Skip to main content
Part of complete coverage on

Classic redemption for Godolphin

By Alysen Miller, CNN
May 5, 2013 -- Updated 1519 GMT (2319 HKT)
Kevin Manning powers Dawn Approach to an emphatic victory in the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket.
Kevin Manning powers Dawn Approach to an emphatic victory in the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket.
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Dawn Approach wins 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket
  • Godolphin owned colt ridden by Kevin Manning
  • Dawn Approach trained in Ireland by Jim Bolger
  • Godolphin's Newmarket operation on lock down after doping scandal

(CNN) -- The curtain was raised on the English flat racing season in emphatic style as the Godolphin-owned Dawn Approach stormed to victory in the 2,000 Guineas, the first "classic" of the season, at Newmarket's Rowley Mile Saturday.

The powerful chestnut, ridden by Kevin Manning, took the lead inside the final furlong and never looked like tiring, running out a five-length winner from Glory Awaits.

It was a dominant performance in a race which has traditionally served as a bellwether for future greatness; a roll call of just the last few winners of this race includes no less personages as Camelot, Frankel, Makfi and Sea The Stars.

It was also the first step towards redemption for Sheikh Mohammed of Dubai.

Horses fly to Dubai in search of riches
6 star luxury for Qatar race horses

After a tumultuous fortnight for Godolphin, which saw Sheikh Mohammed's racing operation engulfed by a doping scandal the likes of which has never been seen in British racing, the Sheikh himself was in attendance to witness his famous royal blue colors flying high once more, albeit courtesy of a horse trained outside of his Godolphin power base.

Although he refused to be drawn on the scandal in his post-race remarks, Dubai's ruler was clearly relieved.

"I am very happy to come and to see a good horse winning the Guineas -- and I think he is a great horse," he said.

Sheikh Mohammed purchased this horse as a two-year-old from Irish owner/trainer Jim Bolger.

Indeed, the Sheikh is almost certainly thanking his lucky stars that he elected to keep Dawn Approach in training with Bolger in Ireland rather than move him into the care of Mahmood Al Zarooni, his disgraced former trainer who is currently serving an eight-year ban from the sport after he admitted to doping 15 of his horses with anabolic steroids, including 1,000 Guineas hopeful Certify.

That yard in Newmarket remains on lock down until every horse can be demonstrated to be clean and steroid free.

Superstar showdown

This race had been billed as a showdown between two unbeaten superstars, Dawn Approach and rival Toronado.

At least one horse had to lose his unbeaten record today, and it was Toronado who appeared to fade badly at the business end of the race, having been kept in contention up to that point by Richard Hughes.

Dawn Approach, meanwhile, though he took longer to get into his stride, appeared to promise much more as he flew past the winning post to the delight of a packed Rowley Mile crowd.

"He is a very special horse. He traveled very well throughout the race," winning rider Kevin Manning said.

Frankel ends career in dramatic style
Is Frankel the greatest racehorse ever?

Although considered the first leg of English racing's Triple Crown, it is by no means a certainty that a Guineas winner will go to contest the longer distance Epsom Derby, racing's 'blue riband' event and the second leg of the treble.

Bolger disclosed after the race that any decision about the Derby would be taken in consultation with the owner.

"Sheikh Mohammed said we would sleep on it and we will see from there," said Bolger. "He's a hardy horse and I'm sure he will come out of it well."

Despite this, Dawn Approach is widely expected to head to Epsom next month and has already moved into firm favoritism for the Derby, a race that has never been won by Godolphin.

What price the ultimate comeback for racing's most famous patron? For Sheikh Mohammed and Godolphin, the journey of one thousand miles may just have begun with eight furlongs in Suffolk.

1,000 Guineas

Hughes bounced back from Saturday's disappointment to win the first British Classic of his career in Sunday's 1,000 Guineas at Newmarket.

The 40-year-old Irishman, who was last season's champion jockey, came home first on Sky Lantern -- like Toronado, trained by his father in law Richard Hannon.

The champion two-year-old last year, Sky Lantern worked her way through the field to win in sunny conditions.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
Winning Post's Francesca Cumani is impressed by the all-round multitasking skills of Ireland's champion trainer Aidan O'Brien.
July 8, 2014 -- Updated 1325 GMT (2125 HKT)
Now in his 50s, one of the world's most successful jockeys explains why he gave up acting to return to the sport that nearly crippled him.
June 7, 2014 -- Updated 0853 GMT (1653 HKT)
 An infrared camera was used to create this image.) A horse and exercise rider head to the main track for morning training at Belmont Park on June 4, 2014 in Elmont, New York.
More people have walked on the moon than have won the fabled Triple Crown of U.S. horse racing. California Chrome is seeking to square that score.
June 5, 2014 -- Updated 1137 GMT (1937 HKT)
A long history of controversy made him the "enfant terrible" of horse racing, but veteran jockey Kieren Fallon is looking for redemption.
May 27, 2014 -- Updated 1131 GMT (1931 HKT)
Joel Rosario on Animal Kingdom competes to win the $10 million Dubai World Cup, the world's richest race, at Meydan race track in Dubai on March 30, 2013. The 2011 Kentucky Derby winner (11/2), trained by American Graham Motion and ridden by Rosario, beat home English raider Red Cadeaux by two lengths while another English-trained runner Planteur was third.
With owners ranging from presidents to sheikhs and queens, horse racing is known as the "Sport of Kings" for good reason.
May 12, 2014 -- Updated 1320 GMT (2120 HKT)
Buy for the right price and you could make millions. Get it wrong and it could be one of the most expensive mistakes you ever make.
May 5, 2014 -- Updated 1207 GMT (2007 HKT)
Mine That Bird, the 2009 winner of the Kentucky Derby, is having his incredible story told on the silver screen.
April 4, 2014 -- Updated 1035 GMT (1835 HKT)
Amateur jockey Sam Waley-Cohen is perhaps best known for helping to resurrect Prince William's relationship with Kate Middleton.
March 28, 2014 -- Updated 1215 GMT (2015 HKT)
Meydan Entrance
The $10 million Dubai World Cup takes place at the Meydan Racecourse, which is a suitable setting for the world's richest horse racing day.
March 28, 2014 -- Updated 1650 GMT (0050 HKT)
He's created some of the world's biggest shows, so it's only fitting Andrew Lloyd Webber will be in the limelight on Dubai's big-money day.
March 26, 2014 -- Updated 1011 GMT (1811 HKT)
The world's richest horse race is the highlight of Dubai's social calendar, attracting 60,000 fans from around the globe.
March 20, 2014 -- Updated 1203 GMT (2003 HKT)
Former champion jockey Richard Dunwoody has gone from riding winners to traveling the world in his second career as a photographer.
ADVERTISEMENT