Dawn Approach after winning the Dewhurst Stakes in 2012.
|Dam||Hymn of the Dawn|
|Foaled||23 April 2010|
Mrs J. S. Bolger|
Coventry Stakes (2012)|
Vincent O'Brien Stakes (2012)
Dewhurst Stakes (2012)
2000 Guineas (2013)
St. James's Palace Stakes (2013)
European Champion Two-Year-Old Colt (2012)|
Top-rated European two-year-old colt (2012)
Dawn Approach (foaled 23 April 2010) is an Irish Thoroughbred racehorse. In a racing career which began in March 2012 the colt has won all seven of his races including the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot, the National Stakes at the Curragh and the Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket. He ended the 2012 European season as the year's most highly rated two-year-old colt and was regarded as a leading contender for the 2013 classics. As a three-year-old, Dawn Approach won the classic 2000 Guineas on his first appearance, going on to win the St James Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot.
Dawn Approach is a chestnut horse with a white blaze and a long white sock on his right hind leg. He was bred by the Irish trainer Jim Bolger, and in the early part of his career he carried the colours of Bolger's wife, Jackie, who owned the horse in partnership with J. P. Spain. Dawn Approach is from the first crop of foals sired by New Approach a horse which won four Group One races including The Derby, and was the equal highest-rated Thoroughbred in the world when trained by Bolger in 2008. His dam, Hymn of the Dawn, was bred in the United States and was an unsuccessful racehorse in five starts, with her best effort a fourth place in the 2001 European Breeders Fund Maiden.
2012: two-year-old season
Dawn Approach began his racing career unusually early, running at the Curragh in March, more than a month before his second birthday. In a five furlong maiden race he started even money favourite and won by one and three quarter lengths from Canary Row. After a break of almost two months, Dawn Approach reappeared in a minor race over six furlongs at Naas Racecourse in May. He was made the 4/6 favourite and won easily, beating his Curragh rival Canary Row by five and a half lengths. Dawn Approach returned to Naas nineteen days later for the Listed Rochestown Stakes and completed a hat trick, winning by two and three quarter lengths.
Two weeks after his second win at Naas Dawn Approach was sent to England and moved up in class to contest the Group Two Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot. He pulled hard in the early stages before taking the lead approaching the final furlong. Despite hanging to the let he stayed on well in the closing stages to win by three quarters of a length from the Richard Hannon, Sr.-trained Olympic Glory. The runner-up was unbeaten in three subsequent races including the Group One Prix Jean-Luc Lagardère at Longchamp. After his Ascot win, a controlling share in Dawn Approach was sold for an undisclosed sum to Sheikh Mohammed's Godolphin Racing organisation. Instead of moving the colt to the stable of Mahmood Al Zarooni or Saeed Bin Suroor it was decided that he would remain in training with Bolger.
On his first racecourse appearance for almost three months, Dawn Approach started 2/5 favourite for the National Stakes at the Curragh on 15 September. Racing over seven furlongs for the first time he took the lead entering the final furlong and won easily by almost five lengths from the outsider Designs On Rome. Bolger later admitted that he had been uncertain about running the colt on the very soft ground after such a long break. Dawn Approach's final run of 2012 came in the Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket in October, a race which Bolger had won four times previously with colts including the champions New Approach and Teofilo. In this race he was accompanied by his stable companion Leitir Mor, the winner of the Group Three Round Tower Stakes. Starting at odds of 3/10, he took the lead inside the final furlong from Leitir Mor and pulled clear to win by two and three quarter lengths. After the race Bolger described the colt as being "every bit as good as his sire" and as having a more "laid-back" and manageable temperament. The win confirmed Dawn Approach's position as favourite for the 2013 2000 Guineas, with bookmakers offering him at odds of 5/1.
2013: three-year-old season
Dawn Approach made his first appearance as a three-year-old in the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket on 4 May 2013. The race saw the first appearance on a British Racecourse since the Godolphin trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni had been banned for administering anabolic steroids to his horse. Despite strong betting support for the English colt Toronado, he started the 11/8 favourite in a field of thirteen runners. Dawn Approach raced just behind the leaders before taking the lead approaching the final furlong and drawing clear of the field to win by five lengths from the 150/1 outsider Glory Awaits. After the race Manning described the winner as "a very special horse" and indicated that the horse had the attributes and temperament to win The Derby. Bolger called the performance "very impressive" and said that the horse's future targets would be decided after discussion with Sheikh Mohammed.
