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Dawn Approach and Magician set to lock horns with Toronado waiting in the wings

16 Jun 2013

Magician is not yet a certain runner after the bruising he suffered on Thursday, but the indications are that he will take on Dawn Approach and Toronado in what should be a momentous showdown in the St James's Palace Stakes.

Can Toronado, seen here winning the Craven Stakes in April, pose a threat to the two Guineas stars in the St James’s Palace Stakes? Image courtesy of racingfotos.com.

As long as Magician makes the line-up after the bruising he sustained on Thursday, nine runners are set to go to post for what promises to be an electrifying St James’s Palace Stakes, race three on the opening day of Royal Ascot and race four in the Mile division of the QIPCO British Champions Series.

This could be the race of the meeting with the brilliant winner of the QIPCO 2000 Guineas, the Jim Bolger-trained Dawn Approach, taking on the equally brilliant winner of the Irish version, Magician, trained by Aidan O’Brien.

If the former hadn’t run in the Investec Derby, where he pulled too hard and failed to stay the mile and a half trip, he would be a very short-priced favourite for this mile contest, despite Magician’s exploits this year.

That Derby flop, just over two weeks ago, tempers confidence, but if he’s back to peak form – which his trainer and jockey believe he is – he will surely prove very hard to beat.

Magician has looked top class in winning the Dee Stakes at Chester and the Irish Guineas by an easy 3 1/2 lengths, but his form is not as strong as Dawn Approach’s and it’s worth noting that he was not considered to be one of the Aidan O’Brien stable stars earlier in the season. 

O’Brien has had success with his second and third choices in this race in the past, but it’s hard to see Mars (who stayed on so well in the Derby after being hampered) being good enough over this trip, while George Vancouver looks outclassed.

Toronado, trained by Richard Hannon, looks the chief threat to the big two.

He was 7½ lengths behind Dawn Approach in the QIPCO 2000 Guineas, but there were excuses.

He had a breathing problem after displacing his palate and will now run with a tongue tie.

Unbeaten until the Guineas, he’s been working really well and his jockey, Richard Hughes, said: “We know he wasn’t at his best in the Guineas, but I know how good he is.

"He’s the most beautiful mover you will ever ride.”

Dundonnell is also worthy of a mention after getting back on the winning trail at Newmarket last time following his Craven Stakes disappointment.

He must have a chance of being placed.

Favourites have a particularly good record in this race, especially in recent years with nine of the last 14 winning, pointing strongly to Dawn Approach to whom Godolphin will be looking for another boost following the injury to Farhh which has kept him away from Royal Ascot.