Jim Bolger’s Verbal Dexterity on course for Dewhurst Stakes
English colt Expert Eye odds on for top juvenile event at Newmarket
Verbal Dexterity. “He has everything and is the complete package. He’s as good as any of the ones that have the Dewhurst for us. Any of those five,” said trainer Jim Bolger. Photograph: Tommy Dickson/Inpho
Jim Bolger rates Verbal Dexterity as good as any two year old he’s ever trained and that exalted status is set to be put to the test in Saturday’s Darley Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket.
The seven-furlong Group One prize has an illustrious history of identifying Europe’s champion two year old and Verbal Dexterity has a lot to live up to with his trainer having won the race five times in seven years between 2006 and 2012.
The home-bred son of Vocalised is one of 15 remaining in the Dewhurst after the latest stage and initial bookmaker reaction was to rate Verbal Dexterity a 9-2 second favourite behind the odds-on English colt, Expert Eye.
Aidan O’Brien has seven entries to choose from, including the filly Happily who has beaten colts once already this month in the Prix Jean Luc Lagadere at Chantilly.
The world-record seeking trainer has already indicated his trio of Seahenge, Threeandfourpence and the Middle Park winner US Navy Flag are at the forefront of the reckoning to try and give him a sixth Dewhurst success.
Theobald has also been left in the race although Bolger was clear about how highly he rates his principal hope after Verbal Dexterity beat Beckford in last month’s Group One National Stakes at the Curragh.
“He’s as good as any of the two year old olds I’ve had,” Bolger said after that race. “He has everything and is the complete package. He’s as good as any of the ones that have the Dewhurst for us. Any of those five.”
That quintet includes the subsequent classic heroes New Approach (2207) and his son Dawn Approach, the last of Bolger’s five Dewhurst winners in 2012. Parish Hall won the year before that while Intense Focus scored in 2008 and Teofilo started the hot-streak in 2006.
The most successful Irish trainer in Dewhurst history remains Vincent O’Brien who won it seven times in all.
Sir Michael Stoute’s sole Dewhurst winner was Ajdal 31 years ago but his Expert Eye dominates the betting for Saturday’s highlight.
Expert Eye missed out on a trip to Ireland for the National Stakes last month but is a general 4-6 shot to become a fifth Dewhurst winner for Prince Khalid Abdullah after Zafonic (1992) Xaar (1997) Distant Music (1999) and Frankel in 2010.
The Juddmonte Farm team confirmed on Monday that their dual-classic winner and Arc heroine Enable will race as a four year old in 2018. She is 3-1 to repeat her Arc victory and emulate Treve with back-to-back victories in Europe’s richest race.
No one was more delighted at the decision than Enable’s jockey Frankie Dettori.
“What she has achieved this year has been nothing short of sensational. I’m looking forward to having her back next year so we can have another crack at going for the Arc and all the other big races.
“She is the best filly I’ve ridden. She won five Group Ones, including two classics, and she didn’t just win them, she won them amazingly. I think racing fans will look forward to seeing her race next year including me as I’m her biggest fan,” added the Italian rider.
In other news, Co Meath-based Eddie Lynam is set to tackle the might of Ballydoyle’s juvenile team with Muirin in Friday’s Bet 365 Fillies Mile at Newmarket.
Muirin was fourth to Magical and Happily in the Moyglare last month and Lynam said: “I’d say the ground was too soft for all the fillies last time [in the Moyglare]. But it was a good renewal of the race. She has been in good form since and will appreciate some better ground.”