Newmarket: US Navy Flag wins Dewhurst Stakes in 1-2-3-4 for Aidan O'Brien

US Navy Flag
US Navy Flag gave trainer Aidan O'Brien a sixth win in the Dewhurst Stakes

US Navy Flag won the Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket to give trainer Aidan O'Brien a 1-2-3-4 and leave him one away from the record Group One tally in a year.

The 5-1 shot, ridden by Ryan Moore, headed home 50-1 stablemate Mendelssohn, with Seahenge third and Threeandfourpence fourth.

Odds-on favourite Expert Eye, trained by Sir Michael Stoute, finished last.

O'Brien now has 24 top-level wins in 2017 as he closes on the record of 25 set by the late Bobby Frankel.

The 5-1 favourite Withhold, ridden from the front by Silvestre de Sousa for trainer Roger Charlton, comfortably won the Cesarewitch Handicap.

"It was a demolition job," said Charlton of the winner, owned by Brighton and Hove Albion chairman Tony Bloom.

In the Dewhurst, Moore controlled the pace from the front before claiming a two-and-a-half length victory on US Navy Flag, who won the Middle Park Stakes a fortnight ago.

"It's a massive feat again, what Aidan has done," said Moore.

Bookmakers installed US Navy Flag as new favourite for next year's 2,000 Guineas, at about 8-1 from 20-1.

Aidan O'Brien
'We take every horse and each race at a time,' said O'Brien of the record

Irish trainer O'Brien was claiming a sixth win - and third consecutive victory - in the Dewhurst Stakes, a late-season race for two-year-olds before next year's Classics.

He could potentially equal, or break, the record at Woodbine in Canada on Sunday where he runs Rain Goddess and Idaho in Group One races.

His next chance after that will be in four contests at British Champions Day at Ascot on 21 October.

"It would be massive for everyone, but we don't think about it as a long-term thing," said O'Brien.

Group One record
Bobby Frankel: American trainer set the world record of 25 top-level wins in 2003. He died six years later, and the legendary unbeaten racehorse Frankel was named after him
Aidan O'Brien: Irish trainer's previous best Group One tally was 23 in 2001 and 2008

Meanwhile Stoute was flummoxed by the performance of 4-7 favourite Expert Eye, who finished last of the nine runners.

"He was a little keen early on, but even so it was disappointing. That was not him," said Stoute.

The horse was later found to have been lame in his right hind following a post-race examination.

Analysis

BBC horse racing correspondent Cornelius Lysaght

A 1-2-3-4 in pretty much any race is an extraordinary feat, but in one at Group One level - unprecedented in modern times - is staggering, though also indicative of just what a phenomenon Aidan O'Brien is.

US Navy Flag was racing for the 10th time this year, and though this was terrific, some of the odds being bandied around for him in the 2,000 Guineas seem decidedly cramped.

Expert Eye's performance in last can quite likely be consigned to the 'too bad to be true' file, though sceptics will obviously suggest he was an 'early bloomer' which hasn't progressed.

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