x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Dawn Approach rides to victory for Godolphin in English 2000 Guineas

Dawn Approach returned to the winners' enclosure to a beaming owner, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, writes Geoffrey Riddle.

Kevin Manning rides Dawn Approach to win the English 2000 Guineas at Newmarket. Alan Crowhurst / Getty Images
Kevin Manning rides Dawn Approach to win the English 2000 Guineas at Newmarket. Alan Crowhurst / Getty Images

Newmarket, England// You could barely make it up. Dawn Approach was simply too good for his rivals in the English 2000 Guineas.

The Godolphin colt was entitled to be ring-rusty having not raced for 203 days. He did not have his favoured softer ground, either.

As luck would have it 20 minutes before the first Classic of the British turf season a huge rainstorm hit Newmarket's Rowley Mile to soften the going for him.

Having dispatched 12 rivals by a commanding five lengths under Kevin Manning, Dawn Approach returned to the winners' enclosure to sunshine and a beaming owner, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

Godolphin had previously won the English 2,000 Guineas with Mark Of Esteem in 1996 and Island Sands three years later.

So extraordinary have events been here in England over the past two weeks that Sheikh Mohammed celebrated the hat-trick by delivering his three-fingered salute - representing the concepts "win, victory, love" - to the cheering crowd.

"We thought he was good but he was better," he said of Dawn Approach. "We were not confident but we hoped. I am very happy to see a great horse win the Guineas."

The win comes at the end of a two weeks during which his Godolphin stables in Newmarket have been subject to testing by the British Horseracing Authority.

Sheikh Mohammed's appearance at Newmarket had been a topic of speculation in the British media in the lead-up to the Group 1 contest, but when asked whether there had been any doubt as to whether he would grace the Rowley Mile, Sheikh Mohammed replied: "I always face anything. Challenges for me are normal."

Dawn Approach's victory was emphatic, with the rank outsider Glory Awaits a surprise but well-beaten second. The winner's performance was one of the most visually impressive in the mile race in recent times, save for Frankel's demolition job two seasons ago.

When Dawn Approach was hustling the juvenile division in his six races as a two year old, Jim Bolger, the trainer, had suggested the colt may not stay the extra half a mile of the English Derby next month. But he was less sure, basking in the spotlight of victory.

Bolger said: "When you get to 10 furlongs, it is not much further is it? He was very impressive, we're very happy with him and he galloped right to the line.

"I don't know about the Derby; Sheikh Mohammed and myself said we would sleep on it and take it from there.

"If he wants to go, I'd be very happy to. We have to see how he comes out of this but he's hardy and I'm sure he'll be fine."

An hour later, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed also had a winner when Windhoek carried his green and red silks to victory in a 10-furlong Listed contest.

The three-year-old colt is trained by Mark Johnston, who had previously saddled Universal, owned by Abdullah Al Mansoori, to win the Group 2 Jockey Club Stakes.

Sole Power, a Dubai World Cup Carnival regular, also won, capturing the Group 3 Palace House Stakes, and remains on course for a rematch with Shea Shea at Royal Ascot next month.

Sole Power was fourth to Shea Shea in the Al Quoz Sprint at Meydan Racecourse in March and the pair could clash again in the King's Stand Stakes on June 18.

 

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