| 7.4°C Dublin

Dawn can rise to Derby challenge

Close

Dawn Approach and jockey Kevin Manning celebrate winning the Qipco 2000 Guineas Stakes during the 2000 Guineas Day during the 2000 Guineas Day of the QIPCO Festival at Newmarket Racecourse, Suffolk. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday May 4, 2013. See PA story RACING Newmarket. Photo credit should read: Sean Dempsey/PA Wire

Dawn Approach and jockey Kevin Manning celebrate winning the Qipco 2000 Guineas Stakes during the 2000 Guineas Day during the 2000 Guineas Day of the QIPCO Festival at Newmarket Racecourse, Suffolk. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday May 4, 2013. See PA story RACING Newmarket. Photo credit should read: Sean Dempsey/PA Wire

Dawn Approach and jockey Kevin Manning celebrate winning the Qipco 2000 Guineas Stakes during the 2000 Guineas Day during the 2000 Guineas Day of the QIPCO Festival at Newmarket Racecourse, Suffolk. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Saturday May 4, 2013. See PA story RACING Newmarket. Photo credit should read: Sean Dempsey/PA Wire

THE 2013 Flat season needed an injection of life to really get it off the ground and last weekend at Newmarket our wish was granted.

Albeit billed as a two-horse race, the 2000 Guineas proved to be much more than that and the manner in which Dawn Approach won really got us speculating on just how high up the spectrum he can travel.

Jim Bolger was confident in the belief that he can be the best at not only a mile but at a mile-and-a-half too, and he now heads to the Epsom Derby as the all-but-certain race favourite.

It is now that we come into the time of Derby Trials however, and any possible challengers to the opening Classic winner should now step forward and lay their credentials out for all to see.

At 7/4 favourite it is hard to see anything topple Dawn Approach in the ante-post betting markets prior to next month's Derby, but of those from the Ballydoyle quarters who could shorten in odds we have Battle Of Marengo and the well-touted Ruler Of The World, both in Derby Trial action this coming week.

Those wanting to back Dawn Approach for the Derby at this stage, however, would want to be good swimmers as they have definitely missed the boat on this one. At 7/4 he may win, he could be bigger on the day but not by much and the chances are he'll be even shorter, all despite the fact that there is a concern over him getting the 1m4f journey around the Epsom Downs – on breeding at least.

Not to take anything away from Dawn Approach and only time will confirm or deny this statement, but it is probably not going to be a vintage Derby and the three-year-olds look to be a long way off his class and ability and they are the two things that above all else could see Jim Bolger turn a doubtful stayer into an Epsom Derby winner.

Bolger said over the weekend that if New Approach, his 2008 Derby winner and sire of last Saturday's Guineas winner, had the temperament of Dawn Approach, he'd have stayed even further and it is the temperament of Dawn Approach that appears vital.

The colt's ability to relax in his races and prove an easy ride for Kevin Manning – compared to New Approach – will be the main component to the horse seeing out the Derby trip and then the class and ability will kick in, making him extremely difficult to deny.

Listening to Jim Bolger talk about this horse ever since he won the first two-year-old race of the year at the Curragh last year has been fascinating.

After that maiden win, Bolger suggested that he "wouldn't be getting carried away with him yet", but in the next breath said "hopefully he'll be back here in September", which was for the National Stakes.

Six months, three more racecourse victories and a new shareholder later and Bolger was back with Dawn Approach for the National Stakes, which he won by an emphatic four and three parts of a length.

On that day, Bolger said: "He'll make a very smart miler and if he stays further it will be a bonus."

And after the horse signed off last season by winning the Dewhurst Stakes, it was Sheikh Mohammed who did the most significant talking by stating that Dawn Approach would be staying in training with Bolger.

Last Saturday, the joint owners, Bolger and Sheikh Mohammed, agreed to sleep on a Derby decision and yesterday it was confirmed that Epsom would be the target, Bolger calmly saying on Saturday: "If Sheikh Mohammed wants to go I would be happy to go there."

It was last September when Bolger said: "If he stays further it will be a bonus." But as they say, 'nothing ventured is nothing gained' and after learning more about the horse in recent months, the venture has been given the green light.

Remember though, Jim Bolger doesn't tend to venture if he's not fairly sure of gaining, hence why he is a genius of a trainer and Dawn Approach is a 7/4 shot for the Epsom Derby.


Privacy