Aidan O’Brien has been dreaming about the G1 Breeders’ Cup Classic for Await The Dawn (4c Giant’s Causeway-Valentine Band, by Dixieland Band) and that dream is alive and kicking after the four-year-old demolished his rivals to take the G2 Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot on Saturday.
The Ballydoyle-trained colt’s brilliant sire, Giant’s Causeway, was an agonisingly unlucky runner-up in the 2000 Breeders’ Cup Classic and Await The Dawn could attempt to make amends in the Stateside championship on dirt at Churchill Downs on the first Saturday in November.
O’Brien revealed: “The plan was to come here first and then we go home and talk. He has a lot of options. We always dreamt that he could be a Breeders’ Cup Classic horse – that was always the dream about him. We will go gently and go home and see where he goes next.”
The imposing colt was sent off a warm 4/6 favourite to land Saturday’s mile and half contest after impressively annexing the 10-furlong Huxley Stakes at Chester in May. The issue was never in doubt as Ryan Moore kicked for home at the top of the Ascot straight and powered past runner-up Harris Tweed for a three-length triumph.
O’Brien continued: “I would say that there is no question that he has won despite the ground. He is a daisy cutter in how he moves his legs across the ground and it’s the same old story – it’s his class.
“He is so low moving – for him to be able to do those things on that ground. I don’t know if Ryan even hit him. He was always a horse that had a jet engine. He was a big baby but the engine was always very big. He’s like his dad, he is a big fellow, a big rangy horse.
“We were hoping that he had so much class that he would get the mile and a half and he is a very serious horse.
“We were always dreaming of the Breeders’ Cup Classic but it’s a long way away. Ryan rode him at Chester and he loved him. The race has always been the dream and we were thinking that it would be something to look at for the end of the year. The dream is still alive.”
O’Brien has an abundance of talent with which to go to war this season, with Await The Dawn joining G1 Coronation Cup hero St Nicholas Abbey (4c Montjeu-Leaping Water, by Sure Blade) and multiple G1 winner So You Think (5h High Chaparral-Triassic, by Tights) among an elite echelon of middle distance performers.
As to plans for his trio, O’Brien said: “It’s very hard to think about where to go. We were thinking after Epsom with St Nicholas Abbey that he could be coming back here for the King George. So You Think ran here the other day so we have to decide where to go with him next too, whether he should go to the Eclipse or whether he should go somewhere else.”
O’Brien and Moore were combining for a rapid-fire near 5/1 double in the first two races of the afternoon, having taken the Chesham Stakes with 5/2 favourite Maybe (2f Galileo-Sumora, by Danehill).
Moore said of Await The Dawn: “He had form on soft ground as a young horse but he has got bigger, stronger and a heavier horse – it’s probably harder for him to get himself out of the ground. He has won in spite of the ground and he has a lot of quality. He travelled very well and just does enough in his races.”
William Haggas, trainer of second-placed Harris Tweed, was hugely impressed with Await The Dawn. “I think the winner is a star and will turn out to be a multi Group 1 winner and we have given him a race so I couldn’t be more thrilled,” said Haggas.