DARLEY RELEASE – He was New Approach’s first runner and first winner. And he went on to be his first Stakes winner, Group winner, G1 winner, Champion and first Classic winner, too. Now Dawn Approach will be the first son of the Derby winner to retire to stud: having followed in his father’s hoofprints when winning Championship honours as a juvenile, he will be joining his sire on the Darley roster, standing at Darley’s Kildangan Stud in 2014.
His was a career of firsts. In March, 2011, Dawn Approach debuted in the very first race on the Irish juvenile calendar, over five furlongs at the Curragh: a seven-race winning streak had begun that extended for more than a year. Dawn Approach hit the big time when accounting for Olympic Glory in the G2 Coventry Stakes. He went on to win the G1 National Stakes and the G1 Dewhurst Stakes in commanding fashion, victories which brought him recognition as the best two-year-old in the northern hemisphere.
Dawn Approach was even more impressive on his first start at three, taking the G1 2,000 Guineas by five lengths and in a time faster than Frankel, who ran on similar good-to-firm turf. No horse had won Britain’s traditional top two-year-old targets, the Coventry and Dewhurst, and then followed up in the Guineas since Rock Sand back in 1903 – Mill Reef coming closest 42 years ago. Rock Sand went on to take the Derby and, after a late change of heart, that became Dawn Approach’s next race too. It wasn’t to be: at Epsom, his unbeaten record came unstuck as he raced impetuously on the outside, ruining his chance long before stamina came into play.
The mighty chestnut reappeared in the G1 St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot. In an eventful running – he was dramatically knocked sideways when launching a challenge down the stands’ side – he bested Toronado in a tremendous battle to the line (pictured). A magnificent victory, emulating Frankel’s G1 hat-trick of Dewhurst, 2,000 Guineas and St James’s Palace – except, on ground identically described, Dawn Approach was faster in all three races. He followed that with a close second to Toronado in the G1 Sussex Stakes after dashing for the line fully three furlongs out, then getting caught, and he was fourth in the QE II Stakes on Saturday.
Farhh, who returned from a five-month absence to win a stirring renewal of the G1 Champion Stakes on Saturday, has also been retired to stud. The brilliant five-year-old, who won five of his ten races and was never out of the first three, is the best ever by his sire Pivotal. He will stand at Sheikh Mohammed’s Dalham Hall Stud, where he was bred.
Farhh won first time out at two, when taking a maiden at Newmarket in July by an eased-down six lengths. He then won his only start at three – a hot mile handicap against seasoned talents, also readily. The following spring he was even more impressive, running clean away with the ever-competitive Thirsk Hunt Cup – again by six lengths.
After that Farhh only ever competed in G1 races. In a busy four-year-old season, he was an unlucky third in the G1 Prince Of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot, and was then narrowly outstayed by Nathaniel up the Sandown hill in the G1 Eclipse Stakes just 18 days later. Within the month, he chased home Frankel in the G1 Sussex Stakes over a mile. Three weeks later he again ran second to the highest-rated horse of all time in the G1 Juddmonte International, before going down by a rapidly-diminishing head to Moonlight Cloud in the G1 Prix du Moulin. That was Farhh’s fifth game effort against world-class opponents in championship G1 races inside three months, in which he beat the likes of St Nicholas Abbey, Cityscape, Monterosso, Twice Over, Reliable Man and Planteur.
A profoundly imposing four-length victory in the G1 Lockinge Stakes – with Declaration Of War among those well beaten – was Farhh’s only previous start as a five-year-old. Even before his win over Cirrus des Aigles and Ruler Of The World at Ascot, Farhh had a lofty Timeform rating of 132, making him the best older horse in Europe.
The strongly-made son of Pivotal, also sire of the successful stallion Kyllachy, is the first foal of the dual G1 winning Gonbarda, who beat older colts in the Preis von Europa and Deutschland-Preis as a three-year-old. Theirs is a typically tough and prolific German Classic family: his third dam won the German 1,000 Guineas and is also grandam of Irish Derby winner and Epsom Derby runner-up Fame And Glory.
Sam Bullard, Darley’s Director of Stallions, said, ‘We are most fortunate to be able to welcome Dawn Approach to the Darley roster. He has so much in common with his sire – the same trainer, jockey, and many of the same racing attributes, and indeed victories. He has the look of New Approach too, being a muscular, powerful colt, and he’s rated 132 – the very same rating given to his sire.”
Bullard continued, “Farhh’s win in the Champion Stakes was a fitting finale to a brilliant career. He was an outstanding racehorse, and was unfortunate to race in the same era as the great Frankel, and he has the physique and pedigree to make a significant contribution to the breed. He was remarkably resilient and his run of top class efforts in so many major races as a four-year-old is also indicative of a horse who loved to compete. He’s a really exciting prospect and we are thrilled to be standing him back where he was bred.”
Fees for Dawn Approach and Farhh will be set at a later date.