Palace coronation for Dawn Approach
Irish trainers claim today’s three Group One races at Royal Ascot
Dawn Approach ridden by Kevin Manning (left) before winning the St James’s Palace Stakes ahead of Toronado ridden by Richard Hughes (right) during day one of the Royal Ascot meeting. Photograph: Steve Parsons/PA Wire
Dawn Approach got his career back on track with victory in an incredible finish to the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot, completing a remarkable Irish treble in today’s Group One races.
Jim Bolger’s 2000 Guineas hero had run deplorably when far too keen in the Investec Derby at Epsom, but was strongly-backed as the 5-4 favourite to get back on the winning trail returning to a mile just 17 days later.
Once again pulling for his head in the early stages, the three-year-old got seriously squeezed for room in the straight, in an incident which also hampered Toronado, but picked up well in the hands of Kevin Manning.
Toronado made a real race of it on his outside as the two battled all the way to the line, with Dawn Approach triumphing by just a short head.
Manning said: “It was so disappointing in the Derby. It was a big blow to everybody. “Once I got my head in front and Richard (Hughes, on Toronado) was fighting me he was always holding on. He’s a real battler. I wasn’t sure I’d won but I thought he had.”
Reflecting on running so soon after the Derby debacle, Bolger said: “That’s the nature of the sport — you take chances and sometimes they work and other times they don’t. Sheikh Mohammed was a willing risk taker.”
He added: “He was fortunate to survive the bump he got. He did and the rest is history. He’s very tough and very hardy. I feel very happy. I knew he wouldn’t let me down. I texted Simon (Crisford, Godolphin racing manager) saying be prepared for a shock (running Dawn Approach at Ascot).
“I felt he would be up for it. Simon spoke to his Highness (Sheikh Mohammed) and said he would be very happy to go along to Ascot. I always had faith in the horse and I knew whatever happened at Epsom was a one-off. We will have to sit down and talk about things, but I’m going to make any predictions at this stage — everything is open to consideration.”