BILL ESDAILE PREVIEWS THE ST JAMES’S PALACE AND WINDSOR CASTLE STAKES
JIM Bolger has surprised us all a few times in the past and the master trainer revealed another corker last Wednesday when he came out and said that Dawn Approach was being considered for the St James’s Palace Stakes (3.45pm).
In the aftermath of the colt’s disastrous Investec Derby showing, Bolger indicated that his stable star wouldn’t be seen for a while. The fact that he has changed his mind in just two weeks indicates the horse must be showing something pretty special at home.
The problem is that Dawn Approach ran so badly out of character at Epsom that there has to be a worry that the experience will have left its mark. If he’s back to the form of his QIPCO 2000 Guineas win then he will take all the beating. However, that’s a pretty big if when he’s just 5/4 with Coral.
Aidan O’Brien’s MAGICIAN was odds-on a week ago, but the news of Dawn Approach’s participation combined with a minor setback have seen his odds drift alarmingly. He can now be backed at 5/2 with Paddy Power and that is too big for me to resist.
The son of Galileo is two from two this season and, although he didn’t beat anything at Chester, his Irish 2000 Guineas victory was very impressive. That performance marked him down as one of the best milers in Europe and he would have been a hot favourite had it not been for Dawn Approach.
I’m not too worried about the small knock he took last week, as O’Brien wouldn’t be running him if he wasn’t 100 per cent sure he was ready to do himself justice. To me, Magician has to be the call at 5/2 as there are far more doubts with the favourite than there are with him.
Toronado is another who needs to bounce back from a disappointing showing and, even though that is perfectly possible, I’m just not certain there were many excuses in the Guineas. Richard Hannon has reached for the tongue tie, which may work the oracle, but I’d favour the two Irish runners over him and will be siding with Magician in a match bet with Sporting Index.
If there is an each-way play in this race, then it may be the Ballydoyle second string, Mars. Another Galileo colt, he ran a strong race in the Derby, but connections have opted to drop him back in trip after he has reportedly shown some electric speed on the gallops.
Ryan Moore is in the saddle and I wouldn’t be surprised if they managed to sneak into the places at 12/1 with Coral.
Of the others, Dundonnell isn’t good enough at this level and I’m certain Glory Awaits flattered to deceive in finishing runner-up in the Guineas. George Vancouver has been disappointing this term while the French-trained Mshawish looks to have it all to do.
Bolger’s Leitir Mor is the only remaining contender that I think has the scope to outrun his odds. And he’ll need to seeing as he’s 100/1 with Coral.
He isn’t really up to this level and he’s being used as a pacemaker for Dawn Approach to make sure the farcical pace that ruined his Derby chances isn’t repeated. However, he’s not a bad horse and it’s always dangerous to give anyone a soft lead at this track.
He can’t win, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he finished in the front half of the nine-runner field.
MAGICIAN 3.45pm Ascot