Breeders' Cup - At The Races

In profile: Anthony Van Dyck

    One of Europe's leading juveniles for 2018, we profile Aidan O'Brien's Anthony Van Dyck.

ANTHONY VAN DYCK

Game Winner
  • Trainer: Aidan O'Brien
  • Likely Jockey: Ryan Moore
  • Owner: Mrs John Magnier, Michael Tabor, and Derrick Smith
  • Age & Breeding: 2yo c; Galileo (IRE) - Believe'N'Succeed 
  • Season Form Figures: 711123
  • Career Highlight: Rock-solid consistency in Group 1 races

By Peter Fornatale

A lot has happened to Anthony Van Dyck in a short career that has already waxed and waned. Following his victory in the Futurity Stakes, Aidan O'Brien's colt was made favourite for both the Derby and the Guineas, topping the Ballydoyle pecking order in the process. Two months and two defeats later and he has been well and truly usurped, with the unbeaten Too Darn Hot now heading the Classic betting, and Ten Sovereigns and Japan now looking O'Brien's best juveniles. Even at this early stage of his career, it feels as though Anthony Van Dyck needs to win the Juvenile Turf to redeem his reputation.

Which all seems rather unfair. Anthony Van Dyck didn't ask to be made favourite for the big races in 2018 and at the time it seemed perfectly understandable – with Calyx out for the season and his future uncertain, there appeared to be a dearth of top juveniles and his Futurity win had been achieved in ready enough fashion. At that stage, his most promising rival looked to be Quorto, and the two would meet in mid-September in the National Stakes.

Given Aidan O'Brien's record in the race, it is somewhat surprising that Anthony Van Dyck did not go off favourite, bettors instead favouring Quorto. This proved telling, and the Godolphin colt won with a bit up his sleeve having always travelled well. Anthony Van Dyck never really went with any fluency but stayed on to the line and the pair pulled well clear in an excellent time.

His next start was to be in the Dewhurst, but in the interim the entire landscape of the two-year-old division had changed. Stablemate Ten Sovereigns wowed with a series of sensational performances on the clock, Japan landed the Beresford stakes in the manner of a top-class middle-distance performer and Too Darn Hot recorded two impressive Group-race victories, looking an absolute superstar in the process.

Off the back of those displays, Too Darn Hot was understandably sent off favourite at Newmarket, with Anthony Van Dyck second in the market.

The race itself saw Too Darn Hot cement himself as a colt of the utmost potential and ability, powering clear of Advertise with Anthony Van Dyck fourth lengths behind in third. It was a strange effort from the Ballydoyle colt, who travelled much better than in the National Stakes but ultimately found far less, wilting tamely in the final furlong having looked at one stage as though he may win and failing to run up to the level he had in his previous start.

That bland finish would certainly cause reservations about the son of Believe'N'Succeed and he will definitely need to travel better around Churchill Downs's turning track than he has in some of his previous races.

Nonetheless, Anthony Van Dyck still had a number of good horses in behind and his form still represents the best form on offer by a considerable margin in this race. Although his position as favourite for next year's Classics was premature, there is no doubt he deserves that spot in the Juvenile Turf.

Given how well O’Brien has done in this race, along with the big runs previous Dewhurst also-rans have put in in this race, the current price of 11/4 appears fair.