10/19/2007 11:00PM

New Approach wins battle of unbeatens

EmailNew Approach completed his season Saturday with a hard-fought victory in the Group 1, $511,000 Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket that is sure to earn him a juvenile championship, as he maintained his perfect record at the expense of the previously unbeaten Fast Company and Raven's Pass.

A half-hour later, Literato fulfilled the high hopes of his French trainer, Jean-Claude Rouget, by winning the Group 1, $818,000 Champion Stakes.

The Dewhurst provided a classic case of deja vu as New Approach was duplicating the 2006 victory of his former Jim Bolger-trained stablemate Teofilo, last year's European 2-year-old champ who failed to make it back to the races this season.

A son of the accomplished young sire Galileo, New Approach cast off his usual front-running tactics, settling in fourth under Kevin Manning. He edged into the lead at the eighth pole but had to get down to some serious running when challenged by Fast Company. The 3-2 favorite, New Approach ultimately prevailed by a half-length, getting the straight seven furlongs on good to soft ground in 1:25.29. New Approach had previously won the Group 3 Tyros, Group 2 Futurity, and Group 1 National stakes. He is the current favorite for next year's 2000 Guineas, but Bolger said he thinks he will be at his best going 1 1/2 miles and has both the Epsom and Irish derbies planned as his major spring objectives.

Championship honors cannot be denied New Approach as in Fast Company he was beating the winner of the Group 3 Acomb Stakes. Raven's Pass, who came home 2 1/2 lengths behind Fast Company in third, had won the Group 3 Solario Stakes by seven lengths. Fourth-place Rio de la Plata was the winner of the Group 1 Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere, while McCartney, who had won the Group 2 Champagne Stakes, finished seventh. Dark Angel paid Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf hopeful Strike the Deal no compliments in finishing ninth of 10. Dark Angel had previously beaten Strike the Deal by a neck in the six-furlong, Group 2 Mill Reef Stakes. In the Dewhurst, he pressed the early pace before weakening at the quarter pole, clearly unable to stay seven furlongs.

Literato gave France its second straight victory in the Champion Stakes as he outdueled Eagle Mountain by a short head after a scintillating duel with the Aidan O'Brien trainee. Ridden by Christophe Lemaire, who won last year's Champion aboard Pride, the 3-year-old Literato covered the straight 10 furlongs in 2:04.24 as another French raider, recent Man o' War winner Doctor Dino, came from last of 12 to take third, three lengths behind Eagle Mountain. Creachadoir plugged on for fourth but the 2-1 favorite, Notnowcato, never got involved in finishing sixth, nine lengths behind the winner.

The 7-2 Literato capped Rouget's well-planned campaign in his first start against older horses. After winning the Group 3 Prix La Force in April, he finished second to Lawman in the French Derby before winning a pair of 1 1/4-mile races, the Group 2 Prix Guillaume d'Ornano and the Group 3 Prix du Prince d'Orange. Literato could be spending quite a bit of time in England and Ireland next year as there is only one Group 1 race run at his favorite distance in France, that being the 1 5/16-mile Prix Ganay at Longchamp in late April.