Dawn Approach to prove class act in Dewhurst
IT remains to be seen where next year's 2,000 Guineas favourite Dawn Approach will be housed ahead of the season's opening Classic, but he should have little trouble closing out 2012 with a sixth successive win for Jim Bolger in this afternoon's Dubai Dewhurst Stakes.
Sheikh Mohammed bought a controlling share in the exciting New Approach colt prior to his emphatic Group One triumph in the Vincent O'Brien National Stakes.
Normally, it would be a given that he would switch to either Saeed Bin Suroor or Mahmood Al Zarooni for his three-year-old campaign, but it could be significant that he has been issued the Godolphin blue silks, the first horse to sport them in these parts not trained by either Suroor or Zarooni.
We may or may not find out one way or another this afternoon, but it will be a surprise if Dawn Approach is pushed to the pin of his collar to deliver his Coolcullen handler a fifth win in this seven-furlong Group One since 2006. He has been the pre-eminent juvenile all year, having first won on the opening day of the season at the Curragh in March.
To end such a busy campaign with a Dewhurst victory in October would represent another momentous training feat for Bolger. Given the latest compliment that Olympic Glory paid Dawn Approach at Longchamp, that certainly seems like what is going to transpire.
Of the two Ballydoyle runners, George Vancouver would be respected at his best, but he looked distinctly ordinary when well held behind Leitir Mor, Bolger's other runner here, at the Curragh recently.
Ashdan may be the biggest threat to Dawn Approach. Representing John Gosden and William Buick, Khalid Abdullah's Dansili colt has made quite an impression in landing both his starts to date. Gosden can begin proceedings by stretching his lead over O'Brien in the trainers' championship with Fencing.
Dropped in class in the opening Group Two, Reply is not without a chance for O'Brien, but Fencing appeals as being slightly less exposed. Third to Camelot at Doncaster a year ago, the Street Cry colt finished sixth in the 2,000 Guineas and third in the Dante early on this term.
On his only subsequent start in the St James's Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot, everything that could go wrong, did. He raced keenly in a tongue-tie, got unbalanced turning out of Swinley Bottom and then got badly hampered when his stable-mate The Nile broke down. Thereafter, Frankie Dettori accepted that it wasn't going to be his day.
Fencing returns now without the tongue-tie and, at up to 6/1, represents excellent value to begin fulfilling some of his undoubted potential under Buick.
The remainder of the card, populated with no less than 18 Irish runners, 13 of which are two-year-olds, is not easy.
In the Cesarewitch, Olympiad had been popular with punters until landing a wide berth.
However, Never Can Tell won the prestigious two-and-a-quarter-mile handicap from the outside stall last year, so that is not necessarily a big negative in such a long race.
Of the four Irish runners, Ballydoyle's I Have A Dream may represent the best each-way value at up to 14/1, as he is an improving three-year-old with just 8st 11lb on his back.
The pick of the lot, however, may be Mark Prescott's Motivado (16/1) following his fourth in the Ebor.
All the rage going into York, Motivado didn't have the race run to suit, when a relatively steady early pace initially left him flat-footed as they went through the gears in the straight.
He eventually got going and briefly threatened, but lacked the required finishing kick.
Still, it was a commendable turn and the form was shown in a favourable light when the runner-up, Royal Diamond, won the Irish St Leger.
On just his fifth start of 2012, Motivado could be poised to deliver handicap whizz Prescott a belated first win in this race.
Bolger might well come away with a brace courtesy of Trading Leather in the Group Three Autumn Stakes. This will be a hugely informative affair, with the selection marginally preferred over David Wachman's choicely bred Leopardstown winner Galileo's Rock.
Best Bet: Fencing