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RECORD-BREAKING AL NAAMAH MAKES WINNING DEBUT

Being the most expensive yearling to have gone through a ring in Europe at 5,000,000gns, much was to be expected of Al Naamah (Galileo) on her first start. The full-sister to the Gr.1 Oaks winner Was did not disappoint, making a winning debut at Chantilly.

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BIG EVENTS, TODAY AND TOMORROW

The rise of international racing in all corners of the world, with big money, big media and big stars flashing over new horizons, could lead to the reinvention of a “World Series Of Racing” concept, as well as focused cross promotion of championship events.

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ALLEZ LES BLEUS

gai waterhouse
gai waterhouse

Gai Waterhouse / Maggie Alderson (p)

AUSSIES IN FRANCE

mick goss
mick goss

Mick Goss

Summerhill CEOAbout sixteen years ago, I received a plaintive phonecall from a young man seeking a position on a stud farm. That’s not unusual. The call was strange though, because it came from a French-speaking person seeking employment in an English-speaking world, and it was remarkable for the fact that here was a young man qualified as both an accountant and a solicitor, looking for work at the beginning of his career in the bloodstock world, and he was happy to work for nothing. My immediate thought was that he was either mad or deeply dedicated to the idea of working with horses, and the longer the conversation endured, the more convinced I was that it was the latter. Laurent Benoit arrived in the dead of the 1997 winter for a six month stint in our broodmare division, and it was evident within a couple of months that at his price, he constituted a bargain. So much so that we quickly put him on some sort of subsistence allowance. Buoyed by this, he offered to supplement his services by assisting in the dark hours before work starts in the normal world, with the riding out of the Ready To Run string, at which he proved to be just as adept. We were not alone in our disappointment at his departure at the end of the season: there were more than a few tender young hearts that lamented his leaving, and longed for the fact that one day, “the piper” may return.

A year later, I got the call reminding me that the first time we’d got him “cheap”, that he was now offering his services at a price, but if necessary, he would repeat his toil for the love of it all. We didn’t need any convincing and took him on, this time for an extended stay of more than a year, by which time he was shaping up as a potential CEO of the business. Benoit had other ideas: his head and his training said “law or accounting”, his heart said “horses”, and he followed his heart, headlong into the bloodstock agency business. This coincided with the maturity and the winding up of thirty-seven partnerships we had entered into during the heady tax-driven days of the plantations, the aeroplane and the film schemes, which meant the dispersal of the vast bulk of the broodmare stock on Summerhill. It so happened that we were part-owners at the time of an apparently talented two-year-old daughter of Golden Thatch, who’d won her debut race in good style. It wasn’t so much the fact that she’d won, it was the way she’d won that attracted the attention of a bevy of investors, and the dispersal sale paralleled with the emergence in her pedigree of a new star in the Australian stallion firmament, Danehill.

The sense of enterprise that has made Laurent Benoit one of the world’s most successful bloodstockers was already burning inside him, and he was quick to assemble a string of international players to put their hands up for Lady Broadhurst when she entered the tented arena in our stallion paddocks. On the other side of the contest, we’d aroused the interest of John Messara, whose Arrowfield Stud was the home of Danehill, and needed little more to get him into the fray. In the end, the French connection prevailed, the filly hammered down to a partnership of Lady Chrissy O’Reilly and Charl Henri de Moussac’s Haras du Mezeray at R1million, a record for a horse in training that was to endure for more than a decade. In the event, Broadhurst Agency was born, its early fame enhanced when Lady Broadhurst took out her next five in a row, two of which at Group level. Suddenly, there was international and local interest at around R3million, and for all intents and purposes, Benoit’s new career was on fire.

It’s always been a source of pride to us to see graduates of Summerhill make a success of their lives in other realms, none more so than this young man whom I’ve seen more than a few times occupying lifts with the Coolmore team, and on other occasions, sharing his counsel with the modern day “Napoleon”, Andre Fabre. Small wonder then that M. Benoit is at the centre of the “Aussies in France” initiative announced in the international press Wednesday, a racing club whose interests in Australia will be placed in the charge of that country’s favourite racing daughter, Gai Waterhouse.

The Aussies In France syndicate was originally launched by the Broadhurst Agency with the support of ARQANA Racing Club to promote Australian ownership of racehorses in France under the care of trainer Alain de Royer Dupre. The additional goal of the syndicate is to simultaneously shape future G1 Melbourne Cup prospects who could race with distinction in Australia after their careers in France.

