With the end of the flat season fast approaching, all eyes will be on Newmarket on Saturday for the Group 1 Dewhurst Stakes. Run over 7f, the Dewhurst is the most prestigious race in the UK for juveniles and the winners of the race normally head the betting for the next year’s Classics. In anticipation of Saturday’s big clash, we take a look back at three of the best ever Dewhurst Stakes winners.
Three of the best Dewhurst Stakes winners ever
Rock of Gibraltar (2001)
Famous for being part-owned by Sir Alex Ferguson, Rock of Gibraltar arrived at Newmarket having won five of his races including the Group 1 Grand Criterium – the top two-year-old race in France.
He further enhanced his ability by adding his name to the list of winners of the Dewhurst Stakes, edging out stablemates Landseer and Tendulkar in a thrilling finish to be crowned one of the top juveniles in Europe.
2002 saw Rock of Gibraltar in even better form – winning five Group 1 races in a row including the 2000 Guineas, the Irish 2000 Guineas, and the St James’s Palace stakes – marking him down as one of the greatest milers ever.
Retirement came after he placed 2nd in the Breeders Cup Mile at Arlington behind Domedriver, but not before he was crowned the 2002 European Horse of the Year.
New Approach (2007)
New Approach lined up for the 2007 Dewhurst on the back of an undefeated start to his career including victory in the Group 1 National Stakes at the Curragh. Sent off the 6/4f at Newmarket, he showed signs of greenness but dug in deep to hold on from Fast Company, and ended 2007 as the highest-rated two-year-old in Europe.
His three-year-old campaign saw him beaten in both the English and Irish 2000 Guineas by Henrythenavigator before he got back to winning ways with success in the Epsom Derby.
The 2008 season ended with 3rd place in the Juddmonte International before victories in the Irish Champions Stakes and the English equivalent. Retirement beckoned after becoming the equal top-ranked horse in the world and being named Champion Three-Year-Old – he’s since sired several top horses including the 2015 Derby winner Masar.
Like New Approach, Frankel arrived at Newmarket in 2010 boasting a perfect start to his career and already being touted as potentially top-class. The 2010 Dewhurst had been dubbed ‘the two-year-old race of the century’ with runners Dream Ahead and Saamidd also boasting unbeaten records. But it was Frankel who prevailed, cruising home by two and a quarter lengths despite hanging to the right in the closing stages.
The best was yet to come for the Sir Henry Cecil trained colt though – 2011 brought five straight victories including in the 2000 Guineas and the St James’s Palace Stakes. And the wins kept on coming in 2012 as Frankel recorded another five-straight Group 1 wins to end his racing career a perfect 14 wins from 14 and with almost £3 million in prize money banked.
For many, Frankel is the greatest of all time and as a sire his offspring are also proving high-class, recording victories in the Epsom Derby (Adayar), the Irish Derby (Hurricane Lane), and the St James’s Palace Stakes (Without Parole). A fitting addition of our list of the greatest Dewhurst Stakes winners.
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