Dewhurst not ruled out for Middle Park hero Vandeek

By Sports Desk October 02, 2023

Options remain open for Simon and Ed Crisford’s Vandeek after his superb Middle Park success.

The Havana Grey colt maintained his flawless record at Newmarket on Saturday, securing an impressive two-and-a-quarter-length victory under James Doyle in the six-furlong Group One.

That triumph is stacked on top of a winning debut, a Group Two win in the Richmond Stakes at Goodwood and further Group One glory in the Prix Morny at Deauville, meaning he is unbeaten in four starts so far.

On his first three outings he had encountered soft ground, particularly at Goodwood, but at Newmarket the going was good to firm and in quick conditions he looked even more talented when hitting top gear to leave a smart field in his wake.

“He was very impressive on Saturday, he showed a really classy turn of foot to put the race to bed going into the dip,” said Chris Wall, racing manager to owners KHK Racing.

“Up to that point he’d only ever run on soft ground and it had to be seen if he could handle the quicker conditions as well, but actually I think he handled them better.

“It was a really classy performance and a credit to the Crisfords to have him teed up and ready to go on the day having not run since the middle of August.

“They hadn’t gone particularly quickly by halfway, visually they didn’t look to be going as strong a gallop as you might expect in a Group One race.

“The field then quickened in front of him and he’s just shot away from them, it goes to show the raw natural speed that he possesses.”

Vandeek clearly has ample ability and his performances are further aided by his rock steady temperament as he does little to burn through vital energy ahead of his races.

“He has the most remarkable temperament, most two-year-old sprinting colts would tend to be a bit buzzy and electric but he’s the very opposite of that,” Wall said.

“He walks around half asleep most of the time, Andrea Atzeni rode him in Deauville and he warned James Doyle about him. He said ‘the only thing you have to worry about is that you don’t let him fall asleep and fall on his head cantering to the start’.”

The colt holds an entry for the Dewhurst in mid-October and whilst firm plans have not been made, a return to the Rowley Mile is not ruled out for a late-season step up to seven furlongs.

“He has an engagement in the Dewhurst but I think nobody is going to commit to that until nearer the time when we can see how the horse is, what the opposition will be, all the usual things. We’re not ruling anything out at this stage.”

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