Dawn Approach defends unbeaten record

JIM BOLGER made sure his name will remain in lights for some time as Dawn Approach strode to an emphatic victory in the Group One Vincent O’Brien Stakes at The Curragh, writes Ned Tierney.

JIM BOLGER made sure his name will remain in lights for some time as Dawn Approach strode to an emphatic victory in the Group One Vincent O’Brien Stakes at The Curragh, writes Ned Tierney.

With three victories under his belt on this side of the water Dawn Approach headed to Royal Ascot back in June and trounced the opposition in the Coventry Stakes. Although he had not appeared in the mean time the son of New Approach was fit and ready for the fray.

Sporting the Godolphin silks for the first time Dawn Approach was at cramped odds, but he never gave those who willing to trade the slightest cause for worry as he picked off the leaders with ease to defend his unbeaten record. Shamie Heffernan made the running aboard the Ballydoyle horse Flying The Flag until the two maker from where he weakened quickly and dropped right away.

At this point rider Kevin Manning was just about to get to work on Dawn Approach. The response was immediate - in a matter of strides he was in full flow, quickly putting the issue to bed with a four and three-quarter length win from the rank outsider Designs On Rome.

Guineas favourite

Although he had already been installed as favourite for next year’s 2000 Guineas bookmakers were taking no chances and clipped him even further. The winner has improved significantly in shape since the start of the season and is now a more round full-bodied horse.

Dawn Approach has an all-American pedigree on his dam’s side. She is Hymn Of The Dawn, a daughter of the top sprinter Phone Trick, although she failed to trouble the judge in her five starts between six furlongs and a mile at two and three. She has now bred two winners from four foals with Dawn Approach by far the best.

Hopes are that the Godolphin people will leave this exciting juvenile with Bolger for his three-year-old career as it could well turn out to be lucrative. The result was also a triumph for Galileo for apart of being the father of New Approach he is also the sire of the sensational first crop stallion Sixties Icon.

Time was when the Irish St Leger was the highlight of the Autumn scene on this side of the water. That has changed very much with the passing of years as breeders go looking for faster horses which produces, in turn, more precocious juveniles. This has not gone unnoticed by the race organisers who, a number of years ago, decided to open the contest up to older horses.

Easy to back

Fame and Glory went to post an easy to back tip in Saturday’s contest but in all honestly he looks a light of other days. Although he made much of the running the gears were no longer there when the pace was upped halfway down the straight. At this stage any one of four horses could be called the winner and as they flashed past the post opinion was sharply divided as to the placings.

The camera showed that Niall McCullagh had gained his first Group One victory aboard Royal Diamond, who also handed trainer Tommy Carmody his first Classic winner since renewing his licence at the beginning of the season. Mick Halford’s runner Massiyn was just behind, with a short head separating him and Brown Panther in third place.

For an animal that was winning a Leopardstown handicap off a mark of 80 it is a sharp improvement but it also says something for the quality of the contest.

This is the second coming of Carmody as a trainer who was a top jumping rider with the Dickinson’s in England. His first venture never really got off the ground but a meeting with Andrew Tinkler, which was organised by Johnny Murtagh, changed all that. He is now renting a yard on The Curragh which is owned by Murtagh, with the rider also giving a helping hand.

The venture was seen as a conflict of interests by the Aga Khan, who had Murtagh as his retained jockey in this country, and led to a parting of the ways between owner and jockey. Murtagh will hardly lose any sleep about the matter as he is still one of the best around but it gives some credence to the rumour that it’s only a matter of time until he hands in his licence and goes training full time.