In just 10 strides the writing was on the wall for Dawn Approach in yesterday’s English Derby, which was won by Aidan O’Brien’s Ruler Of The World.
Ryan Moore the merrier after guiding Ruler Of The World to win Epsom Derby
EPSOM, ENGLAND // In just 10 strides the writing was on the wall for Dawn Approach in yesterday’s English Derby, which was won by Aidan O’Brien’s Ruler Of The World.
The Godolphin colt, trained by Jim Bolger, displayed such a complete inability to settle off a slow pace at his first start over 12 furlongs that at the finishing post he trailed in last under the jockey Kevin Manning.
Where his sire, New Approach, had won the Derby despite a fiery temperament, Dawn Approach had displayed no such personality defects in seven previous starts, all of them victories.
And yet in front of 120,000 spectators, including the Queen of England, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai; and a delegation from the UAE including the Meydan chief executive Saeed Al Tayer, Godolphin’s chestnut colt went to pieces.
The next race for the English 2,000 Guineas winner is not known, but Bolger had no hesitation to rule out another attempt to run such a distance in the near future.
“I doubt you will see Dawn Approach again over a mile and a half,” the Irishman said. “We will take him home and see how he is. Time will help us decide what to do.
“There is nothing proved one way or the other. He just did not settle and run his race. This was not a good outcome.”
As soon as the gates opened Manning had problems.
He tried to settle his mount in the middle of the 12 runners but was forced wide where there was no cover.
While battling and withstanding barging matches with those inside him, Manning felt the only course of action was to go to the front in an effort to speed up proceedings.
Where Mirco Demuro’s similar mid-race move on the Dubai World Cup winner Victoire Pisa at Meydan Racecourse in 2011 drew plaudits from around the world, Manning’s manoeuvre will be remembered for the defeat it helped bring about.
“He ended up pulling me there,” Manning said. “I was running three deep and I just couldn’t get a pull out of him. I was just a passenger. After 100 yards out of the gates he got competitive and was carting me along.
“I knew it was not possible for a horse to pull the way he did and win.”
Bolger had stated before the race that he would be “as sick as a parrot” for five minutes if Dawn Approach were beaten. “Time is already up,” he said, when asked how long he would stew over the loss.
Ruler Of The World became O’Brien’s fourth winner of the Derby at Epsom and it was the first time that he had won the race with more than three runners taking part.
Where the common perception in the lead-up to the race was that the best way to get Dawn Approach beaten was to set a searing pace to test his stamina, the winning jockey Ryan Moore highlighted that slowing things down would test the favourite’s peace of mind.
“Dawn Approach is an exceptional horse from five furlongs to a mile,” Moore said, having added to his first success on Workforce in 2010. “Stepping up to a mile he had to switch off and it made sense to not tear off early.
“It was a very dramatic race to be part of. I was caught very deep but I was able to creep up into it nicely. I then got to the front very quickly and it was a matter of holding on and toughing it out. It was a tactical race.”
Earlier in the day, St Nicholas Abbey confirmed the verdict he gained over Dunaden in the Dubai Sheema Classic in March with an easy victory over Sheikh Fahad’s globetrotter in the Group 1 Coronation Cup.
St Nicholas Abbey became the first horse to win three Coronation Cups in succession and could now run in the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot in three weeks, en route to the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at the same course in July.
“If he doesn’t go to Royal Ascot he will probably have to go for a racecourse gallop, so he will probably go,” O’Brien said.
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