GOODWOOD, ENGLAND // Simon Crisford is rarely bullish ahead of a big race, but Godolphin's racing manager is bristling with confidence as Dawn Approach's clash with Toronado in the Group One Sussex Stakes looms Wednesday afternoon.
Ever since Dawn Approach denied Toronado by a short head in the St James's Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot last month, the Godolphin camp has been talking up the rematch in their favour.
The victory at the royal meeting augmented Dawn Approach's easy defeat of Toronado in the English 2,000 Guineas in May and handlers of the chestnut colt are confident of making it a three in a row.
"It is a fantastic race and it is going to be very difficult to win, but we think we have the best horse," Crisford said. "As far as we are concerned, we are there for the rematch and we are the heavyweight going into the race.
"We have beaten him twice before, he's got it all to prove and I think that we will beat him again."
Crisford's sabre-rattling owes in part to the fact that Dawn Approach is Godolphin's three-year-old standard bearer this season, and Toronado is owned by Qatar's Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad.
Qatar's rise has been noticeable in recent seasons.
The participation of Very Nice Name, owned by Sheikh Abdullah bin Khalifa, in Saturday's King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot, was another reminder that owners from Qatar feel ready to move onto the world stage.
Very Nice Name was the first horse to have registered a Group 1 victory in Qatar to later secure a place on the podium on Dubai World Cup night and run in the British mid-summer highlight.
Sheikh Joaan hired former Godolphin jockey Frankie Dettori to ride his string, but Richard Hughes retains the ride on Toronado for now.
His continued association with the colt hinges on what occurs on the Sussex Downs on Wednesday.
Already, the attention focused on the event has been significant, with Hughes and Kevin Manning, Dawn Approach's rider, having been pictured head-to-head in boxing gloves earlier this week.
By forging almost three lengths clear of Aidan O'Brien's Mars at Ascot, both Dawn Approach and Toronado achieved a level of form that would win most runnings of today's feature.
According to Timeform, the English ratings service, the two colts would currently be good enough to have won every Sussex Stakes, bar one, going back to 1990 if Frankel's two victories in the past two seasons are taken out of the equation.
Toronado was forced wide and received a hefty bump at Ascot, although behind closed doors connections are clearly hopeful their charge can prevail, in public they are putting on a muted show.
"I couldn't be more happy with him," trainer Richard Hannon said after he got off the mark for the week with Viewpoint in the opening race of the meeting.
"At Ascot, I know the winner got interference, but we were just coming with a good run and we got a belt right in the middle of that.
"There was hardly anything in it at the finish. He'll like the ground and course, so we'll see."
Krypton Factor washed away in Lennox Stakes
The heavy rain that came to the rescue of Garswood in Tuesday’s Group 2 Lennox Stakes had an indirectly proportional effect on the chances of Krypton Factor.
Around 12mm of rain lashed the racecourse in the early hours of the morning, transforming a good track into a softer slog.
The two horses lay last with a furlong to go in the seven-furlong contest, but Garswood unleashed a thundering finish to edge Caspar Netscher at the line, while Krypton Factor laboured to finish ninth of the 10 runners.
“The ground is so important to Krypton,” jockey Kieren Fallon said. “When the rain came, we knew we were in trouble.
“Being drawn on the outside didn’t help, as he needs cover in his races.”
Garswood is now set on a course to run in the Group 1 Prix de la Foret at Longchamp in October, the same race that 2013 Dubai Golden Shaheen runner Gordon Lord Byron took en route to Dubai.
Garswood won the European Free Handicap at Newmarket earlier in the season, but bombed out in the English 2,000 Guineas behind Dawn Approach.
He struggled on the good-to-firm going when finishing fourth to Gale Force Ten in the Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot last month and the likely conditions in France are sure to suit.
“I have always had that race in my mind,” trainer Richard Fahey said. “He’s a big boy and he is growing up all of the time. He’ll be in training next year and we haven’t really got stuck into him yet.”
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