St Mark’s Basilica denies Wembley to lead home Aidan O'Brien one-two in Dewhurst

Sat 10 Oct 2020

Aidan O’Brien dominated the Darley Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket, as St Mark’s Basilica and Frankie Dettori held off stablemate Wembley and Ryan Moore.

The Ballydoyle pair had finished behind Thunder Moon in the National Stakes at the Curragh last time out – but this time the form was turned around as Joseph O’Brien’s colt, the 11-4 favourite, could only manage third behind the 10-1 winner.

The principals came down the centre of the track, while several of the other fancied runners made a dash for the rail, which had been favoured in earlier races.

It was a seventh Dewhurst for O’Brien, while it was a second in three years for Dettori after Too Darn Hot in 2018.

Watch a full replay of the 2020 Darley Dewhurst Stakes

In a race traditionally seen as the juvenile championship with countless champions produced down the years, this season’s field looked well up to scratch.

Richard Hannon fielded two unbeaten contenders in Chindit and Etonian, while Marcus Tregoning had supplemented Mill Reef winner Alkumait.

None of those could get involved, though, with the result in stark contrast to the fortunes of O’Brien on Friday, when it emerged his two runners in the Fillies’ Mile had carried the wrong saddle cloths and were ridden by the wrong jockeys.

O’Brien had also been forced to pull out all his runners at ParisLongchamp on Arc day last weekend due to issues surrounding contaminated feed.

O’Brien said: “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.”

On future plans, O’Brien added: “The Breeders’ Cup is possible for the winner, but we’re thinking Battleground (Royal Ascot and Vintage Stakes winner) will go to the Breeders’ Cup, so he doesn’t have to go.

“We’ll see nearer the time, but at the moment we’re thinking Battleground will go.”

Dettori – who won the St Leger for O’Brien aboard Scorpion in 2005 – said: “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.”

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