He might have finished last at Epsom on Saturday but Dawn Approach officially remains the best three-year-old in Europe with Aidan O'Brien's Derby hero Ruler Of The World rated a below average winner of racing's blue-riband event.
Ruler Of The World has been awarded a mark of 120 in the World Thoroughbred Rankings and although no figure has yet been given to Sunday’s impressive French Derby winner Intello, the official consensus seems to be it was a Classic weekend without any outstanding performance.
“It is a low figure for an Epsom Derby winner. Sir Percy was rated 120 too, and arguably should have been lower, but with the pace of the race, and so many horses in close proximity to each other, I don’t think we can rate Ruler Of The World any higher at present,” said Ireland’s senior handicapper, Garry O’Gorman, yesterday.
What O’Gorman certainly isn’t ruling out is significant future improvement in that figure as Ballydoyle’s latest star name has progressed rapidly in three unbeaten starts to date.
"It was a below-average Derby-winning performance but you'd have to be very hopeful he can go on again. He has already made two quantum leaps in terms of improvement. I was not overly impressed by his maiden win at the Curragh and he then made a massive jump to a Chester Group Three where I thought he didn't beat much. And then he jumped again to Epsom. You'd have to think there is more to come," he said.
Intello was described by jockey Olivier Peslier as the best three-year-old in Europe after his Prix Du Jockey Club success on Sunday but O'Gorman is loathe to rate the French horse either inferior or superior to Ruler Of The World just yet.
Instead it is another O’Brien star, the Irish 2,000 Guineas winner Magician, who is officially the second-best colt in Europe on a 122 mark, 3lb behind Dawn Approach for whom plans remain uncertain after his torrid Derby experience.
“The 2,000 Guineas form has come under the microscope, although Mars improved from Newmarket to Epsom, but Dawn Approach will be left on 125 for now,” O’Gorman added.
The St James's Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot appears to have been ruled out for Dawn Approach by the Godolphin spokesman, Simon Crisford, who believes the colt's Derby chance was spoiled at the start and said: "I think something happened when he came out of the gates which set him alight. I've seen a picture of Kevin Manning sitting very awkwardly as he jumped out, as if he banged his iron or something."
Dawn Approach also holds an entry over a mile in the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood in a couple of months’ time.
The three-year-old pecking order could become clearer after the Irish Derby later this month, for which Paddy Power yesterday installed Ruler Of The World as their 7/4 favourite where he is likely to take on Epsom runner-up Libertarian.