Estidhkaar expected to deliver in Dewhurst Stakes
Estidhkaar looks a worthy favourite to further enhance his classic claims with success in the Group 1 Dubai Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket today (4.00).
The Richard Hannon trained colt finished a promising second on debut and showed the benefit of that experience when running out the comfotable winner of an 11-runner maiden at Newbury.
Estidhkaar was then upped significantly in grade and sent off the 15/8 favourite for the Group 2 Superlative Stakes at Newmarket, and his supporters never had an anxious moment.
The son of Dark Angel, who is a half-brother to the stables’s leading 2013 juvenile Toormore, raced keenly at the head of affairs before forging clear inside the final furlong to slam Akabantay by 4 1/2 lengths on good-to-soft ground.
It was a breathtaking performance which earned Estidhkaar an initial 20/1 quote with Coral for next year’s 2,000 Guineas, and the form has been franked in no uncertain manner by the runner-up going on to land the Group 3 Solario Stakes at Sandown.
Estidhkaar then defied a penalty to land the Group 2 Vintage Stakes last time out at Doncaster in good style, and was subsequently cut to 14/1 for Guineas glory.
This represents the two=year-old’s toughest task to date, but such is the impression that Estidhkaar has created I fully expect him to come through it with flying colours to land the four-timer.
The main dangers to Estidhkaar would appear to be Maftool and Smugglers Cove.
The former is trained by Saeed Bin Surroor and has shown progressive form in four starts, culminating a a smooth success in the Group 3 Tattersall Stakes over course and distance last month.
That 2 1/4 length beating of Markaz earned Maftool an official rating of 112, just 2lb lower than Estidhkaar.
It suggests that the son of Hard Spun is capable of playing a leading roll if proving as effective on soft ground, and Maftool is clearly going the right way.
Irish trainer Aidan O’Brien has chosen recent Dundalk winner Smuggler’s Cove as his sole representative from seven entries, which included Group 1 winner Gleneagles, at the 5-day declaration stage and that merits the progressive colt the utmost respect.
The son of Fastnet Rock created a good impression when slamming Orcia in a Listed contest seven days ago, but this demands much more and that form is nowhere near the level shown by Estidhkaar.