x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

Horse racing: Dawn Approach pipped by his rival Toronado in Sussex Stakes

But Goldolphin trainer Charles Appleby scores first group winner with Cap O'Rushes at Glorious Goodwood, writes Geoffrey Riddle.

Jockey Richard Hughes rides Toronado, right, to a win over Dawn Approach in the Sussex Stakes at Glorious Goodwood on Wednesday. Alan Crowhurst / Getty Images
Jockey Richard Hughes rides Toronado, right, to a win over Dawn Approach in the Sussex Stakes at Glorious Goodwood on Wednesday. Alan Crowhurst / Getty Images

GOODWOOD, ENGLAND // Godolphin may have lost the battle but there are signs that the Dubai-based operation is now well placed to finish strongly in this troubled European turf campaign.

Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad's Toronado prevailed by half a length from Dawn Approach in a thrilling battle in the Sussex Stakes, but Wednesday also marked Charlie Appleby's first winner in Group company when Cap O'Rushes won the Group 3 Gordon Stakes.

The eclipse of Dawn Approach was down to a beautifully timed piece of race riding from Richard Hughes, who waited with Toronado until it was almost too late.

Hughes knows every blade of turf along this undulating track and was quick in the knowledge that Kevin Manning had committed Dawn Approach too early, three furlongs from home.

Hughes bided his time in the slipstream of Aidan O'Brien's Declaration Of War and slipped out his mount approaching the final furlong and pressed the accelerator.

Like the Oldsmobile the colt is named after, Toronado took a moment to get going on the rain-softened ground but caught his main rival to win by half a length.

"There's only one winning post at Goodwood and it is right at the end," Hughes said, having been cheered into the winners' enclosure. "There was a lot of pressure on today as there were no excuses if he got beaten. I thought his reputation would be ruined if he didn't win."

Dawn Approach leads the private tussle between the two colts 2-1 after his victories in the St James's Palace Stakes at Ascot and in the English 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket.

Whether the pair meet again is yet to be decided, but the option to keep the momentum going between these two great rivals is presented by Deauville, which stages the Group 1 Prix Jacques Le Marois on August 11.

"I don't think it was a question of the course," said Jim Bolger, Dawn Approach's trainer. "We were beaten by a better horse on the day. They aren't many horses who would want to eyeball Dawn Approach, who is entered in all the Group 1 mile races and we will decide that at a later stage."

Godolphin remain at the top of the owners' standings in Britain, and that prize-money haul is likely to swell significantly towards the end of the European turf season. Appleby believes he has two colts who can feature in the English St Leger at Doncaster in September.

Encke took the final Classic of the British season last year having finished third in the Great Voltigeur Stakes at York and it is path that both Cap O'Rushes and the new acquisition Libertarian will follow, Appleby said.

Injuries aside, Farhh targets Dubai World Cup night

Saeed bin Suroor has revealed that Farhh is in contention to run in the Dubai World Cup at Meydan Racecourse next March. Farhh was last seen when winning the Group One Lockinge Stakes at Newbury in May but has had injury problems since.

The five-year-old stallion has raced just nine times and is notoriously difficult to keep right but Bin Suroor has suggested that Champions Day at Ascot in October can act as a launch pad to Dubai.

It is questionable whether Farhh can last the distance, however, and the ultimate decision lies with Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai.

“He was unsound after the Lockinge but that’s him: every run since we’ve had him he’s had the same problem,” Bin Suroor said. “We gave him time, we’ve been very easy on him and it will be September time when we’ll find a race for him, if he’s fit enough. Otherwise, we’ll keep options open for Champions Day.

“He’s a superstar, really, but he’s weak, he’s not easy to train. Between races he doesn’t work at all. You can’t put any pressure on him.”

When asked whether the Dubai World Cup was a consideration he added: “We’ll see how he is at the end of the season and we’ll talk to Sheikh Mohammed about that.”

Bin Suroor runs three in Thurday’s Group 2 Goodwood Cup, with the former Ascot Gold Cup hero Colour Vision leading the way. Cavalryman and Ahzeemah, who were first and second in the Dubai Gold Cup at Meydan in March, also run.

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