Bolger hopeful Dawn can give him first win in colts’ classic

Dawn Approach will bid to give his trainer, Jim Bolger, a first British 2000 Guineas victory when he puts his unbeaten record on the line in the first Classic of the season, this afternoon at Newmarket.

Bolger hopeful Dawn  can give him first  win  in colts’ classic

Bolger went agonisingly close to winning the race when this colt’s sire, New Approach, was beaten just a nose by Henrythenavigator in this race in 2008.

Dawn Approach, whose six victories in 2012 included the Group 1 Vincent O’Brien (formerly National Stakes) at the Curragh, and the Dewhurst at Newmarket, was bought by Godolphin and has been ante-post favourite for the race since early last season.

He lines up without a prep race but his trainer has expressed himself to be very happy with the chestnut ahead of his toughest assignment to date.

Bolger told the Godolphin website: “Dawn Approach did his final piece of work on Tuesday and it all went very well.

“I have been very happy with his preparation. I could not have wished for a smoother passage through the winter and into the spring.

“He is a very hardy horse and has a great constitution.

“He is great form at the moment and I expect him to be fine on good to firm ground.

“I am never confident but I am hopeful that he will run up to his very best form.”

Aidan O'Brien has saddled six previous winners of the 2000 Guineas, including Rock Of Gibraltar (2002), George Washington (2006), Henrythenavigator (2008) and last year's hero Camelot, and the trainer is hoping one of his trio of Cristoforo Colombo, Mars and George Vancouver

can have him in seventh heaven.

“It’s a very good race, as always. The quality horses are there,” O’Brien snr told Racing UK.

“We always thought a lot of Cristoforo Colombo last year and he was unlucky on a few occasions as he wanted fast ground and never got it.

“He ran well in the Middle Park on ground he wouldn’t like and his dad (Henrythenavigator) was the same – he didn’t get his ground as a two-year-old and it changed for him as a three-year-old.

“The reason we have the cheekpieces on him is he can be a little bit lazy. We don’t think they’re a disadvantage and it will help him to concentrate a little bit.

“He hasn’t run over further than six furlongs, but we always thought he’d get much further.”

George Vancouver (Colm O’Donoghue) makes his first appearance since winning last year’s Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf.

Mars (Seamie Heffernan) has only made one previous racecourse appearance, running away with a Dundalk maiden last July.

“George Vancouver loves fast ground, he travels very well and he’s a seasoned horse. I would think the race will hopefully suit him well,” said O’Brien.

“He ran a good race in Dewhurst. He came there to challenge and maybe the ground was a little bit softer than he would have ideally wanted.

“Mars is a lovely horse and always was. He’s a free-moving horse and he showed plenty of speed for a Galileo.

“He’s only a baby and it’s only his second run and his first run on grass.

“We think the experience will do him good and hopefully he will learn a lot, but we always thought he was a very smart colt.

“You would hope that he’ll get a mile and a little bit further.”

Richard Hannon has won the race with Mon Fils (1973), Don't Forget Me (1987) and Tirol (1990), and this year is double-handed with Toronado and Van Der Neer.

Toronado is undoubtedly the first string following his breathtaking performance in the Craven Stakes and connections are confident of upsetting unbeaten favourite Dawn Approach.

The Herridge handler’s son and assistant, Richard Hannon jnr, said: “Toronado did his last proper piece of work last Sunday and goes to Newmarket in the form of his life.

“We always felt that he was more one for the Derby than the Guineas, but this spring he has been showing much more speed in the mornings than he did last year, so, while Dawn Approach is obviously a very good horse, we feel that we have a solid chance of beating him.

“You had to be impressed with Toronado’s dress-rehearsal in the Craven as he did it the hard way, and it takes a good horse to win like that from the front, repeatedly quickening.”

Richard Hughes will be partnering Toronado and believes he compares favourably with former Hannon stable star Canford Cliffs, who was third in the Guineas before going on to claim five consecutive Group One prizes.

Hughes told “I have been so impressed with Toronado this season and put him right up there with Canford Cliffs – and maybe even in front.

“He is the more straight-forward of the two and you can ride him any way in a race, and I think he will handle the dips and ridges at Newmarket better than Canford Cliffs did.

“Dawn Approach is a very good horse, but he invariably hits a flat spot and I think we will win.”

Joining the Bolger and O’Brien-trained runners on the trip from Ireland is Niall Moran’s 100-1 outsider Dont Bother Me.

The Dark Angel colt has run well in defeat twice this season and Moran is confident he will outrun his huge odds. He said: “He’s travelled over well and I think he’s improved a good bit from his last run. He’s had two nice runs this season and I think he deserves a crack at it.

“The conditions are perfect for him and he’s in good old heart. I’m not bringing him over just for the day out.

“I know he’s a 100-1 shot, but that’s only because I train him.

“He’d be half the price if one of the big trainers had him.”

More in this section


Latest news from the world of sport, along with the best in opinion from our outstanding team of sports writers

Sign up

Select your favourite newsletters and get the best of Irish Examiner delivered to your inbox