Winkle leads Dewhurst charge

Rip Van Winkle is one of eight possible contenders for trainer Aidan O’Brien in Saturday’s Darley Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket.

The Galileo colt currently heads the betting for next year’s 2000 Guineas and could be joined in Saturday’s Group One by stablemates Drumbeat, Egypt, Gluteus Maximus, Indian Ocean, Masterofthehorse, Set Sail and Westphalia.

David Wachman’s Bushranger comes into the race on the back of two Group One successes, while impressive Tattersall Stakes winner Ashram is still a possible.

Gimcrack winner Shaweel adds further strength in depth, while Lord Shanakill, Intense Focus and Goffs Million winner Soul City are other interesting hopefuls among 24 confirmations.

The sole supplementary entry is John Gosden’s Huntdown, third behind Bushranger in the Middle Park Stakes last time.

One horse who will not be lining up is The Cheka, after connections decided to draw stumps on this season following a setback.

An impressive 10-length winner on his debut, the juvenile was beaten just half a length in the Solario Stakes at Sandown last time.

Trainer Eve Johnson Houghton said: “He’s had a small training setback and has developed a slight infection in his hind leg.

“We missed the Tattersalls Million with him and we’ve just been chasing and chasing.

“It’s nothing too serious but we’ve decided to pull the plug this season.”

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