dewhurst Stakes he faced some formidable English horses including the highly-rated Raven’s Pass and Rio De La Plata (who had won the Jean Luc Lagardere after finishing second to New Approach in the National Stakes). There was the unusual sight beforehand, as New Approach was ponied down to the start but he roared back home, defeating Fast Company and Raven’s Pass to seal his main billing among the juveniles. In 2008 New Approach was twice second to Henrythenavigator in the English and Irish 2,000 Guineas but then won the Derby and ended his career with victories in the Irish and English Champion Stakes.
Jim Bolger had won the last two renewals of the Dewhurst Stakes but appeared to have little chance of making it a hat-trick in 2008, with his much-raced and fully exposed colt Intense Focus. The favourite in a field of 13 was the highly-touted Aidan O’Brien colt Rip Van Winkle, while Soul Power had proved a good horse for Richard Hannon, Ashram was highly rated for John Hills and Delegator looked a big danger. However, in a sensational turnaround of previous form, Intense Focus got the better of Lord Shanakill and Finjaan in a finish of two noses and outsiders. The following season Delegator ran second to Sea The Stars in the 2,000 Guineas, while Rip Van Winkle ran second to the same horse in the Eclipse Stakes before winning the Sussex Stakes and QEII. As a 4 year old he also won the Juddmonte International Stakes.
In 2009 Bolger was therefore seeking a four-timer in the Dewhurst Stakes, with the exciting colt Chabal and the outsider Free Judgement. A field of 15 went to post and there was another shock – but it came from Aidan O’Brien this time. Beethoven went to the Dewhurst having won only once in 9 previous starts – a maiden on his sixth attempt. He had been comprehensively outpointed on many occasions and frankly looked to have no chance. Visored and partnered by Ryan Moore, the outsider got the better of another nail-biter, defeating his stable mate Fencing Mast by a neck, with Xtension beaten a nose in third, just a neck ahead of another O’Brien horse Steinbeck (later renamed Pure Champion when racing in the Far East) in fourth place. The winner did very little of note in Europe thereafter, eventually racing in Qatar. Xtension was sold to race in Hong Kong where he performed well, while Dick Turpin, unplaced in the Dewhurst, finished second to Makfi in the 2,000 Guineas.
The 2010 Dewhurst Stakes favoured quality over quantity and promised a real tear-up. From Ireland came Aidan O’Brien’s highly-rated Roderic O’Connor, while Dream Ahead had won the 6 furlong Middle Park Stakes by a phenomenal 9 lengths a couple of weeks earlier. Then there was Saamidd, the Godolphin colt who had been nicknamed “Pegasus”. However none of these horses had faced anything of the calibre of Frankel, a head strong juvenile from the resurgent Sir Henry yard, who had illuminated the racing scene with 3 victories, the last of which, a 10 length rout in the Royal Lodge Stakes. In the Dewhurst Stakes Frankel received a bump early in the race which lit him up but despite not settling, he pulled his way to the front for a straight forward 2 ¼ length defeat of Roderic O’Connor. That colt went on to win the following year’s Irish 2,000 Guineas, while Dream Ahead was crowned Champion Sprinter of 2011 with victories in the July Cup and Betfred Sprint Cup. As for Frankel, his 8 length demolition of his 2,000 Guineas rivals underlined an exceptional horse who went on to an undefeated 14 race career yielding a St James’s Palace Stakes, an unprecedented 2 Sussex Stakes, a QEII, a Lockinge Stakes, Queen Anne, Juddmonte International and Ascot Champion Stakes. He has strong claims to be considered that greatest ever winner of the Dewhurst Stakes although fans of Nijinsky might of course feel differently.
In 2011 the Dewhurst Stakes produced yet another Jim Bolger winner as Parish Hall defied his previous form to beat future Irish 2,000 Guineas winner Power and the later St James’s Palace Stakes winner Most Improved.
