Royal Ascot: Dawn burns bright again after sun sets on Kingdom

2,000 Guineas winner redeems reputation after Derby in titanic battle with Toronado

Royal Ascot

Never mind all the millinery and manners. It's a jungle out there. With thoroughbreds, the only question is whether their scalding brilliance will be turned upon the rest of the herd – or inwards. Today, two champions explored the perilous margin of their instincts. One took flight, and burnt himself out in a fretful, wild-eyed stampede. Another, guilty of a similar panic only 17 days previously, this time elected to stand and fight.

Many in the gorgeous throng of spectators had anticipated little difference between the procession of royal carriages, before racing, and that of Animal Kingdom over the same turf just a few minutes later. In the event, the globetrotting American champion was himself consumed in the Queen Anne Stakes by the very energies that had been expected to wither his indigenous rivals.

So soon after the implosion of Dawn Approach at Epsom, here was another reminder of the dark weir that can pull these animals under the fount of their genetic brilliance. For a horse who has spent his whole life wheeling round bends, the rails narrowing upon a distant horizon must have represented to his animal imaginings some portentous, choking constriction. His jockey could find no sanctuary among the pack, and Animal Kingdom tossed his head violently against all restraint. Like Dawn Approach in the Derby, he was spent by halfway. He trailed in 11th of 13 behind Declaration Of War – a dispiriting end to a career that had dismantled so many boundaries. "He just didn't relax," John Velazquez shrugged. "When I let him down, he gave me no run at all."

Graham Motion, his trainer, brought a suitably stiff upper lip back to his native land. "I am sorry it didn't work out," he said. "It's disappointing for everybody. There was such a good reception for him. But he was keen early, and Johnny had to fight him a little bit, and he didn't have any cover. When you are out in the open like that, it's a different ball game. The [outside] draw made it awkward. But the experience has been tremendous, and if I ever had the opportunity to do it again, I would – absolutely."

Motion deserved better, for the adventure he has always shown with the first Kentucky Derby winner to run here since before the Second World War. As it is, his notoriously insular professional peers will find enough in his fate here to stifle the self-doubt he might have raised by plundering the world's biggest purse in Dubai in March.

Yet barely an hour later Dawn Approach himself had reiterated the rewards that can only be won by embracing risk. The colt who blew out at Epsom this time harnessed the cutting edge of his nervous energy to a courage that can be counted no less a hallmark of the breed. He had started hot favourite for the Derby on account of his brilliant success in the 2,000 Guineas. But he achieved redemption, back over a mile in the St James's Palace Stakes, by the sheer, brutish depth of his physical reserves.

Only his trainer, Jim Bolger, perhaps, would have matched the skill and nerve to bring Dawn Approach back from Ireland, so soon after the Derby debacle. His best horses have always been defined by their resilience, and Dawn Approach proved himself hewn from the same quarry – even after again failing to settle in the early stages – once the gloves came off in the straight. Magician, perhaps reacting to the setback that had put his participation in jeopardy, veered into Dawn Approach, who in turn barged Toronado even as that colt began to challenge down the outside.

The nuances of that impact would prove critical, as Toronado regrouped just too late to reel in Dawn Approach, who held out by a short-head, the pair clear of Mars in third. The stewards held an inquiry, but the author – and beneficiary – of the interference was able to transfer all blame to Magician, who trailed in last.

However baffling his decision to run this colt in the livery of Godolphin, Sheikh Mohammed was plainly relieved by this latest dividend from his investment in Bolger's acuity. "The biggest risk is not taking any risk," the sheikh declared, indulging his weakness for axiom. But while the Derby had been his suggestion, this flourish very much bore the imprint of Bolger. Here is a trainer unaccustomed to being outsmarted, and many felt the slow pace at Epsom had been artfully calculated by his rivals to ignite any hidden tinderbox in Dawn Approach.

