Sean Goff | Racing Preview
Big reputations are on the line this weekend as Newmarket stages the first Classics of the Flat season. Dawn Approach dodged a bullet – and a syringe – when Godolphin left him with Jim Bolger over the winter and the 2,000 Guineas favourite puts his six-race unbeaten record on the line against Richard Hannon’s Toronado.
His Craven win last month has left Champion jockey Richard Hughes dreaming of a first British Classic success – and shook up a race that was looking like a gimme for Bolger’s ante-post favourite. Irish champion trainer Aidan O’Brien saddles three runners in Cristoforo Colombo, George Vancouver & Mars and
- The Ballydoyle trainer has won the colts’ Classic five times in the past 10 years.
Joseph O’Brien sides with Cristoforo Columba who was third to Dawn Approach in the Coventry Stake at Royal Ascot despite being drawn on the ‘wrong’ side. He was only beaten a length and a half at the line and is fitted with cheek pieces here for the first time.
But Ballydoyle’s George Vancouver is interesting at a big price after powering home in the Breeders Cup Juvenile Turf at Santa Anita over a mile on his last start.
Dundonnell was fourth that day – beaten about the same distance that Toronado beat him in the Craven Stakes – yet George Vancouver is nearly eight times Toronado’s price.
A three-length third to Dawn Approach on soft ground in the Dewhurst last season – at 16/1 George Vancouver looks solid each-way value in the first Classic of the season.