Clear Millennium passage for Dawn

4 min read

by Bren O'Brien

A favourable barrier draw has seen Dawn Passage (Dawn Approach {Ire}) consolidate favouritism for Saturday's inaugural running of the $2m Inglis Millennium at Warwick Farm and co-trainer Adrian Bott believes the colt has improved from his impressive debut win.

Dawn Passage will jump from barrier seven in the 1200m race with his main rival, Chris Waller's colt Accession (Brazen Beau), having to overcome barrier 14.

There were 15 acceptors for the Inglis Millennium, run for the first time at Warwick Farm as part of the Inglis Millennium Day, which also feature the $1m Inglis Sprint for 3-year-olds as well as the G2 Yarraman Park Breeders' Classic and the G3 Eskimo Prince S.

Dawn Passage romped to a 3.3l debut win at Randwick on Australia Day for Bott and Gai Waterhouse, announcing himself as a serious contender for the 2-year-old features.

And in an ominous sign for rivals, Bott feels like the colt has taken substantial improvement from that first hitout.

"He'd obviously shown us plenty of potential at home and in his trials. This is the race we really wanted to get him to," Bott told Sky Thoroughbred Central.

"I was a little bit taken by how much authority he won with." - Co-trainer, Adrian Bott

"We only had one chance to qualify him and he needed to be winning or running second to get in the field. We were confident in his ability to get into this race."

While Bott had a good read on Dawn Passage ahead of his debut, he was surprised by the manner of the victory as he surged home and ran away from his rivals.

"I was a little bit taken by how much authority he won with, but I guess the way the race panned out there was quite a lot of speed and Blake (Shinn) was able to let the race unfold in front of him," he said.

"It was a great win and he's come off that in great shape and stretching out to the 1200m is more to his liking."

Accession's barrier to victory

The 1200m should also suit Accession, who has progressed from a 1000m win in the Inglis Nursery to a 1100m win at Rosehill on January 19, where he streeted clear to win by 4.3l.

Jockey Hugh Bowman admitted he may have his work cut out from a wide barrier but has been impressed with the improvement he has seen from Accession in the past week.

"I rode him this morning and I am very encouraged by the way he has progressed since that last gallop." - Hugh Bowman

"I would have preferred to have drawn midfield. He's a horse who tends to settle midfield and further back, so the draw isn’t the end of the world. Whatever wins the race will need some luck in running at some stage and there is no exception there for Accession," he said.

"I rode him this morning and I am very encouraged by the way he has progressed since that last gallop. He's a horse that is ticking over very well. He's very fresh and happy within himself, which is ideal going into a signature race like this."

Hugh Bowman

Filly ready to atone

Bott and Waterhouse also have the filly Espaaniyah (I Am Invincible) in the race and she has drawn alongside her stablemate in barrier 6.

An impressive winner in the Inglis Banner at Moonee Valley on debut, she resumed with a well-beaten eighth, beaten seven lengths by Dawn Passage in that race at Randwick.

While admitting that run was below expectations, Bott feels that Espaaniyah is ready to put that behind her on Saturday.

"She really had to kick up and hold a position and that was probably to her detriment in that she wasn't quite ready for that hard of a run first up. I think we’ve seen the improvement that we needed to from her. We are confident to bring her back. She's one that can certainly bounce back," he said.

Bott confirmed Espaaniyah remains on a path to next month's G1 Golden Slipper S.

The barrier draw for the $1m Inglis Sprint was also held with last year's G1 Golden Slipper S. winner Estijaab (Snitzel) coming up with barrier 11 in the 18-horse field.

She is equal favourite with ultra-consistent filly Fiesta (I Am invincible) who drew barrier 6.

Ron Quinton's progressive colt Royal Celebration (Excelebration {Ire}) is on the third line of betting after drawing perfectly in barrier 4.