Hardwicke Stakes 2011 

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royal ascot 2011/


Dawn Rises to Hardwicke Challenge

1 Await The Dawn 4/6
2 Harris Tweed 12/1
3 Drunken Sailor 9/1
NR: Afsare
9 ran Distances: 3l, 2½l, nk
TIME 2m 38.40s (slow by 8.40s)

Aidan O'Brien has been dreaming about the Breeders' Cup Classic for Await The Dawn and that dream is very much alive and kicking after the four-year-old demolished his rivals to take the Group Two Hardwicke Stakes.

Await The Dawn
© Caroline Norris

Await The Dawn
The Ballydoyle-trained colt's brilliant sire, Giant's Causeway, was an agonisingly unlucky runner-up in the 2000 renewal of the Breeders' Cup Classic and Await The Dawn could attempt to make amends in the Stateside championship on dirt at Churchill Downs on the first Saturday in November.

O'Brien revealed: "The plan was to come here first and then we go home and talk. He has a lot of options. We always dreamt that he could be a Breeders' Cup Classic horse - that was always the dream about him. We will go gently and go home and see where he goes next."

The imposing colt was sent off a warm 4/6 favourite to land today's mile and half contest after impressively annexing the 10-furlong Huxley Stakes at Chester in May. The issue was never in doubt here as Ryan Moore kicked for home at the top of the Ascot straight and powered past runner-up Harris Tweed for a three-length triumph.

O'Brien continued: "I would say that there is no question that he has won despite the ground. He is a daisy cutter in how he moves his legs across the ground and it's the same old story - it's his class.

"He is so low moving - for him to be able to do those things on that ground. I don't know if Ryan even hit him. He was always a horse that had a jet engine. He was a big baby but the engine was always very big. He's like his dad, he is a big fellow, a big rangy horse.

"We were hoping that he had so much class that he would get the mile and a half and he is a very serious horse.

"We were always dreaming of the Breeders' Cup Classic but it's a long way away. Ryan rode him at Chester and he loved him. The race has always been the dream and we were thinking that it would be something to look at for the end of the year. The dream is still alive."

O'Brien has an abundance of talent with which to go to war this season, with Await The Dawn joining Coronation Cup hero St Nicholas Abbey and Wednesday's Prince of Wales's Stakes runner-up So You Think among an elite echelon of middle distance performers.

As to plans for his trio, O'Brien said: "It's very hard to think about where to go. We were thinking after Epsom with St Nicholas Abbey that he could be coming back here for the King George. So You Think ran here the other day so we have to decide where to go with him next too, whether he should go to the Eclipse or whether he should go somewhere else."

O'Brien and Moore were combining for a rapid-fire near 5/1 double in the first two races of the afternoon, having taken the Chesham Stakes with 5/2 favourite Maybe. Both winners sported the Michael Tabor silks.

Moore said of Await The Dawn: "He had form on soft ground as a young horse but he has got bigger, stronger and a heavier horse - it's probably harder for him to get himself out of the ground. He has won in spite of the ground and he has a lot of quality.

"He travelled very well and just does enough in his races."


Starting Price
Beaten Distance
Await The Dawn
A P O'Brien
R L Moore
9st 0lbs
4 - 6
Harris Tweed
W J Haggas
R Hughes
9st 0lbs
12 - 1
3 lengths
Drunken Sailor
L M Cumani
K Fallon
9st 0lbs
9 - 1
2 1/2 lengths
R Varian
R Hills
9st 0lbs
16 - 1
S bin Suroor
T E Durcan
9st 0lbs
14 - 1
2 1/4 lengths
Calvados Blues
M Al Zarooni
J P Murtagh
9st 0lbs
14 - 1
10 lengths
Kings Gambit
T P Tate
J P Spencer
9st 0lbs
33 - 1
1 1/4 length
C G Cox
A Kirby
9st 0lbs
8 - 1
41 lengths
Passion For Gold
S bin Suroor
M Barzalona
9st 0lbs
11 - 1
45 lengths
L M Cumani
Non Runner
9st 0lbs



Hardwicke Stakes runner-up Harris Tweed and third-placed Drunken Sailor could meet again in Australia in November with connections of both horses eyeing the Melbourne Cup.

Drunken Sailor
© Racehorse Photos

Drunken Sailor

William Haggas, Harris Tweed’s trainer, commented: “I think the winner (Await The Dawn) will turn out to be a multi Group 1 winner and we have given him a race so I couldn’t be more thrilled.

“Maybe Harris Tweed needs this ground but he stays well and I would like to save him a bit for the autumn because Melbourne Cup looks quite enticing and he would have to start blood tests for there on Monday.

“My father, who owns and bred this horse, is 80 and I don’t think he fancies the trip to Australia as much as his son. But he owns the Harris Tweed company and this horse could run against the New Zealand-bred Harris Tweed so it would be a good plug for the business!”

Harris Tweed’s jockey Richard Hughes added: “I got a lovely lead and he galloped all the way to the line. Mine did idle a bit in front but the winner would have to have idled an awful lot more for me to beat him.”

Luca Cumani, trainer of Drunken Sailor, said: “I’m delighted. He’s come a long way from winning handicaps to being placed in a Group 2 today. I think the owners are keen for another trip to Australia for the Caulfield Cup or Melbourne Cup and he might go for the Glorious Stakes at Goodwood next.”

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