“We are truly delighted and honored to welcome Gai Waterhouse at the heart of our syndicate,” said Benoit. “Her record is particularly eloquent and the recent performances of Fiorente (Ire) in the G1 Melbourne Cup last year and in the G1 Australian Cup just a few days ago show once again her ability to shape and bring out European horses at the highest level. ‘Aussies in France’ Racing Club is proud to have two of the best trainers in both hemispheres.”

Waterhouse has collected over 110 Group 1 victories in Australia.

“I am thrilled to have been chosen as the trainer for this exciting and innovative new venture, the ‘Aussies in France’ Racing Club,” confirmed Waterhouse. “I have had a great deal of success with horses imported from Europe, with the likes of Fiorente (Ire), Julienas (Ire), Glencadam Gold (Ire) and The Offer (Ire) winning time- honored Classics such as the Melbourne Cup and the Australian Cup. I look forward to sharing in the joys and success of racing horses with all of the shareholders involved.”

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TRIUMPHANT TREVE TO REMAIN IN TRAINING

Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad Al Thani and trainer Criquette Head-Maarek with Treve
Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad Al Thani and trainer Criquette Head-Maarek with Treve

Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad Al Thani (L) and trainer Criquette Head-Maarek (R) with Treve

(Photo : Aljazeera)

“She ran the last 400 meters faster than the winner of the

Prix de l’Abbaye (1000m) and the Prix de la Foret (1400m)”

Sunday’s G1 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe heroine, Treve (Fr), will remain in training as a 4-year-old and will target a repeat bid for the Longchamp showpiece, trainer Criquette Head-Maarek revealed yesterday. “Treve ate up everything last night and hasn’t lost any weight,” reported Head-Maarek. “She won the race very easily. They pushed her to the outside, but when she came there in the false straight, I knew she was going to win. I know Thierry Jarnet’s riding very well, I could see he had a lot of horse underneath him and when he let her go, they were never going to catch her. It’s her turn of foot that is so unbelievable. When you look at the times, she ran the last 400 meters faster than the winner of the Prix de l’Abbaye (1000m) and the Prix de la Foret (1400m), which is incredible after a long-distance race like the Arc.”

“She will stay in training next season and I don’t think we will run her again this year. If she does have one more run, it will be in Hong Kong, as the Breeders’ Cup is too close and the ground in Japan is always very hard. Owner Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad Al Thani bought her to win the Arc and she did it. Now we have to try to win it again next year. She will run in the spring and even though she stays the 12-furlong distance well, she has so much pace she could easily run over 10 furlongs or even over a mile. She can do everything.”

Extract from Thoroughbred Daily News

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ADMIRE THE MAN... AND THE WOMAN

Treve - Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe
Treve - Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe

Watch Treve winning the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (G1)

(image : Times Union - Footage : UCK)

PRIX DE L’ARC DE TRIOMPHE

Longchamp, Turf, 2400m

Sunday 6 October 2013

Mick Goss - Summerhill CEO
Mick Goss - Summerhill CEO

Mick Goss

Summerhill CEOYou might ask why a couple of maiden winners by a locally-based stallion can be coupled in the same article as a report on a race of the international stature of the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. The one is an epic for the racing world at large and to the French in particular, the other a personal vindication of Summerhill’s faith in the only son of Sunday Silence on the African continent.

Since this evening’s audience is as likely to comprise as many international readers as it will our local brethren, let’s talk about the Arc first. We did suggest on Friday that with their long history of success in the big race, you couldn’t ignore the claims of the fillies: the only thing is, we picked the wrong one, as The Fugue was promptly scratched, leaving Treve as the only realistic alternative. We may also have been off the mark in suggesting it wasn’t a vintage line-up; only time will tell us just how good the field was, but certainly, in the manner of her obliteration of this field, and in particular, the way she disposed of the favourite Orfevre, suggests that Treve at least, is something extraordinary. It’s probably fair to say the brilliance which characterised Orfevre’s stretch-run last year, was not there this time, but take nothing away from the unbeaten daughter of Motivator, it would’ve taken a Frankel-like performance to lower her colours on the day. Missing in action were Al Kazeem (either too far or too long a season,) the “King George” hero, Novellist, and the English Derby ace, Ruler Of The World.

