10/12/2013 1:01PM

Newmarket: War Command delivers as favorite in Dewhurst Stakes


The favored War Command did not disappoint in the Group 1, $559,000 Dewhurst Stakes on Saturday at Newmarket in England, pushing out to a 1 1/4-length victory over longshot Cable Bay in the seven-furlong straight-course race for 2-year-olds.

Bred by Joe Allen, an American, and co-owned by Allen and the Coolmore group, War Command became a four-time winner as a 2-year-old, with his lone loss in five races a surprising third in the Aug. 11 Phoenix Stakes at The Curragh. War Command, trained by Aidan O’Brien and ridden to victory by Joseph O’Brien, probably is not the top 2-year-old in his barn, but he has proven plenty good as a juvenile.

In the Dewhurst, contested over a course rated “good to soft,” War Command settled not far behind the leaders for the first five furlongs, bidding mildly a quarter-mile out and more seriously with a furlong left to run. He ran past Cable Bay, who kept on determinedly but could make up no late ground on the winner, who came home with a finish more workmanlike than brilliant.

Outstrip finished third, followed by Anjaal, Stormadal, and Friendship, the O’Brien-trained pacesetter. The winning time on ground that looked laboring was 1:25.06.

War Command, who won his first Group 1 on Saturday, is a son of War Front and the mare Wandering Star. O’Brien, the trainer, said War Command was unlikely to start again this year. His connections believe he will stay one mile but probably won’t be suited to distances much longer than that, making him a candidate for the 2014 English 2000 Guineas.

In Newmarket’s second Group 1 for 2-year-olds on Saturday, the Middle Park Stakes, trainer Kevin Ryan swept the top two placings with Astaire and Hot Streak. Astaire led throughout the six-furlong Middle Park, holding off an inside run from Hot Streak to win by a half-length. Justice Day finished a well-beaten third, while the favored Irish invaders Sudirman and Great White Eagle finished unplaced.

In the $400,000 Cesarwitch Handicap, the 66-1 shot Scatter Dice rallied from last of 33 to win by three lengths.