Friday, May 3, 2013

Toronado to be followed by Dawn Approach

This week-end is all about Flat racing with the first Classics in Britain being held at Newmarket and the Kentucky Derby looking a wide-open affair at Churchill Downs.

There are only 2 names to remember for the 2000 Guineas; Toronado and Dawn Approach. The winner will come out of the two, and the loser will very possibly make the first 3. Not so long ago, Richard Hughes was claiming that Canford Cliffs was the best he'd ridden. He now thinks that Toronado is on par or potentially  better than CC. That's a big statement. The unbeaten son of High Chaparral won the Craven impressively. He's got the cobwebs out of that run. His connections think he's in the form of his life. The same connections won the 2000 Guineas 4 times and recently placed with CC, Dick Turpin and Dubawi Gold. So, they know how to prepare the horse for the race. Distance will not be a problem. Bar an accident, I cannot see Toronado out of the first 2. In fact, I think he will win.

Dawn Approach is the unbeaten son of New Approach. He's won all his 5 races like his sire, as a juvenile. New Approach was heavy favourite for the Guineas but found Henrythenavigator a head too good in the 2009 Classic. It could be a bis repetita scenario for his son as well. Trainer Jim Bolger has never won the Guineas, but that doesn't mean that he cannot prepare them right for the occasion. He's placed recently with New Approach, as well as Gan Amhras. He couldn't have better words for NA leading to the race; his preparation has been ideal with no hiccups and he has gotten the expected improvement from the horse to be a leading player this year. Very encouraging words which make me think that NA towers over the rest of the field, bar Toronado.

From the rest, Aidan's O'Brien's horses always run well in the Classic, even without a prep run. He won it with Camelot last year and he definitely knows how to get them a winning chance in the race. Whichever of George Vancouver, Mars or Christoforo Colombo should be the best of the rest.

I have hardly any doubt it will be between Toronado and Dawn Approach. Where Toronado edges it for me is his advantage of having had a prep run. Also, there looks to be pace in the race which will better suit the Hannon colt. Dawn Approach should follow him home.

The 1000 Guineas looks a wide open affair but I feel French raider What a Name could spoil the local party. She's definitely a very talented daughter of Mr Greeley and the mile will be right up her alley. The vibes are very positive from her yard after her convincing seasonal re-appearance win in the Prix Imprudence. She is a Place selection.

In the US, the Run for the Roses looks a very competitive one. Much of it will depend on the conditions of the race and any hard-luck for the horses to weave their way through a 20-horse field. Orb is the slight favourite and if he does not suffer from a horror trip, he should be a leading player. I'll stand on the sidelines on this one but any exotic punt needs to have Orb in there.

Win: Toronado
Place: Dawn Approach, What a Name

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