Await The Dawn ‘ready to step up’

AIDAN O’BRIEN bids to round his Royal Ascot off with another big winner when the potentially high-class Await The Dawn tackles the Hardwicke Stakes.

The four-year-old has very few miles on the clock, having raced just five times, winning four of those, most recently the Huxley Stakes at Chester’s May meeting.

A son of the mighty Giant’s Causeway, the Ballydoyle colt was seriously impressive on the Roodee, streaking four and a half lengths clear of Distant Memories, and defying a penalty in the process.

That win continued the upward curve of O’Brien’s charge, who rounded off 2010 with a nine-length demolition job at Leopardstown.

His last two starts have been at Group Three level, and he moves into Group Two company for just the second time in the Berkshire highlight, with Ryan Moore again in the saddle.

Entered in the Eclipse, King George and Irish Champion Stakes, he tries a mile and a half for the first time, although he was showing no signs of stopping at Chester, in a race won by the brilliant Harbinger 12 months ago.

O’Brien is on a high after Fame And Glory’s success under Jamie Spencer in the Gold Cup on Thursday, a win which went some way to erasing the eclipse of the much-vaunted So You Think.

He said: “Everything has gone according to plan after Chester. He has only run over a mile and a quarter so far, but we have always liked him a lot.

“I think and hope (he is capable of stepping up), he is always a horse we have thought a lot of and we are looking forward to it.”

An interesting twist is that Fame And Glory is part-owned by Dr Jim Hay and his wife, Fitri, who are also the owners of Distant Memories, trained by Tom Tate.

The Hays again find themselves in opposition to Await The Dawn, this time with the Tate-trained, Spencer-ridden Kings Gambit.

Now a seven-year-old, Tate’s runner landed arguably the biggest success of his career last time out at Sandown when taking the Gordon Richards Stakes in an epic battle with Black Spirit in April.

He has been given plenty of time to recover from those exertions, although connections concede they have it to do against the favourite.

Dr Hay said: “It’s going to be very difficult for him up against Aidan’s horse. If he gets into the first three or four we’ll be over the moon.

Meanwhile, Immortal Verse led home a French-trained one-two when she stormed clear of Nova Hawk in the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot yesterday.

The 8-1 winner is trained by Robert Collet, whose son Rod is responsible for Nova Hawk, who returned at 9-2.

Barefoot Lady, a 16-1 chance, fared best of the domestic runners in third, while 7-2 favourite Together finished fifth for Aidan O’Brien and Ryan Moore.

A daughter of Pivotal, Immortal Verse was withdrawn from the Qipco 1,000 Guineas and never got involved in the French equivalent — the Poule d’Essai des Pouliches — finishing 11th of 16.

She got back on track in a Group 2 at Chantilly this month and carried that form into the royal meeting, displaying a stunning turn of foot to reward punters who had followed Tom Segal’s Pricewise advice in Friday’s Racing Post.

Robert Collet was quick to praise his winner and defended her unruly actions in the Guineas at Newmarket.

“This filly is the best filly I’ve trained,” he said.

“At Newmarket there was a lot of wind and the hood she wore into the stalls irritated her. Things didn’t go to plan in the French Guineas but she has come back again and proved she is a Group 1 filly.”

Picture: Immortal Verse takes victory in the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot yesterday

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