Dawn Approach out to establish lead role as Europe's best in horse racing
When boxing promoters try to sell a bout, they expect both parties to play their part to hype the fight.
That was hardly the case when the connections of Godolphin's Dawn Approach and Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad's Toronado met at the Savoy Hotel on Monday in preparation for the Sussex Stakes, the key race at Glorious Goodwood two weeks from Tuesday.
Simon Crisford, Godolphin's racing manager, was on hand to play Godolphin's role ahead of the Group One mile race, but Richard Hannon, assistant trainer to Toronado, was not reading from the same script.
Dawn Approach edged out Toronado by a short head in a thrilling St James's Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot last month, which augmented his easy victory over the same rival in the English 2,000 Guineas in May.
Crisford was in little doubt the result would be the same at Goodwood, and that Dawn Approach could progress next month to Deauville to dislodge Intello from his unofficial title as the best three-year-old colt in Europe.
"I think it is going to be the highlight of the week," Crisford said. "We both believe we have got the better horse, but Dawn Approach needs to establish himself as the three-year-old champion by beating Toronado on the Sussex Downs and then head over to France for the Prix Jacques Le Marois."
When asked whether he felt Dawn Approach was better than Intello, Crisford added: "I would say he is, and at the moment, I don't think there is much question about it."
Toronado briefly led Dawn Approach in the final furlong at Ascot but was out-battled in the final strides. Both Dawn Approach and Toronado were badly hampered at a crucial stage of the race and Richard Hannon was clinging to the hope that given a clean race, his charge could well overturn his chief rival.
"I wouldn't say I was confident at all," Hannon said. "We got pretty close last time, but to be fair, Dawn Approach stuck his head out. I am not saying that we are going to beat him, but we thought our boy was slightly unlucky.
"If there is the same distance between them this time, it is going to be awesome."
Crisford also said that Sajjhaa would contest the Group 1 Nassau Stakes, staged at the same meeting on August 3. Sajjhaa seemed to improve for the application of a hood at Dubai, where she won the Dubai Duty Free at Meydan Racecourse in March.
She was fourth to Military Attack in Hong Kong in April and has not run since.
"When she won at Meydan, we were surprised she reached the top at Group One level," Crisford said. "In Dubai, she was running against a small pool of horses, but back here in Europe, she is in a far-bigger tank of fish to be up against."
Godolphin's Colour Vision heads a list of four currently entered for the Goodwood Cup, with Azheemah, Lost In The Moment and Cavalryman also in the mix.
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Published: July 15, 2013 04:00 AM