Sky wins 1,000 Guineas but sky looks the limit for 2,000 hero Dawn Approach
Derby likely next stop for Bolger superstar
Kevin Manning celebrates winning 2,000 Guineas Stakes on Dawn Approach at Newmarket on Saturday. Photograph: Alan Crowhurst/Getty Images
As Dawn Approach powered past the 2,000 Guineas winning-post at Newmarket on Saturday, it felt a bit like the old line about buses: you wait for ages, and then they all come in droves.
Sea The Stars bridged a two decade gap in 2009 when completing the Guineas-Derby double. There were 19 years between Nashwan (1989) and Nijinsky (1970) doing the same.
But just three years after Sea The Stars managed the most elusive of classic doubles, Camelot pulled it off, and now there is only a best-priced 2/1 about Dawn Approach doing the same in just over three weeks time.
It’s also just two years since the Guineas hosted Frankel’s six-length demolition. He never went as far as a mile and a half but trainer Jim Bolger suggested yesterday it is “more than likely” the Derby will be next on the agenda for a remarkable colt the Co Carlow trainer also bred.
That he reportedly sold a 51 per cent stake to Sheikh Mohammed understandably dominated immediate weekend headlines considering Dawn Approach carried the blue colours of the Sheikh’s beleaguered Godolphin operation.
But when the doping headlines invariably fade, the impression will remain of how an unbeaten colt successfully graduated to classic glory in spectacular fashion while leaving his trainer convinced there may be even better to come.
The flamboyant Frankel won the Guineas by only a length more. Dawn Approach may not be as flamboyant, but he was spectacular in his own way on Saturday, much more so than Sea The Stars who famously only liked to do just enough. And with the new boy there is always the tantalising possibility of there being even more to come.
“I’m sure he can only improve from here as that’s his first time on a racecourse this year,” Bolger said significantly after Kevin Manning guided Dawn Approach to a Guineas success that narrowly eluded his sire New Approach in 2008.
That headstrong but brilliant horse sometimes gets overlooked when discussion turns to the golden period of champions that racing in this part of the world continues to enjoy.
But New Approach went on to land the Derby and there will be no overlooking his son if he displays the versatility required over the extra half mile at Epsom.
Aidan O’Brien had no luck with his three runners in the 2,000 Guineas, and Lines Of Battle could finish only seventh in Saturday night’s Kentucky Derby behind Orb.
Moth failed to secure classic success too, but ran well enough in third yesterday to suggest the Oaks could yet be her target.
For Richard Hughes though it was an emotional first classic in the UK and trainer Richard Hannon summed it up with: “I’m delighted for him. He’s one of the best jockeys ever and I’m delighted he’s done it on one of ours.”