Too Darn Hot bids to complete his rapid ascent to the top of the juvenile ranks with victory in the Darley Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket.
John Gosden’s colt is bred to be a superstar as a son of Dubawi out of three-times Group One Dar Re Mi, making him a full-brother to a pair of top-class mares in So Mi Dar and Lah Ti Dar.
Too Darn Hot has certainly upheld family honour thus far, making a spectacular debut at Sandown little over two months ago before Group-race triumphs in Sandown’s Solario Stakes and the Champagne Stakes at Doncaster.
He is a red-hot favourite to maintain his unbeaten record this weekend, but Gosden is taking nothing for granted as his charge prepares to test his powers at the highest level for the first time.
Gosden said: “He has gone from winning a maiden to winning a Group Three and Group Two last time out. He’s a quick learner and is more precocious than the rest of the family, but it is a big jump.
“I am not surprised that he came to hand quickly, because he is a very active, joyful horse, who has always been on the front foot and he just presented himself. He’s a happy, cheerful horse, which is helpful as they let you know when they are bouncing.
“He’s a lot like So Mi Dar and he’s got a great turn of foot, but I’m not convinced that he will stay more than a mile and a quarter next year.”
Too Darn Hot’s owner-breeders, Lord and Lady Lloyd-Webber, have a policy of keeping the fillies they breed but selling the colts, as evidenced when his brother became the most expensive yearling sold at auction this year when fetching 3.5million guineas at Tattersalls on Wednesday.
Too Darn Hot himself only avoided going under the hammer due to injury.
Gosden added: “He is a beautifully-bred horse and he comes with a bit of story as he couldn’t make the sales with an X-ray problem and he has done well to overcome it at this stage.
“Doncaster is a different track to Newmarket, what with the dip and the quick ground, but we have been happy with him.
“He is a bit of a buzz horse, but he has won his races well.”
The sole Group One winner to date in the field is the Martyn Meade-trained Advertise.
Second in the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot to the now-sidelined Calyx, the Showcasing colt struck gold in the Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh.
Meade said: “It was always the plan to wait for the Dewhurst after the Phoenix, I just thought the little break would do him good.
“He’d had four runs anyway, he couldn’t have had a better preparation as far as I’m concerned. It’s all gone according to plan – apart from the entries of the other good horses, that’s the annoying bit!”
He added: “I don’t know if he’s going there as the forgotten horse, he certainly hasn’t been forgotten in my book.
“It’s quite extraordinary that he barely gets talked about, because he won the Newmarket race (July Stakes) pretty easily and if he’d been drawn on the same side as Calyx and known he had to race against him he may have beaten him, too.
“I think he’s a bit undervalued at the moment, personally, but there we go.”
Aidan O’Brien has won the last three renewals and this year calls on Anthony Van Dyck, Mohawk and Christmas in a bid for a seventh win the race overall.
All three have claims, but the stable number one appears to be Anthony Van Dyck, who found only Quorto too good in the National Stakes at the Curragh.
O’Brien said: “He’s been in good form since the Curragh. We’ve been happy with him since then.
“We think he is getting better and progressing with every run. We think he has come forward nicely from the Curragh.”
Mohawk won the Royal Lodge Stakes over a mile at this venue at the end of last month.
O’Brien said: “He’s in good form. He’s back to seven again, but he came out of the last run well and he likes a nice bit of ground.”
Christmas, meanwhile, was second to Anthony Van Dyck in the Futurity Stakes and third in the National Stakes.
O’Brien added: “He’s a solid horse and he’s been in good form since the last day, too.”
Stepping up markedly in class is the Sir Michael Stoute-trained Sangarius, although he has made quite a splash in two starts to date and now carries quite a reputation.
He was last seen winning a race at Doncaster that a certain Frankel claimed on his way to super-stardom. Like Frankel, the Kingman colt runs in the colours of Khalid Abdullah.
His racing manager, Teddy Grimthorpe, told Racing UK: “He’s picked a bad year to be a good two-year-old! Everything he has done has been progressive. He’s a nice, scopey horse, with a very good temperament. He looks quite like Kingman from that point of view.
“Sir Michael is pleased with him. He exudes a very pleasant attitude when he is talking about him.
“We’ve always thought he had good potential. He’s probably progressed quicker than we originally expected, so Sir Michael is happy enough for him to take his chance in the Dewhurst.”
Overlooked in the betting due to the profile of the bigger names is Kuwait Currency.
However, the Richard Hannon-trained colt has done little wrong in winning two of his three starts.
Hannon said: “Kuwait Currency has done very well since he won the Stonehenge Stakes at Salisbury. The drop back to seven furlongs shouldn’t bother him and if they get a bit of rain that might help, though fast ground on that nice straight course ought to be fine for him anyway.
“The opposition looks pretty good – it’s a very hot race. This edition of the Dewhurst will probably be the best two-year-old race run anywhere this year.
“Kuwait Currency is a Listed winner who, apart from his debut, has been very impressive, so he’s worthy of a place in the field all right. Having said that, if he finishes placed we will be delighted.”