In turn, Bolger now gave credit to the man who partners the colt at home. "Pat O'Donovan was very brave," he said. "Because he was happy to ride the horse out in a hackamore [bridle] for a week after Epsom, which is a bit like driving without brakes. That was the winning of today's race. It's the nature of sport to take chances. Sometimes they work, and sometimes they don't."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
life
Arts and Entertainment
Cold case: Aaron McCusker and Christopher Eccleston in ‘Fortitude’
tvReview: Sky Atlantic's ambitious new series Fortitude has begun with a feature-length special
Voices
Three people wearing masks depicting Ed Miliband, David Cameron and Nick Clegg
voicesPolitics is in the gutter – but there is an alternative, says Nigel Farage
Voices
The veterans Mark Hayward, Hugh Thompson and Sean Staines (back) with Grayson Perry (front left) and Evgeny Lebedev
charity appealMaverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
News
i100
News
people
Sport
Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho
footballThe more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Life and Style
Vote green: Benoit Berenger at The Duke of Cambridge in London's Islington
food + drinkBanishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turn over a new leaf
News
Joel Grey (left) poses next to a poster featuring his character in the film
peopleActor Joel Grey comes out at 82
News
i100
News
business
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Marketing & Sales Manager

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A reputable organisation within the leisure i...

Tradewind Recruitment: Science Teacher

£90 - £140 per day: Tradewind Recruitment: I am currently working in partnersh...

Recruitment Genius: Doctors - Dubai - High "Tax Free" Earnings

£96000 - £200000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Looking for a better earning p...

Recruitment Genius: PHP Developer

£32000 - £36000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A rapidly expanding company in ...

Day In a Page

Isis hostage crisis: The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power

Isis hostage crisis

The prisoner swap has only one purpose for the militants - recognition its Islamic State exists and that foreign nations acknowledge its power, says Robert Fisk
Missing salvage expert who found $50m of sunken treasure before disappearing, tracked down at last

The runaway buccaneers and the ship full of gold

Salvage expert Tommy Thompson found sunken treasure worth millions. Then he vanished... until now
Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Homeless Veterans appeal: ‘If you’re hard on the world you are hard on yourself’

Maverick artist Grayson Perry backs our campaign
Assisted Dying Bill: I want to be able to decide about my own death - I want to have control of my life

Assisted Dying Bill: 'I want control of my life'

This week the Assisted Dying Bill is debated in the Lords. Virginia Ironside, who has already made plans for her own self-deliverance, argues that it's time we allowed people a humane, compassionate death
Move over, kale - cabbage is the new rising star

Cabbage is king again

Sophie Morris banishes thoughts of soggy school dinners and turns over a new leaf
11 best winter skin treats

Give your moisturiser a helping hand: 11 best winter skin treats

Get an extra boost of nourishment from one of these hard-working products
Paul Scholes column: The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him

Paul Scholes column

The more Jose Mourinho attempts to influence match officials, the more they are likely to ignore him
Frank Warren column: No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans

Frank Warren's Ringside

No cigar, but pots of money: here come the Cubans
Isis hostage crisis: Militant group stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

Isis stands strong as its numerous enemies fail to find a common plan to defeat it

The jihadis are being squeezed militarily and economically, but there is no sign of an implosion, says Patrick Cockburn
Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action

Virtual reality: Seeing is believing

Virtual reality thrusts viewers into the frontline of global events - and puts film-goers at the heart of the action
Homeless Veterans appeal: MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’

Homeless Veterans appeal

MP says Coalition ‘not doing enough’ to help
Larry David, Steve Coogan and other comedians share stories of depression in new documentary

Comedians share stories of depression

The director of the new documentary, Kevin Pollak, tells Jessica Barrett how he got them to talk
Has The Archers lost the plot with it's spicy storylines?

Has The Archers lost the plot?

A growing number of listeners are voicing their discontent over the rural soap's spicy storylines; so loudly that even the BBC's director-general seems worried, says Simon Kelner
English Heritage adds 14 post-war office buildings to its protected lists

14 office buildings added to protected lists

Christopher Beanland explores the underrated appeal of these palaces of pen-pushing
Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Human skull discovery in Israel proves humans lived side-by-side with Neanderthals

Scientists unearthed the cranial fragments from Manot Cave in West Galilee