Matt Chapman looks ahead to a red-hot Dewhurst at Newmarket this weekend as well as the big Cesarewitch Handicap

I'M as pumped as a pumped thing for what is arguably the most competitive Dewhurst ever at Newmarket today!

That's the kind of statement that gets social media keyboard warriors typing messages of ridicule. But I'm not kidding oh no I'm not.

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Of course there have been brilliant Dewhurst winners like Zafonic, Frankel and last year's super high rated Pinatubo.

But in terms of strength in depth, you will find it hard to find a stronger line-up than this afternoon's when reflecting on past renewals of the most important juvenile race of the European season.

A field of fourteen is set to go to post for the seven furlong Group 1 showpiece, headed by Chindit, Thunder Moon, Alkumait, Albasheer, Cadillac and Etonian.

This is juvenile competition of the highest order, with only Vintage Stakes victor Battleground swerving a monster test. Indeed, with the exception of Battleground you could argue it's the 2000 Guineas six months before the first Classic of the 2021 Flat campaign.

I can't think of any Dewhurst that has had more quality, although in 1983 El Gran Senor had an Arc hero in Rainbow Quest behind (as well as Superlative) and in 2007 Dawn Approach left trailing a Breeders' Cup Classic hero in Raven's Pass.

Richard Hannon has both Chindit and Etonian, who between them are unbeaten in five starts.

They have already shown they are not typical Hannon youngsters, in that their best days still look ahead of them, rather than simply achieving terrific things as youngsters.

Chindit has been chosen by Pat Dobbs over Etonian, and that's on the back of a smooth success over Albasheer in the Group 2 Champagne Stakes at Doncaster.

After a slow start, the son of Wootton Bassett finished off powerfully to pick up Owen Burrow's charge who had looked special on his debut when scoring at the same track.

Dobbs will not have made his decision without much soul searching.

Etonian's name is the only thing I can fault him for currently, as he has excelled in two victories at Sandown, on both occasions coming through the pack like a knife through butter.

He blew me away on debut, with a stunning effort similar to that of Arazi in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile of 1991. If you haven't seen that then check it out on YouTube. Tom Marquand gets the ride on Etonian.

Then there is Alkumait, supplemented by the terrific Marcus Tregoning and Hamdan al Maktoum at a cost of £32,000.

The Showcasing offspring has been campaigned exclusively at six furlongs, most recently when landing the Group 2 Mill Reef Stakes at Newbury last month. Incidentally, since the Mill Reef Stakes was first run in 1972 no horse has gone on from victory at Newbury to land the Dewhurst. 

Tregoning said: "There is a lot of speed on the dam’s side but we will try to mould him to at least get seven furlongs and then after that we will see.

“If you could get him to drop in and settle, like he did at Newbury, there is every chance he will get a little bit further. I think that is the way to go. It opens up the game plan a bit. We can always come back to six furlongs." 

The Irish raid is headed by Joseph O'Brien's Thunder Moon, who stuck on well to land the Group 1 National Stakes on his most recent start and he's got the help of the enforcer, Declan McDonogh.

Many felt his success at the Curragh was the best from any two-year-old in Europe in 2020, and it came on just his second start.

The son of Zoffany looks high class indeed.  And don't ignore Poetic Flare for Jim Bolger, who only landed a little race at Naas last time but is a son of Dawn Approach and probably has much more to offer under Kevin Manning.

Away from the Dewhurst, live on the main ITV network, punters can get stuck into one of the big betting races of the season in the Together for Racing International Cesarewitch Handicap over two and a quarter miles. 

This is always a staying cavalry charge, and I'll be having a few quid eachway on SMART CHAMPION who stays all day and has a big one like this in him for Dave Simcock.

He should give Stevie Donohoe a great spin under 8st 9lb.  It's a Saturday of racing to savour. Lap it up racing fans and enjoy.

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