Dawn Approach to boost Godolphin morale
Bolger’s star can claim 2,000 Guineas glory
Jockey Richard Hughes will be hoping to secure a first ever British classic victory on Toronado. Photo: David Davies/PA
Newmarket has been the epicentre of doping controversy in the last number weeks but victory for Dawn Approach in today’s Qipco 2,000 Guineas can be a timely reminder of the place’s basic raison d’etre.
Today will be the 205th renewal of a race which sees the elite of Europe’s classic crop tested over a straight mile that has cemented the status of some of the sport’s legendary names over the centuries.
In recent years alone, those names have included Sea The Stars and Frankel, and last season saw Aidan O’Brien’s Camelot secure the first of three classic victories. Further back brilliant youngsters such as Nijinsky and Sir Ivor graduated to classic status in the Guineas and Dawn Approach attempts the same here.
Unbeaten at two, when an undisputed juvenile champion, Dawn Approach makes his first start of 2013 here, a fact possibly not unrelated to a drift on the exchanges yesterday: out-of-sight can often become out-of-mind, something that can be rectified today with a vengeance by Jim Bolger’s star.
That Dawn Approach carries the colours of Sheikh Mohammed’s beleaguered Godolphin only increases the resonance swirling around a colt whose trainer has been moved to describe as “awesome”.
The chestnut colt who won on the very first day of the 2012 Irish turf season appears to be a different proposition again, even to his Derby-winning sire New Approach, famously denied a Guineas win here by Henrythenavigator in 2008.
The latter’s sons Cristoforo Colombo and George Vancouver are joined by Mars in a three-pronged O’Brien attack and the faster the ground, the better for all of them.
The same may not be true of the main home hope Toronado, so impressive in the Craven and who will attempt to provide champion jockey Richard Hughes with a first ever British classic victory.
“I put him right up there with Canford Cliffs – and maybe even in front. He is the more straight-forward of the two and you can ride him any way in a race, and I think he will handle the dips and ridges at Newmarket better than Canford Cliffs did,” Hughes said yesterday.
“Dawn Approach is a very good horse, but he invariably hits a flat spot and I think we will win,” he confidently added.
Hughes’s reference to Dawn Approach indicates much of this Guineas revolves around the Irish star. His Group One wins last year included the Dewhurst which proved he acts on the Rowley Mile, and yet the class he showed to win the Coventry at Royal Ascot is probably the outstanding piece of form in the race.
The runner-up that day Olympic Glory has consistently boosted the form since and Cristoforo Colombo was third.
One bookmaking firm yesterday made Dawn Approach just 20-1 to lift the Triple Crown. That may seem more than a little ridiculous right now, but it does reflect how the Bolger runner is the prime candidate to again dominate his generation.
If predictions are tough with the colts, then tomorrow’s 1,000 Guineas for fillies must be even more of a lottery – Homecoming Queen last year, was a dominant 25-1 winner.
Aidan O’Brien will be represented by Moth and Snow Queen tomorrow while Dermot Weld has the Leopardstown maiden winner Rasmeyaa.
Hot Snap, winner of the Nell Gwyn, has been the favourite but there is plenty to like about the French hope What A Name. Her trainer has already proven himself someone to reckon with in global terms with a 2000 Guineas win for Makfi just part of an ever-expanding big-race CV.
What A Name boasts an outstanding piece of juvenile form with colts and won impressively on her warm-up for this classic. Moth could follow her home.