Dawn of a new era in England

Five years after his sire New Approach was beaten a lip in the England 2000 Guineas, his first-crop son Dawn Approach went one better in the first classic of the English season.

Dawn Approach was a consummate winner at Newmarket on Saturday.  Never far off a strong early pace, he came through two furlongs from home before powering up the hill to record a five length triumph.

The English 2000 Guineas was billed as a clash between Sheikh Mohammed’s star Dawn Approach and Qatar Racing colt Toronado (High Chaparral) but the outcome was never in doubt.  “He’s done it very easily,” jockey Kevin Manning said.  “He travelled very well and, when I asked him to quicken, he picked up and was gone.

“He’s got a great cruising gear and is very easy to switch off and put wherever you want in a race.  I had everything covered a long way out.”

Dawn Approach (3c New Approach – Hymn Of The Dawn by Phone Trick) won last year’s G2 Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot before owner-trainer Jim Bolger sold a majority share to Sheikh Mohammed.  The colt went on to claim commanding Group 1 victories in the National Stakes at the Curragh and the Dewhurst at Newmarket.

“He looks like a superstar,” Bolger said.  “He can only improve from here as it is his first time on a racecourse this year.”

The Guineas gave Sheikh Mohammed’s operation a welcome change of news following the anabolic steroids scandal.  Dawn Approach has been safely away from the epicentre at Bolger’s Coolcullen yard in Co. Kilkenny.

The unbeaten colt is a homebred for Bolger.  He also trained New Approach who was just denied by Henrythenavigator in the 2008 Guineas but went on to Group 1 glory in the English Derby.

“Sheikh Mohammed has always been very good to me and to my yard,” Bolger added.  “I was hoping that we could deliver for him, but I don’t think Sheikh Mohammed has as much to be concerned about as other people think.  Nobody can be responsible for what somebody else does.”

The way Dawn Approach attacked the uphill finish in his three-year-old debut on Saturday impressed bookmakers.  He’s now a clear-cut pre-post favourite for the English Derby  “I would not be surprised if he lined up in the Derby,” Bolger predicated.  “If he does run in the Derby, then that will be his next race.”

New Approach (Galileo) got off to the perfect start in Australia when his first-crop filly Montsegur won at Caulfield on Boxing Day.  He will stand the next southern season at Darley’s Northwood Park property in Victoria for a fee of $55,000 (inc gst).