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Last Updated: October 11, 2013 1:25pm
Outstrip: Looking to win Dewhurst for Godolphin
Godolphin needed to buy into last year's winner of the Dubai Dewhurst Stakes but the team has found a juvenile from their own production line with a leading chance of defending Saturday's renewal of the key Group One.
Jim Bolger's Dawn Approach carried the blue silks to success before returning to the Rowley Mile this spring to take the 2000 Guineas and there are hopes the Darley-bred Outstrip can follow in his example.
Only six runners have been declared and it looks like being another battle between Godolphin and Coolmore, who send out Outstrip's market rival War Command.
Exceed And Excel colt Outstrip started off winning a maiden on the July Course and headed straight for Glorious Goodwood, where his neck second to Toormore looks a lot better after his conqueror's authoritative victory in the National Stakes.
The Godolphin runner, trained by Charlie Appleby, claimed his own Group honours when drawing clear in the Champagne Stakes at Doncaster.
"We won the Dewhurst last year with Dawn Approach and whichever horse wins the race on Saturday, it tells you that you have a live Classic horse for the following season, which is always a nice position to be in," said Godolphin racing manager Simon Crisford.
"We gave Sunday's Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere at Longchamp a miss with Outstrip hoping for better ground in the Dewhurst. That is a decision that might backfire, we will have to wait and see. His Champagne Stakes victory was a top notch effort and we are very pleased with him."
War Command, though, is 5lb superior on official ratings and showed such a memorable turn of foot when coming six lengths clear in the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot.
The form of that race had been criticised and he was beaten handsomely at long odds-on by Sudirman in the Phoenix Stakes.
The son of fashionable stallion War Front was nonetheless able to bounce back at the Curragh with a three-length victory in the Futurity Stakes.
"He ran in the Futurity and he worked after racing at the Curragh a few weeks ago," said trainer Aidan O'Brien. "He is in good form and we are looking forward to the Dewhurst."
Richard Hannon has indicated Toormore may not run again this term but needs all the prize money he can find to stave off O'Brien in his pursuit of the champion trainer title.
His representative is Anjaal, who won a maiden at Beverley but took a marked step up in class in his stride when staying on to good effect in the July Stakes.
Hannon's son and assistant Richard jnr has warned that rain would not be welcome as he was pulled out of the Champagne Stakes because of the ground.
He said: "Anjaal has done really well since his break, he worked earlier in the week and we were very happy with him.
"Quietly, we think he will run very well. He'll love the extra furlong - he was only getting going in the last 100 yards in the July Stakes so it will be massively in his favour.
"We'd love to win the trainers' title but I think we need to win something either this Saturday or next Saturday. Either that or we have had it!"
The remaining trio are Friendship, a potential pacemaker for War Command, the Ismail Mohammed-trained Stormardal and Cable Bay, a regular Group place-getter for Charlie Hills.