Expert analysis of the Denford Stakes as Dhababi bids to stay unbeaten



With the ground already on the soft side of good and further rain forecast, this might be won by the horse who handles the conditions best, rather than the most talented runner in the race.


There are a few who can lay claim to that title and Guru is right there judged on Racing Post Ratings. John Gosden’s colt was awarded a figure of 90 for his victory in a novice event over course and distance last month and that is higher than the other three once-raced winners. 

Dhahabi cost 3,100,000gns as a yearling and the son of superstar Frankel has a pedigree to die for. He is a half-brother to 2015 Epsom Derby and Arc winner Golden Horn. The only worry is Golden Horn was at his best on a sound surface and that raises doubts over Dhahabi’s ability to handle soft going. His debut victory at Newmarket came on good to firm.


James Ferguson saddles another once-raced winner in the shape of Francesco Guardi and the Newmarket trainer has made a flying start to his career. He is operating at a 25 per cent strike-rate and Ferguson has booked Oisin Murphy to ride. The champion jockey has two winners, a second and two thirds from five rides for the trainer this season.


William Bligh might not have the sexy profile of some of these, but we know he handles soft ground. He was impressive when winning a novice on such conditions at Haydock last month and comes here following a good effort in a nursery at Glorious Goodwood on quicker going.

He might not be the most talented, but he looks like the one who will handle conditions best.

Race analysis by Graeme Rodway


What they say


Charlie Appleby, trainer of Dhahabi He's done well physically since winning at Newmarket. We feel that a mile is going to be his forte in time but this looks a nice race to hopefully continue his education.


James Ferguson, trainer of Francesco Guardi He won nicely at Salisbury on his debut and has come forward from that. He looks fantastic but is in a hard race, as it should be. I'm not worried about the easier ground and we are looking forward to running him.


John Gosden, trainer of Guru He's a course-and-distance winner and we are keen to run but I would be concerned if they get much more rain as it can get quite holding at Newbury.


Eve Johnson Houghton, trainer of Jumby I wouldn't want it to be bottomless ground for him because he's a good-moving colt, but we'll see how we get on. I'm hopeful, he's a lovely horse, but it's a tight race for not very much money.


Roger Varian, trainer of Saint Lawrence It looks a tough race but he is more experienced than some of the others and that could be important. They've had rain and I'd be hopeful he can handle it.


Harry Bentley, rider of William Bligh He was a bit keen in the early stages of the race at Goodwood last time which didn't help in the closing stages. If he can settle a bit better he could run a nice race and has more experience than most in the field.


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