A horse-by-horse guide to the runners in the Dubai Dewhurst Stakes.
By Ben Coley. Last Updated: 11/10/13 7:27pm
War Command: No excuses here
War Command gets the vote to score, as Ben Coley offers us his horse-by-horse guide to the Dubai Dewhurst Stakes.
ANJAAL: Progressive colt who looked to improve for a step up in trip to land the July Stakes last time. Form of that race has taken more than one knock but did shape as though this step up to seven would suit, and should the ground remain on the fast side of good he'll have plenty in his favour. Almost certainly needs to step up again but that perfectly possible and not discounted lightly.
CABLE BAY: More exposed than Anjaal but officially rated 1lb superior on the back of four respectable runs in Pattern company since Leicester maiden win. Form of latest course-and-distance second yet to be tested but the feeling is a repeat would not be enough to trouble the principals, while pedigree raises doubts as to whether quick ground would prove as suitable as the slower surfaces on which he's so far raced. Disappointing if he's good enough.
FRIENDSHIP: Slow-burner from powerful yard seeking their first win in the race since Beethoven's 2009 success. It was a hot National Stakes in which he was well held last time and it's reasonable to hope he may get closer to the leaders here, especially if first-time cheekpieces eke out further improvement, but on his ninth start it's questionable how much more there might be to come and Friendship's role here is surely to act as companion to stablemate War Command.
OUTSTRIP: Impressive winner of the Champagne Stakes (Cable Bay well beaten) last time, having previously given the unbeaten Toormore a real fright in Goodwood's Vintage Stakes. That form puts him far clear of Friendship and at the head of the home contingent, and trainer Charles Appleby's embryonic record at Newmarket is eye-catchingly positive. Godolphin won the race last year with Dawn Approach and with this fellow improving with every start, they look to hold live claims of a repeat.
STORMADAL: Trainer enjoyed a superb day here when saddling the winner of the Betfred Cambridgeshire but on all known form this son of Shamardal cannot win. Beaten in a handicap off a relatively lowly mark of 88 last time with no apparent excuses, and this drop in distance doesn't look ideal either. If he's not sixth of six, he's over-achieved.
WAR COMMAND: Ante-post favourite who got back on track with a ready win in the Futurity Stakes last time, having previously been turned over at 2/5 at the Curragh. That price owed to his monstrous performance previously in winning the Coventry Stakes and while the form of that Royal Ascot race has worked out very poorly, the visual impression created remains vivid. Stablemate set things up for him perfectly last time and a repeat looks likely.
VERDICT: Aidan O'Brien will be delighted that Jim Bolger isn't back to go for a sixth win in the last eight renewals of this contest, and can keep the prize in Ireland with WAR COMMAND set to take all the beating. His defeat in the Phoenix Stakes is easy to forgive as he'd already looked like seven furlongs was needed, and with Friendship set to ensure a solid tempo he'll have no excuses here on ground which will suit. Outstrip will also be suited by a decent end-to-end gallop and if forecast rain materialises that too will aide his chance. However, he looks just a step behind War Command in terms of professionalism at the moment and while a strict line through Surdiman gives him the edge, I see things differently. Anjaal needs to progress but looks capable of doing so and could outrun his odds, while Cable Bay has a chance of sorts on the figures and deserves to take his chance.