Jim Bolger’s unbeaten colt Dawn Approach could put his unbeaten record on the line at Leopardstown on Sunday as he features amongst a strong entry of 15 horses at the five-day declaration stage for the Group 1 Keeneland Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh, writes Elliot Slater.
The very smart son of Bolger’s Derby winner New Approach has carried all before him this season and is currently the 10/1 ante-post favourite for next year’s Qipco 2000 Guineas after beating all-comers in his four outings so far. The Irish handler has tasted success twice before in the Phoenix Stakes, sending out Mantovani to score in 1996 then making horse racing betting news headlines by repeating the dose with Saoirse Abu in 2007, one of the few times in recent years that the six furlong contest has not gone to the Aidan O’Brien yard.
The Ballydoyle handler has established an amazing record in the race winning 11 of the last 14 renewals and will be keen to get straight back on the score-sheet having failed to win last year’s Phoenix Stakes when the Kevin Prendergast-trained La Collina landed the spoils. Bolger has always made it clear he holds Dawn Approach in the highest regard and the juvenile has vindicated his trainer’s opinion of him at every step, winning on debut in a Curragh maiden before following up with a facile victory over six furlongs at the same track in a conditions race in May.
After easily landing a Naas listed contest in early-June Dawn Approach headed to Royal Ascot where he was sent off favourite in a field of 22 to win the Group 2 Coventry Stakes and duly obliged, beating the very useful Olympic Glory – popular among racing betting tips before the race – by three-quarters-of-a-length, form that has been franked twice since by the runner-up going on to win both the Group 2 Superlative Stakes at Newmarket and Group 2 Vintage Stakes at Glorious Goodwood in impressive fashion.