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Last Updated: 18/10/13 12:44pm
Dawn Approach: In very good form
Jim Bolger is confident Dawn Approach can return to his best form in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot on Saturday.
The three-year-old had showed himself to be one of the best milers in Europe with victory in the 2000 Guineas and St James's Palace Stakes but he has been beaten in his last two starts.
Just touched off by Toronado in the Sussex Stakes at Glorious Goodwood, the Godolphin-owned colt was not himself when running below par in the Prix Jacques le Marois at Deauville in August.
"The ground is what it is, we'll just have to take it as it is," said the Coolcullen handler. "The softest he's run on is at Goodwood and he didn't run up to his best that day, but I put that more down to the track than the ground.
"Everyone knows he wasn't right in France and now we move on. He's been in very good form since then and I'm looking forward to seeing him run again."
Olympic Glory was second that day in Deauville and the rain has given his connections more reason for optimism.
Richard Hannon's charge has since finished second to runaway winner Maxios in the Prix du Moulin at Longchamp and the Everleigh trainer is hoping the fitting of blinkers will help him concentrate.
"Olympic Glory is a big, bull of a horse who seems better in the second half of the season and, while more rain might be a worry for some of the other principals, it would not bother our fellow who has shown he can act in the mud," the trainer told www.richardhannonracing.co.uk.
"There will be plenty of pace on with Prix du Moulin winner Maxios in the field, not to mention Dawn Approach and his pacemaker (Leitir Mor), and also Soft Falling Rain and his pacemaker (Burwaaz), so Olympic Glory will have to be on his A-game.
"He did not enjoy the hill or the turns at Longchamp last time, but this straight mile will suit him and the blinkers do seem to have made a difference.
"He needs a few wake-up calls to get him focussed, and the headgear might just do the trick, but we know we need a career-best performance if he is to pull it off."
Richard Hughes believes the application of blinkers is a good move.
"It is not that Olympic Glory is ungenuine - he is just lazy, and he was going to win nothing in the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere at Longchamp last year until he received one or two wake-up calls in the home straight," said the champion jockey.
"It was the same in the Greenham at Newbury this year and again in the Prix Jacques le Marois at Deauville, but the ability is there and the blinkers just seem to help him focus better. He will love the rain-softened ground and would definitely go there with a big chance."
Gordon Lord Byron was put firmly his place by Moonlight Cloud when going for back-to-back wins in the Prix de la Foret at Longchamp, but he had earlier been an impressive winner of the Betfred Sprint Cup at Haydock.
His trainer Tom Hogan reports the consistent and versatile five-year-old to be in tip-top shape.
"He's in very good form and he's drawn well (two). The ground could probably end up good to soft which would be ideal," the County Tipperary handler told At The Races.
"All the pace is on our side, so hopefully we will bring home some prize money. He ate and drank his way home from France and has been ticking over since. We don't do too much with him. He's had a good bit of racing, but he's very well."
John Gosden's two runners Elusive Kate and Gregorian will appreciate the easy ground conditions.
"Elusive Kate has got to the stage in life now that she doesn't like the going too quick," said the Newmarket trainer. "She used to relish it earlier in life, but now very much not so. She won the Rothschild on good to soft, so juice in the ground would suit her.
"It looks a very hot race as you would expect with the French coming over and depth in the field, but she's in good order. It was good to firm, fast ground at Newmarket in the Sun Chariot last time.
"As soon as William (Buick) asked her to stretch, she came back off the ground and hung left. We know she does that but doesn't seem to do it on easier ground.
"Gregorian will like the conditions. He saw a lot of daylight in the Prix Wildenstein on Arc weekend. He probably ran with the choke out and did a little bit too much. He seems in good order at home. It's his last run of the year and the ground will suit."Jonathan Pease is looking forward to saddling the sole French raider Maxios, who has solid claims on the strength of his convincing success at Longchamp last month.
"He's well and should be fine. He should like the ground. Hopefully he will run well," said the British-born Chantilly-based trainer.
Mike de Kock hopes Soft Falling Rain can show he is up to the task. The four-year-old lost his 100% record when beaten by Gregorian in the Hungerford Stakes at Newbury.
However, he got back on the winning track with a smooth win over Montiridge in the Joel Stakes at Newmarket.
"I think he's good enough to be competitive but against those top milers, it remains to be seen," the South African handler told At The Races.
"I don't like to get too involved with tactics. Paul Hanagan's the jockey, we've got to have faith in him and he must make the decisions pretty early from leaving the gates.
"Races aren't run on paper, you can have all the theories about pace but it's never that simple so I leave it to the jockeys."
The testing conditions persuaded connections of Top Notch Tonto to supplement their mudlover at the confirmation stage.
"We supplemented really because of the forecast, we've been promised lots of rain and they've been right so far," said trainer Brian Ellison.
"We know that he goes through bad ground and there are plenty of doubts about the others. They say Soft Falling Rain might not want it, Dawn Approach doesn't want it and O'Brien's (Declaration Of War) isn't running because of it.
"If we can finish in the first three, it makes it worth our while because you get £100,000 for third.
"If it was a mile at Redcar in the Listed race, he'd have won by five lengths and the Group Three at Haydock he won has worked out really well - Highland Knight won the other day, Montiridge has run well since and Tawhid has won. I just hope he runs well."