There were those that were astonished when the Qatari ruling family, the Al-Thanis, coughed up €9million to the Head family for Treve earlier in the year, but on yesterday’s evidence, they won’t feel short-changed. The Al Thanis have been looming as a gigantic new presence in the sales rings of the world for a while now, and on the back of this, you can expect some serious opposition going forward to the hegemonies of the Maktoums and the industry’s longest upholders of value, Coolmore. You have to ask yourself, given the money they’re splashing on thoroughbreds right now, whether this doesn’t signal a new order in the Middle East, too, given the well-publicised woes which Dubai has experienced in recent years. The Qataris have been in buoyant spending form, not only in the world of racehorses, but in all their ventures, scheduled as they are to host the 2022 Fifa World Cup.

There are a couple of things that got our hearts fluttering this weekend, not the least of which the clash between the Springboks and the All Blacks at Ellis Park. We’d be lying if we didn’t confess to a moment during the match, when the Springboks snatched the lead with their fourth (and bonus point) try, that we fantasised that this could “be” the Rugby Championship. While there seemed to be a certain inevitability to the eventual outcome, there was just a brief interlude when South Africans had regained their pride, and in our own small way here at Summerhill, we felt a similar optimism when Admire Main racked up his fifth winner in a matter of just over a fortnight.

Let’s face it, he came here with some sparkling credentials, not only for his uniqueness as the only son of one of the world’s breed-shaping stallions, but as the joint second-rated racehorse of his generation. It says something for relationships that the Yoshida family wanted to send as accomplished a racehorse as Admire Main to Summerhill, but for all that, astonishingly, there were not too many local breeders who understood the significance of it. It seems that Japan’s remoteness from the rest of the world has left them with a mountain to climb when it comes to spreading the Sunday Silence gospel, and by locating several sons and grandsons of the “emperor” in various other parts of the world, Shadai have done a sterling job in getting the word out.

Of course, Admire Main started with a handicap which all 2400m performers seem to struggle with, wherever they stand these days, unless it’s Coolmore or Darley in Europe or Japan itself, and even then there are “Doubting Thomases”.

Outside of Summerhill, there were just a few discerning “internationals” like Bridget Oppenheimer, Ronnie Napier, Alan Magid, Winston Chow, Alesh Naidoo, Keith Russon, Ian Todd, Albert Rapp and Michael Roberts who understood what the word “Sunday Silence” meant. As a result, there were only 49 foals in his first harvest. They were always going to want some ground and they were always going to get better with age and distance, and that’s exactly what we’ve seen. Yes, he did have a Group One-performing juvenile in his first crop (Admiral’s Eye, a winner again at Turffontein on Saturday) but even then, she registered her best performance when she eventually got to run over 1600m in the Thekwini Stakes (Gr.1). Like the Visionaires in America, they’re not just winning, they’re winning by good margins. Here is the fortnightly record.

#

Horse

Trainer

1st

ADMIRAL’S EYE

Charles Laird

1st

TOO MUCH FUN

Gavin van Zyl

1st

SENSEI

Tony Rivalland

1st

BAREFOOT LADY

Lucky Houdalakis

1st

GENTLE DESIRE

Stuart Pettigrew

The standout of the weekend (perhaps the year) though, came from George Strawbridge’s Moonlight Cloud. Carrying the white and green colours the Summerhill sire of old, Imperial Dilemma, once did, she produced one of the most astonishing Group One performances I’ve seen in the centuries-honoured Prix de la Foret. Held up in the rear a dozen lengths off the pace in a comparative sprint (1400m,) her jockey never moved till the final furlong and a half against some of Europe’s best racehorses at the trip. The man either has ice in his veins or he was dead scared of his trainer’s retribution, but when she was asked as late as the 250 metre mark, it was lightning. She must’ve been two or three clear at the death, and by that I mean just that. The rest were “dead”. Watch the movie here.

summerhill stud, south africa
summerhill stud, south africa

Enquiries :

Linda Norval 27 (0) 33 263 1081

or email linda@summerhill.co.za

www.summerhill.co.za

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PRIX DE L'ARC DE TRIOMPHE : NOT SO MUCH A RACE AS A MONUMENT

Orfevre - Prix de l'Arc de Tripmphe
Orfevre - Prix de l'Arc de Tripmphe

Watch a teaser of the 2013 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe

(Image and footage : France Gallop TV)

PRIX DE L’ARC DE TRIOMPHE

Longchamp, Turf, 2400m

Sunday 6 October 2013

When the French inaugurated the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in 1920, its intention was a celebration of the virtues of Continental racing. It was designed to unearth the greatest thoroughbred of each year with a view to the upliftment of French breeding. It was to be run at Longchamp, the temple of their racing, on the first Sunday of October, and while their plans were grand, no-one could’ve imagined it would become the mile and half championship of the world. A quick glance at Sunday’s field and its principal protagonists, tells you plainly enough, the “Arc” is just that: a Japanese favourite, a German second favourite, a dual Gr.1-winning English raider in third slot, and an armada of Group One and Classic heroes from Ireland.

