Chindit tops 14 contenders seeking Dewhurst gold

Ante-post favourite Chindit is set to face 13 rivals when he puts his unbeaten record on the line in Saturday’s Darley Dewhurst Stakes.

A winner on his Doncaster debut in early July, Richard Hannon’s juvenile doubled his tally in a Listed race at Ascot before returning to Doncaster to complete his hat-trick in last month’s Group Two Champagne Stakes.

Hannon, who has never won the Dewhurst, also saddles a second unbeaten colt in Etonian, who has won twice at Sandown, most recently claiming the Group Three Solario Stakes in August.

Alkumait was added to the Dewhurst field on Monday
Alkumait was added to the Dewhurst field on Monday (Dan Abraham/PA)

Leading owner Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum has a strong hand after Marcus Tregoning’s impressive Mill Reef scorer Alkumait was supplemented to join the Owen Burrows-trained Albasheer. The latter was beaten a length into second place by Chindit at Doncaster four weeks ago.

A formidable Irish challenge is headed by National Stakes winner Thunder Moon, trained by Joseph O’Brien, whose father Aidan saddles a couple of runners in St Mark’s Basilica and Wembley in a bid for a seventh win in the race.

Jim Bolger also has a fine Dewhurst record with five victories and is represented by an interesting outsider in Poetic Flare, who has not been seen since making a winning debut at Naas in March, while Jessica Harrington sends Group Two winner Cadillac.

A stellar field is completed by Andrew Balding’s pair of Fivethousandtoone and Tactical, Decisive Edge (Brian Meehan), Devilwala (Ralph Beckett) and Devious Company (Tom Dascombe).

Chindit work has Hannon excited ahead of strong-looking Dewhurst

Richard Hannon hailed a piece of work completed by his Darley Dewhurst Stakes hope Chindit last week as “one of the best” he has seen for years on his Herridge gallops.

Hannon sends two unbeaten colts to Newmarket this weekend, with Solario Stakes scorer Etonian set to join Champagne Stakes winner Chindit on the Rowley Mile.

Pat Dobbs had the choice of mount and will partner the latter – who heads Coral’s market at 5-2 ahead of the Joseph O’Brien-trained Thunder Moon at 11-4 – with Tom Marquand taking the ride on Etonian.

“On Thursday morning Chindit did an extremely good piece of work, probably one of the best pieces of work we have seen at Herridge for a lot of years,” Hannon told Unibet.

“We are hopeful that both will run very well, but I think Pat Dobbs was particularly pleased with Chindit and he had the choice of rides.

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“On Tuesday morning Etonian did a very nice piece of work, he has never been that much of a showy horse, but he worked well and he is on target for the Dewhurst, Tom Marquand is going to ride.”

Impressive Mill Reef winner Alkumait has been supplemented for the Group One feature.

Alkumait was an impressive winner of the Mill Reef
Alkumait was an impressive winner of the Mill Reef (Alan Crowhurst/PA)

Trained by Marcus Tregoning, the Showcasing colt was a taking victor in the Group Two at Newbury last month.

Owner Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum already had the Owen Burrows-trained Albasheer, runner-up in the Champagne Stakes, engaged, but connections have opted to further strengthen their hand.

Tregoning said: “He runs on Saturday and I’ve been very happy with him since Newbury.

“Obviously we don’t know what the ground is going to be like yet, and we don’t know how many of the Irish horses are coming over.

“Most Showcasings go on soft ground anyway and as he’s in good form, we thought we had to go for it.

“It’s been a while since I won the Dewhurst (with Sir Percy) in 2005, but we’ve had nothing good enough to run in it since. Hopefully this is a good horse, he’s looked it so far.

“The fact Sheikh Hamdan had another horse already entered didn’t come into the reckoning really.”

Thunder Moon, who made a splash when winning the National Stakes in good style, is one of three possibles for O’Brien along with Snapraeterea and State Of Rest.

His father, Aidan, has left in Royal Ascot winner Battleground, who was a late defector from the National Stakes, Wembley, who was second in the National, and St Mark’s Basilica, who was due to run in France on Sunday but was caught up in the contaminated feed situation.

A total of 18 juveniles remain in the mix.

Chindit has Champagne sparkle for Hannon

Chindit remained unbeaten as he posted a decisive victory for Richard Hannon in the bet365 Champagne Stakes at Doncaster.

Successful on his only two previous racecourse starts, including a Listed race at Ascot, the son of Wootton Bassett was following up Hannon and jockey Pat Dobbs’ victory in this Group Two event with Threat last year.

Chindit was sent off the marginal second-favourite at 15-8 – with another unbeaten colt, Owen Burrows’ Albasheer, just shading that battle.

But on the track it was Hannon’s rising star who emerged with a length verdict from his main market rival, after they had both travelled powerfully into it, having been towards the rear of runners in the early stages.

Joseph O’Brien’s State Of Rest was just a short-head back in third, with the front three well clear.

Betfair gave the winner an 8-1 from 12-1 quote for next year’s 2000 Guineas, and he is set to further test his Classic claims in the Dewhurst at Newmarket next month.

Hannon said: “He got there quite easily and I thought the first two travelled well and the first three were a long way clear of the fourth.

“That’s probably the best two-year-old race of the season so far. The second is a very good horse and the third obviously is.

“We always thought he was top drawer, but you don’t know until you come here.

“To find a very good horse like him with a good temperament is something you don’t get every year. This is another step up and it’s on to the Dewhurst, hopefully.

“That’s the plan at the moment. That’s the big race of the year and that is where we’re heading, along with Etonian.

“His attitude and the way he behaves gives him every chance of being a horse for the 2000 Guineas – he does look a miler.”