Bolger incredibly held all the aces once again in 2012, with the first son of New Approach to make a mark. In fact, Dawn Approach had won the opening juvenile race of the 2012 Irish turf season and had progressed with each run, winning the Coventry Stakes and National Stakes in an unbeaten run of 5 victories heading to the Dewhurst. John Gosden’s lightly-raced colt Ashdan had a lofty reputation but Dawn Approach smoothly took up the running to lead home a Bolger one-two as Leitir Mor finished second. Dawn Approach added the 2,000 Guineas in 2013 before failing to settle in the Derby. He then narrowly defeated Toronado in the St James’s Palace Stakes before that colt gained his revenge narrowly in the Sussex Stakes and thereafter Dawn Approach lost his form.
The 2013 Dewhurst Stakes attracted a small but select field and once again an Irish colt landed the prize. War Command had looked a potential world beater when streaking away from his rivals to win the Coventry Stakes by 6 lengths. After disappointing in the Phoenix Stakes he returned to winning ways with a facile success in the Futurity Stakes. In the Dewhurst he quickened well out of the Dip to get the better of Cable Bay, with the Godolphin colt Outstrip back in third. The latter travelled to America and the following month won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, while War Command failed to make a serious impression during the 2014 season.
In 2014, the race went the way of one of Newmarket’s up and coming trainers and jockeys, as Belardo improved to beat Kodi Bear for Roger Varian and Andrea Atzeni.
A year later and the outstanding colt of the year, Air Force Blue, was crowned Champion Two Year Old Colt with an imperious display at Newmarket. The Aidan O’Brien trained son of War Front beat Massaat by 3 ¾ lengths with a performance that brooked no argument.
Aidan O’Brien was back in the winner’s enclosure again in 2016, as the progressive Churchill capped a fine season with victory in the Dewhurst Stakes, beating stable mate Lancaster Bomber.
Churchill went on to land the English/Irish 2,000 Guineas double the following year, further enhancing the reputation of the Dewhurst’s long track record for producing champions.
Aidan O’Brien brought up a hat-trick of victories in the Dewhurst Stakes in 2017. U S Navy Flag had taken time to show his best form, but with the Middle Park Stakes moving back to the Cambridgeshire Meeting, he became the first horse since Diesis, in 1982, to land the Middle Park-Dewhurst Stakes double.
In 2018, the Dewhurst went to the pre-eminent colt of his generation, Too Darn Hot. He became the first John Gosden-trained winner of the race as he powered clear of Advertise and Anthony Van Dyck. All three would win Group One races the following year.
The Dewhurst Stakes remains as important as ever, as a definer of juvenile and future champions.
Winners of the Dewhurst Stakes:
1878: Wheel of Fortune
1879: Grace Cup
1880: Bal Gal
1881: Dutch Oven
1883: Queen Adelaide
1886: Reve d’Or
1887: Friar’s Balsam
1889: Le Nord
1895: St Frusquin
1900: Lord Bobs
1901: Game Chick
1902: Rock Sand
1903: Henry the First
1904: Rouge Croix
1906: My Pet
1910: King William / Phryxus *
1911: White Star
1914: Let Fly
1917: My Dear
1918: Knight of Blyth
1919: Prince Galahad
1920: no race
1922: Hurry Off
1925: Review Order
1926: Money Maker
1929: Grace Dalrymple
1933: Mrs Rustom
1935: Bala Hissar
1936: Sultan Mahomed
1939: no race
1944: Paper Weight
1947: Pride of India
1948: Royal Forest
1950: Turco II
1954: My Smokey
1959: Ancient Lights
1961: River Chanter
1962: Follow Suit
1963: King’s Lane
1964: Silly Season
1966: Dart Board
|1977||Try My Best|
|1981||Wind and Wuthering|
|1983||El Gran Senor|
|Prince of Dance
|2001||Rock of Gibraltar|
|2003||Milk It Mick|
|2015||Air Force Blue|
|2017||U S Navy Flag|
|2018||Too Darn Hot|