Why Royal tear-up could be music to ears of Sussex officials

Dawn Approach, ridden by Kevin Manning, left, and Toronado, ridden by Richard Hughes, scrap for Royal Ascot glory
Dawn Approach, ridden by Kevin Manning, left, and Toronado, ridden by Richard Hughes, scrap for Royal Ascot glory
The start of racing on Washout Wednesday / Picture by Malcolm Wells

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Goodwood officials will today be licking their lips at the potential of hosting a rematch between Dawn Approach and Toronado.

The stellar milers fought out a thrilling finish in the St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot yesterday.

Dawn Approach, the 5/4-favourite, held on by a short head from his Richard Hannon-trained rival.

Both horses met with problems in running, though, as they were badly hampered two furlongs from the winning post.

That left the Hannon camp wondering what might have been.

Jockey Richard Hughes is certain Toronado would have won the Group 1 festure

But Sheikh Mohammed, whose Godolphin operation owns the triumphant Dawn Approach, reckons the victory simply confirmed his charge is the ‘best miler in the world’.

There is only one way to find out for sure, though – a rematch.

And Hannon has already expressed his desire for Toronado to take on his Jim Bolger-trained rival again.

That mouthwatering prospect could take place on the South Downs, with both talents pencilled in for the prestigious Sussex Stakes – the next major race over a mile on the European calendar.

The Group 1 showdown is the blue-riband event of the five-day Glorious Goodwood festival, which begins on July 30.

Frankel (2011), Canford Cliffs (2010) and Henrythenavigator (2008) have all moved on from success in the St James’s Palace Stakes to contest the Sussex Stakes in recent years.

And now Dawn Approach has got back on track – following his flop in the Derby at Epsom – all roads could lead to Goodwood.

Sussex-born Hannon, who trains in Wiltshire, said: ‘I think Toronado would have won. He’s a very good horse.

‘The winner has been concertinaed whereas we have been taken into the middle of the track but that’s racing and we are not dead yet.

‘He will have a break and he could go there (to Goodwood). But we will take Dawn Approach on again.’

Hughes, who is Hannon’s son-in-law and stable jockey, gave Dawn Approach credit for his fourth Group 1 success.

Winning jockey Kevin Manning reckoned his mount was always holding his rival off.

But Hughes remained adamant the problems his charge – a three-year-old son of High Chaparral – met in running cost him victory.

He said: ‘I would have won. I deliberately went around the outside to avoid the trouble.

‘I had him rolling and had to stop and get him rolling again but the winner is very brave.’

Bolger, meanwhile, chose to keep his cards close to his chest when weighing up the next port of call for his three-year-old son of New Approach.

He was simply delighted to see the colt back on song after he had trailed home last of 12 in the Derby.

He said: ‘He was fortunate to survive the bump he got. He did, though, and the rest is history.

‘He is a very tough and very hardy horse. I feel very happy. I knew he wouldn’t let me down.

‘I texted Simon (Crisford, Godolphin racing manager) saying be prepared for a shock (running Dawn Approach at Ascot).

‘I felt he would be up for it. Simon spoke to his Highness (Sheikh Mohammed) and said he would be very happy to go along to Ascot.

‘I always had faith in the horse and I knew whatever happened at Epsom was a one-off.

‘We will have to sit down and talk about things, so I’m not going to make any predictions at this stage – everything is open to consideration.’