Upsets were the order of the day at Newmarket on Saturday as the 14-1 Twice Over landed the $572,000 Champion Stakes while Beethoven is in line for a trip to the Breeders' Cup Juvenile after his 33-1 shocker in the $490,000 Dewhurst Stakes.
Six lengths second in last year's Champion to New Approach, Twice Over sat behind the leaders in fifth place before springing to the lead at the quarter pole under Tim Queally. From there the 4-year-old son of Observatory held off Mawatheeq by a half-length. Dual Oaks winner Sariska missed the break but ran on well late to take third, a length behind Mawatheeq and a half-length in front of Pipedreamer. The time for the straight 1 1/4 miles on ground labeled good, good to firm in places, was 2:01.31.
The 3-2 favorite Fame and Glory proved to be a big disappointment. After briefly dueling for the lead, he backed up to finish sixth, 4 1/4 lengths behind Twice Over, practically ending any chances he had of running in the Breeders' Cup Turf.
Twice Over had to survive the objection of Mawatheeq's rider Richard Hills, but the stewards ruled that a bumping incident at the three-sixteenths pole had not affected the outcome.
Trained by Henry Cecil for Khalid Abdullah, Twice Over had won the one-mile, Group 3 Craven Stakes and the 1 1/4-mile, Group 2 Prix Eugene Adam as a 3-year-old. This year he had been third in Virtual's one-mile, Group 1 Lockinge Stakes and fourth behind Vision d'Etat in the 1 1/4-mile, Group 1 Prince of Wales's Stakes prior to landing a conditions race and the listed Foundation Stakes, both at 10 furlongs.
Cecil has no immediate plans for Twice Over, but hinted that he would confer with Prince Khalid about keeping him in training next year.
Beethoven may try BC Juvenile
A son of Oratorio, the Aidan O'Brien-trained Beethoven is being seriously considered by Coolmore for a switch to Pro-Ride for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile after his last gasp victory in the Group 1 Dewhurst, a race that often as not produces Britain's champion 2-year-old colt. Always close up under Ryan Moore, he rallied gamely to nip his maiden-winning stablemate Fencing Master by a neck with Xtension just a nose behind in third. Another O'Brien trainee, Steinbeck, was fourth a neck further back, but Godolphin's 7-2 favorite Chabal weakened to finish 10th, beaten 7 1/2 lengths.
The winning time for the straight and undulating seven furlongs was 1:23.49, or .32 of a second faster than that recorded by the 5-year-old Arabian Gleam in winning the Group 2 Challenge Stakes a half hour earlier.
Although he had only won a six-furlong Leopardstown maiden in nine previous starts, Beethoven came into the Dewhurst with Breeders' Cup Juvenile possibilities. Third behind Kingsfort and Chabal in the Group 1 National Stakes at the Curragh on Sept. 12, he was most recently sixth of seven behind Siyouni in the Group 1 Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere at Longchamp on Oct. 4. His Dewhurst run was a much improved effort, the result in part of the application of first-time blinkers by O'Brien, a suggestion made by the trainer's teenage son, Joseph, who had been riding Beethoven in work during the week.
Though this was not the strongest Dewhurst in recent years, Beethoven was beating a pair of Group 2 winners in Dick Turpin (sixth) and Silver Grecian (seventh), as well as Group 3 winner Buzzword (fifth).