At Epsom on 1 June Dawn Approach started favourite for the Epsom Derby over one and a half miles. He failed to settle in the race, fighting the efforts of Kevin Manning to restrain him, "fly-jumping... and throwing his head about." He took the lead over half a mile from the finish, but quickly dropped out of contention in the straight and finished last of the twelve runners behind Ruler of the World. After the race Bolger said that Dawn Approach "was fine for ten strides and then all hope was gone. He will not run over one and a half miles again." On the Monday following the race, Bolger stated that Dawn Approach had "collided with another horse jumping out of the stalls and that seemed to set him alight."
Less than three weeks after his defeat at Epsom, Dawn Approach returned to the one-mile distance for the St. James's Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot. In this race he was opposed again by Toronado but his main challenger appeared to be Aidan O'Brien's Irish 2000 Guineas winner Magician: Dawn Approach started the 5/4 favourite, with Magician on 5/2 and Toronado on 5/1. Manning settled the colt behind the leaders before moving up on the outside in the straight. Two furlongs from the finish Glory Awaits veered to the left, colliding with Magician, who in turn bumped Dawn Approach who in turn made contact with Toronado. Dawn Approach recovered from the incident to take the lead and got the better of a sustained struggle with Toronado to win by a short head. The raceourse stewards held an enquiry into the incident which had occurred early in the straight, but the result of the race was upheld.
A month and a half later Dawn Approach faced Toronado for the third time in the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood Racecourse. The race was billed as the second "Duel on the Downs" following the famous race between Frankel and Canford Cliffs in 2011. After Leitir Mor set a strong pace, Dawn Approach took the lead approaching the final furlong but was overtaken in the closing stages and was beaten half a length by Toronado. Eleven days later Dawn Approach started favourite for the Prix Jacques le Marois at Deauville Racecourse but after pulling hard in the early stages he faded to finish fifth behind Moonlight Cloud, Olympic Glory, Intello and Declaration of War. After a two-month break, the colt returned for his final race, the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot on 19 October. He again started favourite but made little impact, finishing fourth behind Olympic Glory, Top Notch Tonto and Kingsbarns. Bolger felt that the colt did not handle the soft ground, saying "He came there very easily two down and gave himself every chance but just floundered in it".
Assessment and awards
In November, Dawn Approach was named European Champion two-year-old colt at the Cartier Racing Awards. In the 2012 European Thoroughbred Racehorse Rankings, he was given a rating of 124, six pounds clear of his closest rival Kingsbarns.
In the 2013 edition of the World's Best Racehorse Rankings Dawn Approach was rated the joint-eleventh best horse in the world and the joint-third best three-year-old colt behind Toronado and Olympic Glory, and level with Magician, Intello and Will Take Charge.
New Approach (IRE)
|Sadler's Wells||Northern Dancer|
Hymn of the Dawn (USA)
|Over the Phone||Finnegan|
|Pleasant Colony||His Majesty|
|Kittiwake (Family: 4-m)|
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- Staff. "Hymn Of The Dawn (USA)". Racing Post. Retrieved 6 May 2013.
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- Geoffrey Riddle. "Bolger's Dawn Approach for Dewhurst at Newmarket". The National (Abu Dhabi). Retrieved 2012-10-14.
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- Frank Keogh (4 May 2013). "Dawn Approach wins 2000 Guineas". BBC Sport. Retrieved 2013-05-04.
- Chris Cook (2013-06-01). "Ruler Of The World wins the Derby". London: The Guardian. Retrieved 2013-06-03.
- "Ruler Of The World dominates". Melbourne: The Age. 2013-05-28. Retrieved 2013-06-03.
- Tony O'Hehir (4 June 2013). "Bolger has no immediate plans for Dawn Approach". Racing Post. Retrieved 2013-06-04.
- "St James's Palace Stakes". Racing Post. 18 June 2013. Retrieved 2013-06-18.
- Greg Wood (28 July 2013). "Goodwood awaits 'Duel on the Downs' between Dawn Approach and Toronado". The Guardian. Retrieved 2013-08-04.
- "Toronado beats Dawn Approach in Sussex Stakes at Goodwood". BBC. 31 July 2013. Retrieved 2013-08-04.
- "Olympic Glory strikes gold for Hannon and Hughes". Racing Post. Retrieved 14 December 2014.
- Horse Racing (13 November 2012). "Cartier Awards 2012: Frankel sweeps board and takes top honour for second year". London: Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 2012-11-15.
- "2012 Flat Classification" (PDF). Horse Racing Ireland. Retrieved 2013-05-04.
- "Dawn Approach - stud record". Racing Post. Retrieved 14 December 2014.
- "Dawn Approach pedigree". equineline.com. 2012-05-08. Retrieved 2012-10-13.