Trainers dream of winning the Dewhurst. Why? It means they probably have the best two-year-old in the land ensconced in their yard and a wonderful chance of classic glory the following year. The Group One race over seven furlongs of Newmarket’s Rowley Mile has traditionally been the unofficial blue riband of the juvenile season and has thrown up some real champions. But it has also burst some almighty bubbles. Remember Gorytus flopping in 1982? After trawling the YouTube archives I’ve put together 10 vintage renewals of the Dewhurst, starting with Nijinsky and ending with Frankel.
Will the unbeaten Dawn Approach join the Dewhurst hall of fame on Saturday?
Vincent O Brien’s Northern Dancer colt arrived at Newmarket with a huge reputation after winning his first four races in Ireland. Ridden for the first time by Lester Piggott, he produced a breathtaking performance that was a forerunner to what he went on to achieve the following season. Talk about a knife through butter…
1983: El Gran Senor
Vincent O’ Brien again, and this brilliant colt was his only two-year-old to cross the Irish Sea in 1983. But in a high-class renewal of the Dewhurst he got the better of the equally wonderful Rainbow Quest. He went on to win a red-hot 2,000 Guineas beating the brilliant miler Chief Singer. But he is probably best remembered for not winning the Derby. After looking like he was about to hose up, he was outstayed by Secreto. Sadly, El Gran Senor was retired due to injury after brilliantly winning the Irish Derby.
1984: Kala Dancer
This imposing grey trained by Ben Hanbury and ridden by Geoff Baxter upset the odds on Local Suitor and Law Society in a thrilling three-way photo to retain his unbeaten two-year-old record.
Before Frankel, this brilliant Andre Fabre-trained colt was the most spectacular winner of the Dewhurst. He went on to win the 2000 Guineas in 1993 until bursting a blood vessel in the Sussex Stakes and never racing again. Relive his brilliant Dewhurst victory below…
This son of Unfuwain was Willie Carson’s last Group One winner in Britain. Trained by Major Dick Hern, he arrived at Newmarket unbeaten and ruthlessly disposed of his three opponents. Alhaarth never hit these heights again and was only fourth in the 2,000 Guineas and fifth in the Derby. He moved to Godolphin as a four-year-old and probably produced his best performance on his final start in the Prix Dollar at Longchamp.
The son of Zafonic produced a performance in the mould of his father. Trained by Andre Fabre and ridden by Olivier Peslier he showed a blistering turn of foot to beat Tamarisk.
2001: Rock of Gibraltar
Famous for winning seven consecutive group ones and for the subsequent spat between part-owners Sir Alex Ferguson and John Magnier, Rock of Gibraltar made hard work of it but edged home in a thrilling finish.
A truly blistering performance by this tough son of Giant’s Causeway. Trained on the day by Mark Johnston, he was later switched to Saeed bin Suroor where he won the French 2,000 Guineas and French Derby as a three-year-old.
This imposing son of Galileo won all his five races as a juvenile but then never raced again. The Dewhurst turned out to be his swansong. He edged out Holy Roman Emperor in a tight finish. Trainer Jim Bolger said we wouldn’t see the best of him until he ran over 1m 4f as a three year old. Sadly a knee injury a week before the 2,000 Guineas put paid to his racing career.
No words needed for this fella. Just watch and enjoy.
Does anybody have any Dewhurst memories? Please feel free to share your eomments.