Horses To Follow » Dux Scholar

Dux Scholar

Dux Scholar was impressive in winning the Listed Shadwell Beech House Stud Stakes at Newbury on Saturday on his first attempt at 10 furlongs. He was slightly uneasy in the market for his second start of the season and was well back in the race, which was not the ideal position as they didn’t go any great pace up front, Dettori enjoying a completely uncontested lead on Enak. The runners came down the middle in the home straight and that helped Ryan Moore aboard Dux Scholar as he had no trouble finding a passage as the pace was lifting. He made good progress from the rear on the far side of the group to come and challenge between two and three furlongs out, and he quickened into a two and a half length lead. He had no trouble in seeing out the trip and holding onto a cosy margin to the line despite edging out to his right.

This was a decent field for the grade, with many of the contenders having made their presence felt at a higher level than Listed class before; Shimraam, for one, had won the Group 2 Prix Eugene Adam last season and was brought over by Alain De Royer-Dupre from France for this contest. Dux Scholar breezed past them all and had more than enough in reserve to hold them off once in front, which was highly encouraging, given that this was the longest distance over which he has raced. He had been only beaten a nose in the Group 3 Horris Hill Stakes on his final run last season, and had looked in need of the run when a close-up third to Nationalism and The Rectifier in another Listed contest at Windsor on his return three weeks previously. Again that day he was disadvantaged in being held up off a slow enough early pace, and he did well to get so close from so far back. He has clearly come on a good deal with that run under his belt and can go on again from this latest performance.

This was a comfortable career best on the figures, and he clearly has no trouble with the step up in trip, which opens up more options for him now. However, that is not to say that he needs 10 furlongs. This race, like the Windsor one on his previous start, was slowly run and he showed such a good turn of foot to sweep past his field and into a decisive lead that he surely would be similarly effective back at a mile. Either way he is versatile, distance-wise as well as ground-wise, and he can build on this, just his second run of the season. He deserves a rise in class now, back up to Group 3 or even Group 2 level, and he warrants close scrutiny wherever he turns up next.

16th July 2011