War Command sees off Cable Bay to land the Dubai Dewhurst StakesPICTURE: Mark Cranham (racingpost.com/photos)
War Command battles
to victory in Dewhurst
Report: Newmarket, Saturday
Dubai Dewhurst Stakes (Group 1) 2yo, 7f
WAR COMMAND confirmed his place among the leading 2014 Classic hopes by winning his first Group 1, but he had to dip deep to see off tenacious outsider Cable Bay.
BetVictor cut the Aidan O'Brien-trained winner to 8-1 (from 10) for the Qipco 2,000 Guineas, Paddy Power went 9-1 (from 12), but Betfred and Coral's unchanged 10-1 probably better reflected the unflashy style of the win.
War Command was positioned fourth in the early exchanges by big-race jockey Joseph O'Brien, while stablemate Friendship made the pace upfront and major rival Outstrip brought up the rear of the six-strong field.
From two furlongs out O'Brien moved forward on War Command, swiftly asserting, but the Charlie Hills-trained Cable Bay, 20-1, did not fold and kept the leader up to his work all the way to the line.
"If I had the race back I’d probably sit for another half-furlong," admitted O'Brien. "A mile will not be a problem but I’m not sure if he’d get much further."
War Command's trainer said the ground (good to soft, good in places) did not favour his colt.
"He’s a beautiful action horse and it was very fast the day he won at Ascot and that’s really what he want," said O'Brien senior.
"I’d say he’s done enough now [for the season].
"He’s a big powerful horse. I think he’ll get a mile and he travelled very strong."
Outstrip stayed on into third but that represented a disappointing performance from the Godolphin-owned 15-8 shot, an impressive winner of the Champagne Stakes at Doncaster last month.
However, trainer Charlie Appleby said he was pleased with the performance.
"Mickael [Barzalona, rider] said he was a bit keen early on but he has still run a nice race," Appleby said.
"We will put him away now and see how he fills out over winter before we decide about the 2,000 Guineas."
Hills, trainer of the runner-up, said: "He has run another gallant race and I can't believe he's not won a Group race this term.
"He won't run again this season and he is from a speedy family so we will have to see about the 2,000 Guineas. We may start him off in something like the Greenham."