Dazzle's rivals in the shade

Luke Ardley runs the rule over the leading juveniles

Newmarket's July meeting transformed this season's juvenile rankings, as the established performers were eclipsed by Dazzle, the deeply impressive winner of the Cherry Hinton Stakes.

Dazzle stepped up considerably on the debut promise of her Windsor Castle Stakes win at Royal Ascot to beat Ocean Ridge by five lengths in an exceptional time last week. Michael Stoute's filly ran the six furlongs more than four-fifths of a second faster than the three-year-old sprint handicap on the same afternoon, while carrying a similar weight.

Allowance for the weight-for-age differential of 27lb suggests Dazzle put up a performance three stone superior to fillies officially rated in the mid-80s.

Conventional two-year-old handicapping proceeds via a steady rise in the ratings from a low beginning, until a level of 120-plus is reached towards the end of the season.

In fact, juvenile form proceeds in great leaps forward and equally dizzying descents - the rapid deterioration of Deadly Dudley, well beaten in a poor July Stakes after the promise of his first two wins, is one example. But there is no reason for not rating two-year-olds on the same scale as their elders.

A figure of 131 for Dazzle's Cherry Hinton win is on a par with the best juvenile efforts of Celtic Swing or Spectrum in 1994, and slightly superior to Alhaarth's debut win from Mark Of Esteem at the July meeting last year.

None of these has proved quite the world beaters that once seemed possible, but it is still a measure of Dazzle's potential and present superiority to her contemporaries.


131 Dazzle; 119 Ocean Ridge, Verglas; 118 Tipsy Creek; 116 Grapeshot; 115 Bahamian Bounty, Raphane; 114 Bahhare; 113 Daylight In Dubai; 111 Compton Place, Kumait; 110 Well Warned.

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