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Stamina test for Dawn Approach
15:29 AEST Tue May 28 2013

Questions over the staying ability of favourite Dawn Approach in Saturday's Derby at Epsom have opened the door to optimism from at least two rival camps.

The Jim Bolger-trained Dawn Approach, a five-length winner of the 2000 Guineas, has a big question mark over his stamina on pedigree but the same cannot be said of Dante Stakes winner Libertarian and Epsom Classic Trial winner Mirsaale.

The Dante is usually viewed as the best trial in England but because the Elaine Burke-trained Libertarian lowered some lofty reputations at York, many were quick to write him off.

However, the trainer's husband and assistant, Karl Burke, feels he will be even better over an extra two furlongs (400m).

"He's crying out for a trip. He's not a mile and a quarter (2000m) horse," Burke told At The Races.

"People are telling me it was a moderate Dante but the second horse (Trading Leather) has been third in a Classic (Irish 2000 Guineas) and time will tell how good a race it was, but I can tell you this fellow will only improve for going further.

"Dawn Approach is a superb horse, trained by a genius, and he's the one to beat, but he's got more questions to answer as far as the trip goes than we have."

Mirsaale's handler James Tate is in just his third season as a trainer and recognises the task his colt faces.

"He's in good form but is obviously a big outsider," said Tate.

"There's only one Derby and the mile and a half at Epsom will suit him."

Dawn Approach will face a maximum of 14 opponents, including stable companion Trading Leather.

"Trading Leather has been left in the Derby as a precaution. If anything were to happen to Dawn Approach, I would run Trading Leather," Bolger said.

"Dawn Approach is continuing to please me and I am looking forward to running him in the Derby at Epsom Downs on Saturday.

"I thought Magician's performance on Saturday was very smart."

An easy winner of Saturday's Irish 2000 Guineas, the Aidan O'brien-trained Magician has been paid up as a late entry for the Derby.