Approach set to run at Ascot

Dawn Approach has emerged a surprise contender for Tuesday’s St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Approach set to run at Ascot

Godolphin’s 2000 Guineas hero was originally thought to be an unlikely runner in the mile heat after finishing last in the Derby at Epsom earlier this month.

However, trainer Jim Bolger reports his Classic winner on course for a return to a mile, subject to a gallop on Thursday.

He told www.godolphin.com: “He’s been left in the St James’s Palace Stakes and, subject to a satisfactory piece of work on Thursday, he is an intended runner.”

Godolphin’s racing manager Simon Crisford said: “Jim is very happy with how Dawn Approach has done since the Derby and he is keen to let him run at Royal Ascot if everything continues to go well with his preparation between now and the race on Tuesday.

“We had a discussion this morning and decided to let him run if he pleases in his work on Thursday.

“Jim has been delighted with how relaxed Dawn Approach has been in his training.”

Dawn Approach is one of 14 confirmations for the Group One contest, with Bolger also having left in Leitir Mor.

Hugely impressive Irish 2,000 Guineas scorer Magician is one of four contenders for Aidan O’Brien, the others being Gale Force Ten, George Vancouver and Mars.

Richard Hannon’s Toronado will have a second crack at Dawn Approach, having finished only fourth when deemed his biggest danger in the 2000 Guineas.

The entries are completed by Dont Bother Me, Dundonnell, Garswood, Glory Awaits, Jammy Guest and potential French raiders Mshawish and Mutin.

Reacting to the Dawn Approach news, Coral installed Dawn Approach as the 7-4 favourite behind Magician, who heads the market at 6-4 having been 4-5.

Coral spokesman Simon Clare said: “The presence of Dawn Approach is as welcome as it is surprising, and has instantly elevated the St James’s Palace stakes to the status of ’race of the meeting’.

“However, there are plenty of punters who have backed the likes of Magician and Toronado without thinking for a moment that the five-length winner of the 2000 Guineas would be turning up in the race.

“Given the dramatic and exciting emergence of Dawn Approach as a runner we thought it would be fair and sensible to treat all bets struck up until noon today as ’without Dawn Approach’.

“This way no Coral customers will be left with a bad taste in their mouth about the participation of Dawn Approach at next week’s Royal meeting.”

Clare added: “There will be plenty of punters willing to forgive Dawn Approach for his desperate performance in the Derby, but equally there will be many others who will be unwilling to trust him with their cash.

“With Toronado also seeking redemption for his Guineas flop, the St James’s Palace has become the headline act at Royal Ascot next week and will be the biggest betting race as a result.”

Meanwhile Thomas Chippendale is on course to attempt another Royal Ascot win in the Hardwicke Stakes on Saturday week.

The four-year-old claimed the King Edward VII Stakes at the meeting last year to give Henry Cecil a remarkable 75th Royal Ascot victory, and it would prove to be his last.

Cecil passed away at the age of 70 on Tuesday and Thomas Chippendale would undoubtedly bring the house down in Berkshire if he triumphs again on Saturday week.

Barry Simpson, racing manager for owner Sir Robert Ogden, said: “He’s going for the Hardwicke and I’m hopeful he can get into the frame.

“He’s got to step up as he has not shown that level of form so far this season, but because of the cold spring, I think like a lot of horses, it has just taken a while for him to come to hand.”

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