Those were the words of Sheikh Mohammed after his Dawn Approach bounced back to winning form to land the St James’s Palace Stakes. The race was, as the Sheikh summed up: “a belter.” Watch it in full below.
Dawn Approach is trained by Irishman Jim Bolger who made an excellent late decision to enter Dawn Approach into this race. It came so soon after a disappointing outing in the Epsom Derby. The perfect record was blemished that day but Bolger was keen to get Dawn Approach back racing over his preferred distance of one mile as quickly as possible.
And Bolger was far from the only Irishman whose eyes were smiling on day 1 of the Royal Ascot meeting.
The team from Ballydoyle trained Declaration of War to win the Queen Anne Stakes and War Command to win the Coventry Stakes. Both at double figure prices. A mighty double for trainer Aiden O’Brien.
And another Irishman who struck with a double was veteran jockey Johnny Murtagh. He rode a 152-1 double with wins on Sole Power in the King’s Stand Stakes and Extortionist in the last race of the day, the Windsor Castle Stakes.
Johnny Murtagh, who is now also a trainer in his own right, said: “Ascot is a great place to be. I was told I’ve now ridden 40 winners here and that’s something to be proud of. It’s a great achievement but if you’re not performing at your best here you shouldn’t be in the game.”