Juddmonte International at York could be a defining moment in the career of Await The Dawn who tackles Group 1 company for the first time when he faces Midday and Twice Over on the Knavesmirse.
The Group 1, which fell to Rip Van Winkle last year, is the first chance for the Giants Causeway colt to land a Group 1 having been brought along slowly in his career so far.
That career has seen the horse land Group races in Leopardstown, Chester and most recently at Royal Ascot where he ran away with the Hardwicke Stakes under Ryan Moore.
With Moore on the sidelines for the time been Aidan O’Brien’s son Joseph has been given a huge opportunity to land his second Group 1 of the year having ridden Roderic O Connor to victory in the Irish 2000 Guineas.
If Await The Dawn is to land the Juddmonte then he will have to fend off two of the sponsors horses. Both Midday and Twice Over are owned by Juddmonte stables and trained by Henry Cecil and they will test the mettle of Await The Dawn.
Big race jockey Joseph O’Brien is confident of a bold showing “I haven’t ridden him in a race but I know him well at home. He’s a lovely big horse and you’d say he was very uncomplicated. His form looks good from Ascot, so hopefully he will run well.”
Midday, aside from Goldikova, is the most consistent high class mare in training. Having almost out pointed St Nicholas Abbey in the Coronation Cup at Epsom in June, Midday made history when she landed the Nassau Stakes for the third time in a row at Glorious Goodwood from Snow Fairy.
Twice Over, who finished runner up in this race last year, has been slightly disappointing this season. Having won on his first start in Dubai he ran a flat race in the Dubai World Cup. Returning to Europe he ran down the field in the Lockinge behind Canford Cliffs and the Prince Of Wales behind Rewilding.
To write him out of calculations would be foolish. He got back to winning ways when he took the Sky Bet York Stakes over course and distance in July and once again he should run a big race at one of his favourite courses.
However the vote goes to Await The Dawn. He is clearly highly thought of at Ballydoyle and his connections feel that he could run a huge race in the Breeders Cup Classic in America should he make it that far.
He has to step up again on his performance at Royal Ascot but with his pacesetter Windsor Palace in the field to make it an even tempo Await The Dawn can belatedly land the Group 1 that his talent and class merits.
Juddmonte International 3.40 York
Await The Dawn 4/5
Twice Over 5/1
Roderic O’Connor 20/1
Windsor Palace 100/1
odds: Paddy Power