Sport

US Navy Flag leads O'Brien-trained sweep in Dewhurst Stakes

US Navy Flag leads O'Brien-trained sweep in Dewhurst Stakes”

Aidan O'Brien has won four of these and has a quartet to represent the formidable might of his stable this time headed by the September 30 G1 Middle Park S. hero U S Navy Flag (War Front).

Expert Eye was a bitterly disappointing odds-on favourite, with Andrea Atzeni sending out distress signals at halfway, and he finished out with the washing.

The 5-1 shot, ridden by Ryan Moore, headed home 50-1 stablemate Mendelssohn, with Seahenge third and Threeandfourpence fourth.

The Ballydoyle handler will bid to equal the record tomorrow night at Woodbine in Canada as he saddles Rain Goddess in the Grade 1 EP Taylor Stakes and Idaho in the equally prestigious Pattison Canadian International Stakes.

It is 31 years since Sir Michael Stoute claimed his first and only victory in the seven-furlong Group One with Ajdal, a horse who would ultimately make his mark as a top-class sprinter the following season, after running in the 2000 Guineas and Derby. It was a very good performance at Goodwood and the form has worked out well.

"We knew he'd win at Goodwood and we were really pleased with him".

Even by his own high standards, 2017 has been a year to remember for the unassuming 47-year-old and US Navy Flag became the latest top-notch victor to roll off his Ballydoyle production line in Newmarket's feature two-year-old contest.

O'Brien said: "US Navy Flag is in good form".

Meanwhile, Stoute admitted he was non-plussed by the run of previously unbeaten Expert Eye. He's going up to seven furlongs for the first time but when we stepped his sister (Roly Poly) up she improved.

"Churchill, who won this previous year, was a seriously good two-year-old". He was still a bit babyish, but we were delighted with him and he's been in good form since. He has been in good form. "He's by War Front so the better ground won't be a disadvantage anyway".

He dealt with some useful types easily that day and looks potentially very special.

By War Front out of Misty For Me, by Galileo, U S Navy Flag, a brother to multiple Group 1 victor Roly Poly, won just once in his first seven starts but now has captured three straight Group stakes, and he is surely to be among the favorites if he shows up next month at Del Mar.



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