Dawn Approach out to complete unbeaten season
RACING/NEWMARKET:DAWN APPROACH will attempt to put the seal on a perfect unbeaten season in Saturday’s Dubai Dewhurst Stakes and at the same time maintain trainer Jim Bolger’s outstanding record in the Newmarket Group One highlight.
The Irish-trained star dominates the 15 entries left in Britain’s most prestigious two-year-old race of the year although Aidan O’Brien is mob-handed among the possible cast of runners with eight left in at yesterday’s forfeit stage.
They include Cristoforo Colombo, who also holds an entry in the Middle Park Stakes on the same card, but it is Dawn Approach that dominates and has been installed an even-money favourite by Paddy Power.
The son of New Approach is already market leader for next year’s 2,000 Guineas on the back of a five-from-five campaign that included last month’s ultra-impressive success in the Group One Vincent O’Brien Stakes at the Curragh.
The form of Dawn Approach’s Coventry Stakes victory in June has been repeatedly boosted since, and especially so with Olympic Glory’s own Group One win in France on Sunday.
Bolger is pursuing a fifth Dewhurst in seven years following a hat-trick with Teofilo (2006), New Approach (2007) and Intense Focus (2008) as well as Parish Hall last year.
The Co Carlow-based trainer has also left his Group Three winner Leitir Mor in the Dewhurst where the home team looks set to be headed by the Juddmote duo, Dundonnell and Ashdan.
Both Bolger and O’Brien could also be represented in Saturday’s other Group One, the Middle Parks Stakes, a race that went to the Ballydoyle-runner Crusade in 2011. O’Brien has left in four including George Vancouver who missed out on Longchamp on Sunday while Bolger has kept in Wexford Opera.
The likely favourite for the six-furlong heat is the Prix Morny winner Reckless Abandon while the impressive Mill Reef winner Moohaajim also figures.
Jim Bolger has used the Group Two Rockfel Stakes as a test of his classic hopes in the past and won it with Finsceal Beo six years ago.
He has left in two entries this time, including Scintillula, runner up to Sky Lantern in the Moyglare last month.
Saturday’s big betting heat at Newmarket will be the Cesarewitch for which Dermot Weld’s Olympiad is a general 12 to 1 shot while Aidan O’Brien’s I Have A Dream is a 14 to 1 shot. Weld took his November Handicap winner Hidden Universe out of the race yesterday.
It is 20 years since Weld memorably landed the big-betting marathon with Vintage Crop and the only Irish-trained winner since was Tony Martin’s Leg Spinner in 2007.
Co Tipperary trainer Tom Hogan is enjoying having a range of top options open to his Prix la Foret-winner Gordon Lord Byron.
“He’s been invited to enter for the Hong Kong Mile and he’s been invited out to Dubai in the spring. By winning on Sunday he’s also got a free entry for the Breeders’ Cup Mile. I’ll have a chat with the owner before the end of the week,” Hogan said yesterday.
“The most likely thing we’ll do is give him a bit of time and see how he comes out of this. The Hong Kong race is on December 9 so we’ll see how he is. The way he ran you’d say he’d have no trouble staying a mile.
“He hated the ground at Longchamp.
“He didn’t travel at all well in the early part of the race – he needs better ground. I’ve never had a horse like him, that’s for sure,” he added.
Round-up: Rebel Fitz in Aintree mix
APRIL’S AINTREE Hurdle in Liverpool could be a long-term target for the Galway Hurdle winner Rebel Fitz following his Grade Two defeat at Tipperary on Sunday.
The Michael Winters-trained star proved no match for Captain Cee Bee and is now destined for a break after a busy summer campaign.
“He’s been on the go all summer and maybe it has bottomed him a little bit. Our lad will have a nice break. I spoke to the owner last night and we’ve decided to stay hurdling for now.
“There are maybe a few small reasons why he didn’t run up to his best and Davy [Russell, jockey] said he just ran out of petrol on the ground. But he’s grand in himself and we’ll bring him back after Christmas,” said Winters yesterday.
“I think he’ll make a very nice two-mile chaser, but we’ll probably wait until the next season starts in May to do that now. We might bring him back over two-and-a-half miles over hurdles and he might end up at Aintree in the two-and-a-half-miler there,” he added.
JUST LIKE yesterday’s Tipperary fixture, today’s scheduled meeting has been cancelled due waterlogging. Shortly after yesterday’s card was called off, just hours after passing an inspection, the weather also claimed today’s card.
“The chase course is waterlogged and the hurdles course isn’t far behind it . . . there’s no drying either so the safest course is to just call it off,” said manager Jane Davis. “We were very unfortunate with the rain that hung around in the morning and the ground has just got too bad.”
Tipperary hopes Horse Racing Ireland will be able to reschedule at least one of the lost cards.
– BRIAN O’CONNOR