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Angus McNae

Angus McNae - Saturday 11th May 2013

Dawn Approach needed a more even pace

The racing at Newmarket last weekend was interesting, even if there were only a few noteworthy performances on the clock.

Dawn Approach produced a disappointing speed figure but we already know that under optimum conditions he is much better on the clock than he showed in the Guineas.

Here is a look back at last weekend’s action.



There is no doubt in my mind that Dawn Approach is the real deal. His authoritative win in the 2,000 Guineas proved him to be an above average three-year-old miler. There was no flat spot, in truth there never has been, and instead of grinding his way to victory as he did in the Dewhurst he outclassed his opponents by proving that he can run a lot faster than them.

The speed figure of 110 that he produced was well below the 124 that he posted in the Dewhurst and this is because the Dewhurst last year was run at a more even tempo than the Guineas.

In essence then the Guineas was a race that was run at an overly strong gallop that produced a poor overall time and Dawn Approach sat just off that gallop thereby running a more energy efficient race than some of his rivals.

His final furlong, contrary to visual impressions, was a slow one, which adds credence to the theory that the gallop was too strong. In fact on soft ground Camelot ran a faster final furlong last year, thus it is clear that they went off too hard in this year’s renewal. I believe that if the race had been run at an even gallop Dawn Approach would have been even more impressive.

Will he win the Derby? The answer to that is dependent on stamina, if he stays he will win and I am quite sure that if he had a stamina-laden pedigree he would be odds-on for the Blue Riband. As it stands there remain some pedigree doubts about his stamina for 12 furlongs and the Derby is a race where stamina is imperative. We should remember, though, that his father, New Approach, won the Derby having gone into the race with doubts about his stamina as well.

Sky Lantern was an unremarkable winner of the 1000 Guineas. She did not even have to repeat the effort she put up in the Nell Gwyn to win and the below-par performance at of Hot Snap, who would have won if she had been at her best, meant that the race was something of a disappointment. That said, credit must go to the Hannon team for picking up their fourth Classic and to Richard Hughes who was winning his first.



Two speed figures of real note emerged from the meeting. Firstly Sole Power ran a figure in the low 120's in the Palace House Stakes,  which is right up there with his previous career best. He is clearly as good as ever.

The other interesting figure was produced by Hamza who ran a 112 in the Timeform Harbour Watch Handicap. He is clearly a useful sprinter, particularly when he gets his own way out in front as he did here. Conditions will not always be so favorable, but nonetheless he is clearly an exuberant type who will be ahead of the handicapper for a while.

Enough of what has been. Let's turn our attention to this weekend and I would like to pass on something that I learned on my recent trip to Chantilly. Whilst I was there filming for Planet Turf I visited the yard of Nicolas Clement and he trains a horse called Style Vendome.

Clement is a brilliant trainer and he believes that this colt could be the best he has ever trained. We should take the hint and back him to win the French 2,000 Guineas on Sunday. His draw in stall six is ideal and if he manages to win this then we can look forward to seeing him at Ascot in the St James's Palace Stakes.

I hope you all have a good weekend.



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