Sunday 17 December 2017

Frankel and Dream Ahead set for Dewhurst duel

Glowing sentiments from his masterful trainer and a string of visually explosive performances have Henry Cecil's Frankel heading the betting for next year's 2000 Guineas at Newmarket and naturally he is the favourite for Saturday's Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket.

Frankel will face a maximum of 11 rivals in one of the most comprehensive trials of this year's juvenile crop and despite being odds-on favourite to remain unbeaten, Timeform give Dream Ahead a live chance of causing an upset.

Timeform rate Dream Ahead on 130 following his win in the Middle Park Stakes, while Frankel has reached a high of 129 according to their handicapping system.

David Simcock's Dream Ahead is a dual Group One winner, while Cecil has described Frankel as his best in almost four decades and Godolphin had to round up the coffers -- £20,000 to be precise -- to supplement their recent Doncaster winner Saamidd.

Five Irish entries are included for Saturday's Group One contest, four of which emerge from Ballydoyle and Jim Bolger responsible for the other.

There is little doubting that while Ireland's leading two-year-olds may be absent, once the big guns stand their ground on Saturday this looks set to be one of the more memorable renewals of this race for many years.

The showpiece for Newmarket's Champions Day, is of course the Emirates Champion Stakes where Twice Over will go for a second successive win in the race and possibly complement a fantastic day for Henry Cecil.

It's 11 years since a horse has managed to win back-to-back runnings of the English Champion Stakes, and if Twice Over is to bridge that gap he will have to face a maximum of 14 who remained in the running at yesterday's five-day stage.


Godolphin were again busy supplementing and with a price tag of £30,000 they have included QEII winner Poet's Voice who of course got up in the final stride to deny Rip Van Winkle at Ascot.

Rip Van Winkle won't feature for Aidan O'Brien who has surprisingly just the one left in the race, with this season's unbeaten Await The Dawn his sole entry.

Vision D'Etat is the strongest of a three-pronged French attack while recent Dundalk winner Gitano Hernando is also engaged for Marco Botti and Kieren Fallon.

Meanwhile, there was plenty of interest in the respective Flat jockey championships at the Curragh yesterday as the curtain came down on their season for 2010.

A Fran Berry double saw him receive a glimmer of light in his bid to be champion jockey for the very first time as he moved level with Johnny Murtagh on 77 winners, but still six behind current leader and odds-on favourite Pat Smullen.

While in the apprentice race, Joseph O'Brien enjoyed a brace which brought him level with Ben Curtis and last year's winner Gary Carroll. However, while O'Brien looked a likely favourite, he again faced the wrath of the stewards and picked up a three-day ban for excessive use of the whip while winning on his father Aidan's trained Battleoftrafalgar.

O'Brien was set to go in front of the appeals and referrals committee this morning on the Curragh in relation to incidents which saw him pick up further bans totalling six days. Should he fail in this morning's appeal O'Brien will miss nine days of the season which is now in its final weeks.

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