x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Horse racing: Godolphin's Dawn Approach continues his charge

Dawn Approach takes his chance in the Group 1 Prix du Haras de Fresney-Le-Buffard Jacques Le Marois at Deauville on Sunday with five other Group 1 winners lurking among his 12 rivals, reports Geoffrey Riddle.

Godolphin trainer Jim Bolger says Dawn Approach, left, fell to Toronado at the Sussex Stakes on July 31 due to tactics. Alan Crowhurst / Getty Images
Godolphin trainer Jim Bolger says Dawn Approach, left, fell to Toronado at the Sussex Stakes on July 31 due to tactics. Alan Crowhurst / Getty Images

Race reading is an imprecise science but connections of Dawn Approach are banking that their interpretation of the Godolphin colt's defeat to Toronado at the Sussex Stakes 11 days ago was down to tactics and not fatigue.

Dawn Approach takes his chance in the Group 1 Prix du Haras de Fresney-Le-Buffard Jacques Le Marois at Deauville on Sunday afternoon, and with five other Group 1 winners lurking among his 12 rivals it is one of the most deeply-packed fields the mile race has ever seen.

Coming off the back of such a momentous loss some trainers would give their charges a rest, but Jim Bolger is having none of it.

The Irishman oversaw Dawn Approach's work at his Coolcullen base on Wednesday and gave the green light for the colt's fifth race at the highest level in fewer than 100 days.

Toronado remains in his stable at Richard Hannon's yard.

Bolger is adamant that Richard Hughes stole the Sussex Stakes by swooping fast, late, and most crucially of all, wide on Toronado.

"There aren't many horses that would want to eyeball Dawn Approach," he said. "The tactics used were the ones decided on. They have served us in good stead in the past and whatever happened, happened. That is his style of racing and that is how we like to manage things for him. It has not worked out too badly in the past doing things that way."

Hughes may have come late with his challenge, but the sectional times show that Toronado was faster than his main rival for the final five furlongs.

It suggests that either jockey Kevin Manning went too fast at the start of the race, or that Dawn Approach's constitution is not as robust as might be hoped.

Whatever the explanation to Dawn Approach's defeat to Toronado, whom he had previously beaten twice this season, he faces a mighty task in France.

Should he hand Godolphin a fifth victory in the race, he would become the undisputed champion miler until he takes on Toronado again at Ascot in October.

Qatar's Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad Al Thani owns Toronado and his silks will be carried instead by Olympic Glory, who will be ridden by the former Godolphin jockey Frankie Dettori.

The Italian has not won at the highest level since scoring in the Canadian International on Joshua Tree in October and would relish the opportunity of turning over his former employers. If Dawn Approach is advertising his credentials as a hardy chestnut then Moonlight Cloud is also laying on the line her reputation as a tough nut to crack.

Freddy Head's mare broke the track record over six-and-a-half furlongs in the Prix Maurice de Gheest at Deauville a week ago and is sent out to compete once again over the same distance she beat Godolphin's Farhh last season.

She pounced under Thierry Jarnet to account for the front-running Lethal Force and the veteran Frenchman will have made a note of Hughes's tactics at Goodwood.

With star French colt Intello likely to run prominently for Olivier Peslier alongside Elusive Kate and William Buick, Dawn Approach will restore his reputation with victory this afternoon.

Lose, and the question as to whether he should have run at all will surely be asked.

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