Royal Ascot back on agenda for Dawn Approach
DAWN APPROACH could go on an unexpected retrieval mission at Royal Ascot on Tuesday after Jim Bolger revealed a shock change in plans for the Epsom Derby flop.
The brilliant 2,000 Guineas hero lost his unbeaten record in dramatic style at Epsom last Saturday week, displaying an uncharacteristically fractious temper as he ruined his chance by fighting ferociously for his head under Kevin Manning early on.
In the days following the colt's alarming odds-on capitulation, Bolger stated that he "definitely won't be going to Ascot."
At the Curragh on Sunday, while he issued an upbeat bulletin on the horse's well-being, he commented that "he would be worth waiting for."
However, Bolger was yesterday quoted on the website of the horse's majority shareholder Godolphin as saying that Dawn Approach had been left in the St James's Palace Stakes on the opening day of the royal festival, and that "he is an intended runner," provided that he satisfies the Coolcullen maestro in a scheduled piece of work this morning.
Simon Crisford, Godolphin's racing manager, added: "Jim is very happy with how Dawn Approach has done since the Derby and he is keen to let him run at Ascot. We had a discussion this morning and decided to let him run if he pleases in his work. Jim has been delighted with how relaxed Dawn Approach has been in his training."
The U-turn is reminiscent of Bolger's late decision to allow Dawn Approach's sire New Approach – in which Godolphin's Sheikh Mohammed also had a majority share – contest the 2008 Epsom Derby.
Having been inadvertently left in the Epsom Classic at the penultimate forfeit stage, New Approach went on to record a famous triumph, just two weeks after finishing second in the Irish 2,000 Guineas.
It was an improvised and inspired turn that did little for Bolger's relations with either the cross-channel press or ante-post punters, so it remains to be seen if his flexible running plans cause quite such a stir this time.
Dawn Approach had been laid at fancy prices for Tuesday's mile Group One on the betting exchanges – though the conventional bookmakers had not included him in their original ante-post markets – books that had a decidedly more intriguing hue to them yesterday.
At a top price of 7/4, Dawn Approach now vies for favouritism with Aidan O'Brien's exciting Irish 2,000 Guineas hero Magician (13/8) ahead of a potentially mouth-watering clash of the respective Guineas winners.
Should Bolger's white-faced star turn up, those odds might yet seem generous, as he ultimately didn't have a hard race after his early antics at Epsom and the drop in trip on fast ground will suit ideally.
Guineas fourth Toronado is also among the 14 St James's entries, while Bolger has left in Leitir Mor, Dawn Approach's regular pace-maker that was a significant absentee in the slowly run Derby.
Epsom sixth Mars is one of three other Ballydoyle contenders, while Declaration Of War looks like being O'Brien's chief hope against American-based Dubai World Cup victor Animal Kingdom in the Queen Anne.
In the King's Stand Stakes – the middle leg of a quick-fire opening salvo of Group Ones on day one – Eddie Lynam's Sole Power is the only potential raider engaged.