x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 16 January 2018

Epsom Derby Dawn Approach's next gig as Sky Lantern wins English 1000 Guineas

Sky Lantern edged out Just The Judge at Newmarket but will not be joining Dawn Approach, Godolphin's winner of the 2000 Guineas, at Epsom in June, writes Geoffrey Riddle.

Richard Hughes rode Sky Lantern, second left, to victory in the English 1000 Guineas at Newmarket yesterday. Alan Crowhurst / Getty Images
Richard Hughes rode Sky Lantern, second left, to victory in the English 1000 Guineas at Newmarket yesterday. Alan Crowhurst / Getty Images


Newmarket, England// Jim Bolger indicated on Saturday that he needed time to mull over Dawn Approach's impressive victory in the English 2000 Guineas.

Having slept on it, he was edging closer to a declaration that the Derby at Epsom, on the first Saturday in June, was indeed the next target.

Dawn Approach ran faster than any horse in the final three furlongs of the opening British Classic of the European turf season to seal Godolphin's first 2000 Guineas since Island Sands in 1999.

Watching was Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, who owns a 51 per cent stake in the colt.

As the giant chestnut entered Newmarket's undulating finale and began to power up the Rowley Mile's incline, he was the only runner of the 13 in the field to break 12 seconds for the penultimate furlong.

He was delivered by Kevin Manning, his regular jockey, and having ground down Toronado, his main rival, Dawn Approach stayed on to the winning post.

"Kevin wound him up a bit sooner as he wanted to hit the top of the hill in full flight," Bolger said. "That's exactly what he did and it worked out very well."

"Sheikh Mohammed and I have agreed that we'll both sleep on it, ponder the situation and maybe talk in 48 hours.

"On his breeding, you would expect that he would not get the distance, but because he's so relaxed and he has so much class, there is a reasonable chance that he will get it.

"For that reason, it probably will be decided that he'll go there. It will more than likely be Epsom."

Sky Lantern will not be heading to Epsom for the English Oaks, staged the day before the Derby, after winning the 1000 Guineas here yesterday.

Sky Lantern had ended last season by finishing eighth in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies' Turf in November before Richard Hughes rode her to second at Newmarket in the Nell Gwyn Stakes last month.

Sky Lantern was involved in a real tussle with Just The Judge, owned by Qatar Racing, in the final furlong having been placed in midfield by Hughes.

She came through the pack under the Irishman, however, and by edging clear by half a length at the line she handed Hughes his first British Classic win.

Moth, who was supplemented by Aidan O'Brien and will go to the Oaks, was third.

"It's about time," Hughes said. "I just wanted to hang on to their coat tails and beat them up the hill.

"They just got away from us, but you have to come through horses on this filly.

"I should have won on her in America. But I always believed in this filly and she came good."

Elsewhere, Saeed bin Suroor had his first runners in Britain since April 20.

Al Saham was 12th of 13 in a handicap at Salisbury, while Al Jamal was sixth in a handicap at the same course. Both horses were ridden by the Brazilian Silvestre De Sousa.

Bin Suroor's yard was the subject of testing last week by the British Horseracing Authority, but his horses are allowed to compete on British racecourses.



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