10/14/2005 11:00PM

Favorites fall at Newmarket


LONDON - Oratorio was an off-key fourth in the Champion Stakes, and Horatio Nelson had his colors lowered for the first time in the Dewhurst Stakes on Saturday when the unheralded David Junior and the unbeaten Sir Percy emerged as the big Group 1 winners at Newmarket's $1.8 million Champions Day meeting.

Although he had come into the $780,000 Champion Stakes a winner in all three of his previous tries at 1 1/4 miles, David Junior got away as a 25-1 longshot. A 3-year-old son of Pleasant Tap, David Junior had won the Group 3 Select Stakes last time at Goodwood, but he has improved greatly since that Sept. 11 race under the careful watch of trainer Brian Meehan.

David Junior burst clear of the field at the eighth pole and was ridden out by Jamie Spencer to hold off runner-up Pride by three-quarters of a length. David Junior traveled the straight 10 furlongs in 2:05.43 on drying-out ground that was rated good to soft, good in places.

Maraahel was third, with the 9-4 favorite and two-time 1 1/4-mile Group 1 winner, Oratorio, fourth, 3 1/4 lengths behind the winner. Rakti and Alexander Goldrun, who will now head to Sha Tin for the Hong Kong Mile and the Hong Kong Cup, respectively, came home sixth and eighth.

For Oratorio, this effort surely ended any chance we might see him in the Breeders' Cup Classic.

In winning the Group 1, $450,000 Dewhurst Stakes, Sir Percy sunk any chance Horatio Nelson may have had of overhauling his stablemate, George Washington, for the European juvenile colt championship. Sir Percy, a Marcus Tregoning-trained son of Mark of Esteem, held off a late charge by the unlucky Horatio Nelson to win by a neck, covering the seven furlongs in 1:26.52.

Now 4 for 4, Sir Percy added to his July 27 victory in the Group 2 Vintage Stakes, but he was the beneficiary of an unfortunate ride by Kieren Fallon on Horatio Nelson, the odds-on favorite who would have been a clear winner had he not been blocked early, bumped midway, then blocked again late.

When Horatio Nelson finally did get free, he came with a rush, but it was just too late.

Trainer Aidan O'Brien said Horatio Nelson will not run again this season. O'Brien also said that George Washington, who did not run because of the slight give in the ground, was "probably through for the year." If that is the case, he will not be headed to Belmont Park for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile.

Le Vie dei Colori lands Challenge

First-time blinkers made a new horse of Le Vie dei Colori, who charged home under Gerald Mosse to land the Group 2, $162,000 Challenge Stakes. Winless since having joined trainer Luca Cumani in the winter of 2004, the Efisio 5-year-old defeated the 2-1 Sleeping Indian by 2 1/2 lengths at 20-1, and could be headed for the Hong Kong Mile before going off to stud. His time for the seven furlongs was 1:25.34.