Godolphin Racing's Dawn Approach battled Toronado in the closing stages of the St. James's Palace Stakes and narrowly won in a thrilling finish June 18 at Royal Ascot.
Rebounding from the loss of his unbeaten record when pulling hard and failing to stay in the 1 ½-mile Investec Epsom Derby last time out, the QIPCO Two Thousand Guineas winner showed his superiority when back to a mile, gamely digging in to prevail by a short head from tenacious Toronado in the St. James's Palace.
Keen to run again early, Dawn Approach found some trouble in the straight as did Toronado when Glory Awaits, a front-runner with Leitir Mor, drifted left, but the pair drew clear, each quickening smartly in a duel to the finish line.
Ridden by Kevin Manning, Dawn Approach covered the distance in 1:39.23 as the 5-4 favorite in the nine-horse field for his eighth win in nine career starts.
Mars finished best of the rest, 2 ¾ lengths back in third. His stablemate Magician, the 5-2 second favorite, was also caught up in the traffic trouble and was eased out of the running, finishing last.
"He's [Dawn Approach] very tough and hard, he was fortunate to survive the bump, and the rest is history. I knew he wouldn't let me down," trainer Jim Bolger told Racing Post about Dawn Approach.
Trainer Richard Hannon was equally pleased with Toronado, who was starting for the first time since losing his own unbeaten record when fourth behind Dawn Approach in the Guineas in which he displaced his soft palate.
"He was unlucky," Hannon told Racing Post. "At least he's back. He's a very good horse, there's no doubt about it.
"It's a shame there was interference, otherwise I think we'd have got it. We were knocked into the middle of the track, but it wasn't the winner's fault. But that's racing and we are not dead yet."
Dawn Approach won all six starts of 2012 and was honored with the Cartier Award as Europe's top juvenile male. He was also highweighted in England and Ireland that year. The titles were secured by back-to-back wins in the Goffs Vincent O'Brien National Stakes Sept. 15 at the Curragh and Dubai Dewhurst Stakes Oct. 13 at Newmarket. He won the Guineas by five lengths over Glory Awaits in his season debut before a disappointing run in the Derby.
From the first crop of Darley sire New Approach, Dawn Approach is out of the Phone Trick mare Hymn of the Dawn, a half sister to Grade 1-placed Galantas from the family of U.S. grade I winner Miss Oceana and French Group 1 winner Kitwood.