Dewhurst takeaway: all you need to know as Frankie Dettori scores on St Mark’s Basilica

By Nicholas Godfrey

So you know St Mark’s Basilica and Frankie Dettori beat Wembley for an Aidan O’Brien one-two in the Darley Dewhurst Stakes, G1 highlight of the Dubai Future Champions Weekend at Newmarket on Saturday. You’ve probably seen the race – but here’s some other stuff you might like to know.

What’s going on?

2,000 Guineas betting update

Betting on next year’s Qipco 2,000 Guineas was left in a confused state after the two-year-old championship, with Thunder Moon still heading the market – despite finishing only third.

Dewhurst winner St Mark’s Basilica is now a 10-1 chance with Coral, while Ladbrokes and Paddy Power go a couple of points bigger. Stablemate Wembley is 16s with Paddy Power.

“You’d think the first three look like they are proper Guineas horses, don’t they?” said Aidan O’Brien after his one-two.

His son Joseph trains Thunder Moon, who had Wembley and St Mark’s Basilica behind in second and third in last month’s Vincent O’Brien National Stakes at the Curragh.

Qipco 2,000 Guineas betting (Ladbrokes): 7 Battleground, Thunder Moon, 8 Cadillac, 12 High Definition, St Mark’s Basilica, Wembley, 14 Chindit, Master Of The Seas, 16 Alkumait, Lucky Vega, 20/1 bar.

Horse Racing St Mark's Basilica
Dewhurst hero St Mark’s Basilica pictured breaking his maiden at the Curragh. Photo: Tattersalls

Breeders’ Cup “possible” – but sounds unlikely

Ballydoyle love to send their horses to the Breeders’ Cup, for which St Mark’s Basilica was described as a “possible” by his trainer, presumably with the Juvenile Turf in mind – a race he has won four times in nine years.

However, stablemate Battleground, the Vintage Stakes winner, seems more likely to do the honours at Keeneland. 

“The Breeders’ Cup is possible for the winner, but we’re thinking Battleground will go to the Breeders’ Cup, so he doesn’t have to go,” said O’Brien. “We’ll see nearer the time, but at the moment we’re thinking Battleground will go.”

Seventh Dewhurst for Aidan O’Brien

The 10-1 shot provided Aidan O’Brien with his seventh winner in the race, equalling the number achieved by his legendary Ballydoyle predecessor Vincent O’Brien and one behind record-holders John Porter and Frank Butters.

O’Brien’s winners are: Rock Of Gibraltar (2001), Beethoven (2009), War Command (2013), Air Force Blue (2015), Churchill (2016), US Navy Flag (2017) and St Mark’s Basilica (2020).

After his victory on Too Darn Hot in 2018, Frankie Dettori was winning his second Dewhurst in three years.

Another big winner for Siyouni

Bought for 1.3 million guineas out of Book 1 at last year’s Tattersalls October Sale, St Mark’s Basilica is a half-brother to Guineas winner Magna Grecia.

Like Arc winner Sottsass, he is a French-bred son of Siyouni, who stands at the Aga Khan’s Haras de Bonneval. Sottsass has been retired to Coolmore.

St Mark’s Basilica was re-routed to the Dewhurst after being one of the O’Brien horses affected by the contaminated foodstuffs that forced the trainer to withdraw all his intended runners on the Arc card at ParisLongchamp.

What a difference 24 hours can make…

A one-two in the Dewhurst Stakes was a far cry from Aidan O’Brien’s experiences at Newmarket on Friday, when two Ballydoyle representatives were involved in an embarrassing mix-up in the G1 Bet365 Fillies’ Mile.

The result of the G1 contest will be revised after it emerged that Ballydoyle fillies Mother Earth and Snowfall, the 50-1 shot who officially placed third, carried each other’s numbers and intended riders. In fact the horse who was third past the post was Mother Earth.  “I don’t know what to say other than I am so sorry that it happened,” commented O’Brien.

Autumn Stakes: One Ruler looks a Guineas candidate

Elsewhere on the card, One Ruler earned quotes for next year’s Classics after a powerful victory for Godolphin in the G3 Autumn Stakes over a mile. Ridden by William Buick, the Charlie Appleby-trained colt is 25-1 for the 2,000 Guineas with Ladbrokes, who make the son of Frankel a 20-1 chance for the Derby.

“William feels that the horse has enough pace to be a Guineas contender,” said Appleby. “His dam Fintry was a G2 winner over a mile and he is a son of Dubawi who will get stronger over the winter, which could build on his speed. I think he is a horse who we would have to consider strongly for the 2,000 Guineas.”

Shall we talk about it?

Aidan O’Brien (trainer of St Mark’s Basilica and Wembley): “We’re delighted with both of them. The plan was that St Mark’s Basilica would run in France and then Wembley would run in the Dewhurst, that’s the way we were going.
“We’ve always liked St Mark’s Basilica a lot, and Wembley, we’ve always thought they were very smart colts. The first three were were the same three as in the National Stakes. Every year it’s a great race and the form always stands up.
“You’d think the first three look like they are proper Guineas horses, don’t they? They have speed and were getting seven furlongs well. Frankie gave him a lovely ride and he’d run a lovely race at the Curragh when Ryan said he was a bit green and babyish. He thought he was going to come forward a good bit. He’s genuine, tough and has class as well.
“I felt we had a better draw than Thunder Moon today as the closer you’ve been to the stands rail the better. Thunder Moon ended up getting there very early and it worked better for us. They’re three very good horses and the Curragh form stood up 100 per cent today.”

Frankie Dettori (St Mark’s Basilica’s jockey): “They went fast. I was in the middle of the group and I got all the splits. In fairness, when I asked him to go he went and he never stopped. He didn’t put a foot wrong. His form is good and he didn’t have much to find on the second and third and it all worked out well. He would get a mile no problem.”

Declan McDonogh (Thunder Moon’s jockey): “Thunder Moon ran a great race but the ground was quite deep for him and he couldn’t pick up on it. Hopefully he’ll be better on better ground.”

Pat Dobbs (Chindit’s jockey): “He hung right in the race which is not like him. The ground was very deep and I wasn’t happy at any stage.”

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