x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Godolphin's Dawn Approach 'just wasn't the same racehorse'

Moonlight Cloud wins at Deauville in the Prix du Haras de Fresnay-le-Buffard Prix Jacques le Marois as Godolphin horse again fails to deliver.

Jockey Kevin Manning is worried about his horse, Dawn Approach, who again failed to catch fire and finished fifth at Deauville.
Jockey Kevin Manning is worried about his horse, Dawn Approach, who again failed to catch fire and finished fifth at Deauville.

Moonlight Cloud created history at Deauville with a mesmerising performance in the Prix du Haras de Fresnay-le-Buffard Prix Jacques le Marois as Godolphin's Dawn Approach again failed to deliver.

Freddie Head's mare became the first horse to win the Normandy track's twin Group 1 highlights in the same year – just seven days after her record-breaking third triumph in the Prix Maurice de Gheest.

Veteran rider Thierry Jarnet's mount saw a three-length advantage eroded all the way to the line by Olympic Glory, but in a desperate finish, held off Frankie Dettori's mount by a short head. The hot favourite Intello proved no match under Olivier Peslier and finished a length and three quarters back in third.

Dawn Approach looked superb in the paddock and did not appear to have visibly lost any condition since his tough Sussex Stakes battle with Toronado, but when asked for his effort, Kevin Manning's mount was swamped by the blistering turn of foot of the winner.

While Toronado's connections must now have every reason to believe he is the best miler in Europe, Head is plotting a campaign of between one and three more races for his George Strawbridge-owned champion. After the result of the photograph was announced, Head said: "I was behind the line and wasn't sure of the result, but as soon as he came back, Thierry said she was relaxed and cantering all the way.

"In fact, he had to go on a bit sooner than ideal, but I know that when a horse is travelling as well as she was, you cannot disappoint them by checking their momentum. He did absolutely the right thing by letting her go on, and he said she would have found a little more if necessary."

Head has no doubts that the Prix de la Foret at Longchamp on Arc day will be Moonlight Cloud's next race, with a possibility it could be her last.

The trainer said: "We'll see how she is. The plan has always been to bypass the Moulin and to run in the Foret on Arc day.

"If we carry on, Hong Kong could be in line, but although I love the Breeders' Cup, the problem is that she ran very badly at Santa Anita last year and the meeting is at the same course."

Peslier said he had "no excuses" for Andre Fabre's Intello, who was backed to the virtual exclusion of anything else.

Declaration Of War failed to enhance the look of the Sussex form, although in finishing fourth, Aidan O'Brien's colt had several Group 1 winners behind and was six lengths in front of the eased Dawn Approach in fifth.

Dawn Approach's trainer Jim Bolger said: "We will take him home and freshen him up for the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot in the autumn."

Manning gave a more guarded summary and said: "He just wasn't the same racehorse he has been all year."

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