Belfast Telegraph

Friday 1 August 2014

Change of Approach

All a bit of a false dawn in the Derby as Dawn Approach failed to live up to expectations. The 2000 Guineas winner was beaten before the runners had covered a furlong and those holding betting slips were tossing them into the bin long before Tattenham Corner.

Jim Bolger's previously unbeaten star was supposed to be the epitomy of cool, calm and collected. His temperament was expected to see him relax and give him a solid chance of taking the Derby by storm.

However, the wind of fate was blowing in a different direction as soon as the stalls opened as Dawn Approach went haywire, pulling so hard, jockey Kevin Manning could not control him and hopes of following in his sire's footsteps in winning a Derby, were extinguished in a head-strong battle.

Dawn Approach, it's now clear, knows only one way to run and that's fast and hence his supremacy over a mile, a trip to which he will undoubtedly return, possibly in the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood.

He won't go to Royal Ascot in a few weeks time, giving him time to recover from that bad Epsom experience.

There are those who think the Aidan O'Brien team deliberatly set a slow pace to thwart Dawn Approach but that's incorrect. The pace was fair for the first three furlongs and by that time Dawn Approach was well beaten and in any case, Coolmore would have wanted to stretch the Bolger horse's questionable stamina by setting a strong gallop but that was never put to the test. Dawn Approach never turned up for the exam!

Simply put, Approach is a speed horse and it is highly unlikely he'll be asked go further than a mile in future. There are still plenty of good races to be had such as the Sussex and Queen Elizabeth II Stakes..

As for the winner and runner-up, Ruler of the World and Libertarian, they are set for another clash in the Irish Derby on June 29 at the Curragh.

The track will certainly suit Libertarian better as he's comes from off the pace and is a out-and-out stayer who looks the part for Doncaster's St Leger over 1m 6f in September at 6/1.

One who will definitely contest the Curragh race is Kevin Prendegast' Sugar Boy who didn't go to Epsom but beat both Libertarian and Derby-third Galleleo Rock in Sandown's Classic Trial in April and is good value at 8/1.

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