The Dewhurst Stakes: Everything You Need to Know

The Dewhurst Stakes is an annual flat racing event held in October at Newmarket Racecourse. It is a featured Group One race on the second day of Newmarket's Dubai Future Champions Meeting. Arguably, this seven-furlong sprint is the most valuable racing event for two-year-old thoroughbreds in the UK with £500,000 in total prize money (as of 2017). This race, along with the notable Cesarewitch Heritage Handicap, provides excitement enough to ensure high numbers of spectators even on the last day of the festival.

A Closer Look at the
Dewhurst Stakes

This sprint is an event restricted to two-year-old thoroughbred colts and fillies. Held on the legendary Rowley Mile Course at Newmarket, the race itself covers a straight portion of it stretching seven furlongs from start to finish. The weight requirement for each colt is 9 stones-1 pound, whereas, fillies are allowed a 3 pound difference amounting to 8st-11lbs.

fact file

location: Newmarket Racecourse

grade: Group 1

race type: Flat

The History of the Race

In 1875, the Dewhurst Stakes was established just a few years after the Middle Park Stakes with a donation of £300 from wealthy breeders. It was initially referred to as the Dewhurst Plate. Ironically, the Middle Park Stakes offered the larger prize of £1000. Today, the Dewhurst Stakes is the richer race of the two with a purse of £500,000 which is more than double Middle Park's purse of £213,500.

Due to its prestige and purse size, the Dewhurst Stakes attracts the best juveniles in flat racing each year. This event showcases the talent of each two-year-old. Based on their performance, punters determine the likelihood that each competitor will succeed as a three-year-old in the next 2000 Guineas or Epsom Derby. Below is the Honour Roll for the past decade. Note how the purse has doubled in size since 2007!

Records

Because no horse receives a second chance to run in the Dewhurst Stakes, most of the major records of this particular race were all established by the jockeys and trainers rather than the horses themselves. The records listed below are current as of 2017 (as of 2017).

  • A new record time of 1 minute and 22.37 seconds was set by 2017 winner US Navy Flag making him the fastest to win the race since Intense Focus who won with a time of 1m: 23.33sec in 2008.

  • The ever-present and ever glorious Lester Piggott recorded no less than ten wins at the Dewhurst Stakes between 1956 and 1982.

  • The title of leading trainer is shared between John Porter and Frank Butters, who trained eight winners each between 1884-1898 and 1927-1946 respectively.

  • Currently, the owner with the most wins is Aga Khan III who won on eight occasions from 1923 to 1946.

Best Moments

In its first four years of action, the Dewhurst Stakes produced one English Classics champion after another which rapidly raised its prestige. Over the years, this race has continued to host top-level competitors. Below are some of the best horses and moments of the race (as of 2017).

jockey racing horse
  • All of the winners during the inaugural years, Kisber, Chamant, Pilgrimage and Wheel of Fortune, went on to win one or more of the five Classics. The most recent Dewhurst Stakes contender to achieve this feat was 2007 champion New Approach, who went on to win the Epsom Derby after his winning performance at Newmarket.

  • US Navy Flag made history by not only setting a new record time for the race, but also becoming the tenth competitor to win both the Dewhurst and Middle Park Stakes in the same season.

  • Perhaps the strongest filly to win in the early years of the race was Wheel of Fortune. She was undefeated as a two-year-old winning the Dewhurst Stakes in 1878. She went on to win the 1000 Guineas, Epsom Oaks, Yorkshire Oaks and Prince of Wales's Stakes.