Breeders' Cup International Scouting Report: Devilwala

December 31st, 2020

Beckett’s second entrant for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf after the more accomplished New Mandate, Devilwala nevertheless brings the same Dewhurst angle into play as Cadillac. He was 100-1 when finishing fourth that day, but that was a massive price for a colt who’d run two solid races before one disappointment.

Like Juvenile Fillies Turf threat Campanelle, Devilwala is a Tally Ho Stud-bred by their flagship stallion, Kodiac. His dam, the Cadeaux Genereux mare Najraan, is a half-sister to stakes-winning sprinter Excelette, who produced the precocious Well Done Fox (11th in the 2018 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Sprint).

Devilwala brought 220,000 guineas as a 2-year-old in training at Tattersalls’ postponed Craven Breeze-Up Sale June 25. Initially trained by Archie Watson, he made a winning debut at Haydock, beating a couple of well-backed rivals who had experience. Devilwala broke in good order to attend the pace, kicked on while drifting across to the stands’ rail, and saw off Al Saariyah. The runner-up has won and placed since, notably finishing second to Alcohol Free (the eventual Cheveley Park [G1] winner).

Devilwala had a bit to prove in tackling the Gimcrack (G2) next, as reflected by his 11-1 price, but acquitted himself well when best of the rest behind favored Minzaal. Held up further back early, he unleashed a strong run on the stands’ side. Third-placer Mystery Smiles went on to fill the show spot in the Sirenia (G3) to Mighty Gurkha (Juvenile Turf Sprint), while sixth-placer Yazaman previously placed in Royal Ascot’s Windsor Castle, the July (G2), and the Richmond (G2), and the uncharacteristic last was Ubettabelieveit (Juvenile Turf Sprint).

In the Mill Reef (G2) at Newbury, however, Devilwala regressed in a non-threatening seventh. There wasn’t an obvious excuse, and he changed yards in the aftermath.

It was the owners’ idea – not Beckett’s – to pitch him into the Dewhurst off that, and his new trainer was just “along for the ride,” as he said on Nick Luck’s podcast. But the colt justified the roll of the dice at Newmarket.

Trying seven furlongs, and meeting soft ground, for the first time, Devilwala showed speed on the stands’ rail, and that beneficial spot might have helped him keep on to better effect than expected. He was outkicked by Irish shippers St Mark’s Basilica, Wembley, and Thunder Moon, but actually found more late to reduce the gap with Thunder Moon in fourth. The best of the British runners, Devilwala also reversed the Mill Reef form as the top two from Newbury were well behind him here.

Beckett’s admitted that Devilwala doesn’t tip his hand in the morning, so it’s not clear just how much more he might have to offer. As a Kodiac juvenile with decent form, he deserves to take his chance, but you’d be taking him more on faith than persuasive evidence in this spot.