The Japanese have twice come agonisingly close, with El Condor Pasa in 1999 and Orfevre last year, a salute to a breeding programme which has its genesis in a decision made by the late Zenya Yoshida (founder of the internationally celebrated Shadai Farm) to get in where the Europeans were getting out. In brief, when the likes of Sir Ivor and Nijinsky first demonstrated the virtues of American speed in Europe, British and European breeders were quick to jettison the mile and half champions which had served their breeding industries so well for so long. Never one to forsake an opportunity, in typical Japanese fashion, Yoshida and his colleagues took up where the Argentineans had left off in the thirties, lassoing the best mile and a half blood in Europe, the Derby and Arc heroes of that era, and founded one of the most formidable breeding industries in the world.

With 200 meters left in the Prix l’Arc de Triomphe last year, it looked certain that Orfevre, the Japanese star with the French name for “Goldsmith”, would erase his nation’s past disappointments in this special race. But with the field in his explosive wake, the Japanese Triple Crown winner hung to the right hand rail. His acceleration dwindled, he sulked against his jockey’s whip, and slowed as if stuck in a bog.

He bumped the rail meters from the finish, but by then the race was already, incredibly, lost. Wertheimer et Frère’s filly, Solemia, obliterated only moments earlier, caught Orfevre. For the 2,000 Japanese fans who had travelled to Paris and his rapt audience back home, “disappointment” was an inadequate adjective. Since 1969, 12 Japanese horses had run in the Arc. None had won.

In the aftermath of the heartbreak came foresight. Orfevre’s trainer, Yasutoshi Ikee, immediately laid his plans for this year, hoping to fix his mercurial charges’ enigmatic ways. This week, Orfevre is back at Longchamp, with none of his lustre lost. With a rare shot at redemption, he is ruling favourite again.

While they’re not new to the inside of the Arc winner’s box (Danedream is the record-holder), the Germans celebrated their first King George VI and Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (Gr.1) ace earlier this year, and Novellista is a deserving second favourite. England’s dual Group One winner, Al Kazeem, who’ll be making his way to the Queen’s Sandringham Stud when this is behind him, is the third chalk, while the Irish send a brace of Classic stars, the Derby and St. Leger winners, Ruler Of The World and Leading Light, into battle. Never discount André Fabre (Ocovango) in the Arc, and in a race which counts Corrida, Allez France, Ivanjica, All Along, San San, Three Troikas, Detroit, Pearl Cap, Gold River, Akiyda, Urban Sea and Zarkava among its heroines, never discount a filly: The Fugue has done enough this year, to come right into the reckoning.

It may not be the greatest renewal in the history of the Arc, but it could certainly be as competitive as any, and if you’re anywhere near the television around 5pm on Sunday, you’d do well to tune into channel 239.

Final Field

#

Horse

AGE

Trainer

Jockey

TS

RPR

1

VERY NICE NAME

4

A De Mieulle

Pierantonio Convertino

113

128

2

NOVELIST

4

A Wohler

Johnny Murtagh

135

136

3

AL KAZEEM

5

R Charlton

James Doyle

124

136

4

JOSHUA TREE

6

E Dunlop

Richard Hughes

93

124

5

MEANDRE

5

A Savujev

Umberto Rispoli

-

126

6

ORFEVRE

5

Y Ikee

Christophe Soumillon

131

138

7

GOING SOMEWHERE

4

D Smanga

Gregory Benoist

33

126

8

HAYA LANDA

5

M Audon

Franck Blondel

109

124

9

PIRIKA

5

A Fabre

Pierre-Charles Boudot

103

122

10

FLINTSHIRE

3

A Fabre

Maxine Guyon

96

131

11

LEADING LIGHT

3

A O’Brien

Gerald Mosse

106

128

12

OCOVANGO

3

A Fabre

Stephane Pasquier

95

127

13

PENGLAI PAVILION

3

A Fabre

Mickael Barzalona

95

124

14

KIZUNAS

3

S Sasaki

Yutaka Take

87

129

15

RULER OF THE WORLD

3

A O’Brien

Ryan Moore

109

131

16

SAHAWAR

3

C Ferland

Thierry Thulliez

64

114

17

INTELLO

3

A Fabre

Olivier Peslier

124

132

18

TREVE

3

C Head-Maarek

Thierry Jarnet

128

133

www.prixarcdetriomphe.com

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THE ARC : A POST-MORTEM

Solemia - Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe
Solemia - Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe

Solemia wins the 2012 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe from Orfevre

(Photo : Irish Times)

QATAR PRIX DE L’ARC DE TRIOMPHE (Group 1)

Longchamp, Turf, 2400m

7 October 2012

All sorts of statements have followed in the wake of Sunday’s shock outcome to Europe’s most famous horserace, the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (Gr.1). Some of them have to do with breeding, others with talents, and others with the preservation of value, but they all point to the intricacies that keep us bewitched with the sport.

