GODOLPHIN-OWNED Dawn Approach began rebuilding his reputation yesterday with victory at the St James’s Palace Stakes on the opening day of Royal Ascot, putting his recent defeat at the Derby firmly behind him.
Jim Bolger’s horse was strong favourite to repeat his 2000 Guineas triumph at Epsom 17 days ago, but finished last.
However, the three-year-old repaid his trainer’s faith to hold off a strong challenge from Toronado, winning by a nose under jockey Kevin Manning, following a stewards’ inquiry into an earlier collision.
The win handed Godolphin a welcome lift, following recent revelations that former trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni had been swept up in a doping scandal, a fact not lost on racing manager Simon Crisford.
“It is massively important and massively important to Sheikh Mohammed [owner] and Godolphin,” he said. “This is the biggest race of the whole week and it matters.
“It’s a great day in Godolphin’s history.”
Earlier, Animal Kingdom, odds-on favourite in the Queen Anne Stakes, finished a deeply disappointing 11th in a field of 13.
The American colt was bidding to become the first horse to secure a Group One victory on three different track surfaces, but never looked in the running as Declaration of War romped home.
In the day’s other Group One race, Sole Power triumphed in the King’s Stand Stakes at the expense of hot favourite Shea Shea, where a photo finish was required.