Firstly, the race was an acknowledgement of the value of old fashioned private breeding programmes, and it is something of a lament that so many of these great entities have rather quickly disappeared as features of the international breeding scene. For centuries past, the sport of racing was a contest between men and women whose primary interest lay in victory, not in the commercial spoils of their enterprises. Within the last century, we recall the names of Lord Derby and the “first” Aga Khan, the Frenchman Boussac, the Italian Tesio, the Americans Phipps, Hancock and Calumet Farm, and South Africa’s Oppenheimers and the Ellises of our own Hartford. Latterly though, the cost of maintaining these establishments has made fossils of the bulk of them, and there are now just a handful around the world who still have the luxury of maintaining their operations. In France there are just two major private breeding operations left, one belonging to the art magnates, the Wildensteins, and the other the Wertheimers, who’ve made their dough with Chanel.

Sunday’s Arc winner, Solemia is a salute to the Wertheimer’s perseverance, coming as she does from a family they’ve kept the faith with since the 50s, and whose real eminence came initially in the form of the French 2000 Guineas hero, Green Dancer, a successful sire first in France and then inevitably for those days, at Gainesway Farm in the United States. This family bowed not once on Sunday, but twice, as the same female line produced the heroine of the Two-Year-Old fillies Group One, the Prix Marcel Boussac in the form of Silasol. Solemia is one of six Stakes winners of her “Blue Hen” mother, the Shirley Heights mare, Brooklyn’s Dance, who in turn is the grandmother of the juvenile ace. It is also the family that gave us the excellent English Derby winner, Authorized, who has a very attractive filly in next month’s Emperors Palace Ready to Run Sale.

As for the Arc itself, the big disappointment was obviously Camelot, who had appeared earlier in the year to be the only horse with any pretence at rivalling the great Frankel, if only their aptitudes would slot into the same kilometre. He was unbeaten until his failed attempt at becoming Britain’s first Triple Crown winner in 42 years, and now he’s flopped in the Arc, inexplicably for a horse whose forte’ was his “juice” in the closing stages of a race. He was beautifully poised just off the pace as they turned for home, but when Frankie Dettori pressed the button, he simply came up empty. That hasn’t deterred his trainer, Aidan O’Brien, who insists he remains ‘the best horse he’s ever trained’, and that’s saying something when they include Galileo, Giant’s Causeway, Henrythenavigator, Dylan Thomas, Duke Of Marmalade and Rip Van Winkel. Let’s not forget though: it even happened to Nijinsky, who after winning the Triple Crown, collapsed in the Arc and again in the Champion Stakes.

But there was another horse in the race whose performance suggested he was something special, and that was the Japanese-bred and owned Orfevre, like our own Admire Main, a descendant of Sunday Silence. There was no lack of gas when he put his head down in the straight, obliterating the best Europe could offer in a matter of strides. In the event, he was caught in the last 50 metres, but that didn’t discourage his champion rider, Christophe Soumillion, from proclaiming him “the best horse I’ve ever ridden. Once I had the lead, no-one could’ve imagined we’d be beaten. The horses overconfidence defeated him and 50 metres from the line, I saw I’d have difficulty getting him going again. I hope he will run against Frankel in the Champion Stakes or else in the Japan Cup”. Brave words, but you can’t take them lightly, because Soumillion has thrown his leg over a few in his time.

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SOLEMIA : PRIX DE L'ARC DE TRIOMPHE SHOCK WIN

Solemia win Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe
Solemia win Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe

Click above to watch Solemia winning the 2012 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe

(Image: Courier Mail - Footage: At The Races)

QATAR PRIX DE L’ARC DE TRIOMPHE (Group 1)

Longchamp, Turf, 2400m

7 October 2012

Firmly under the radar despite a latest third in the G1 Prix Vermeille over the same track and trip September 16, the Wertheimers’ filly Solemia (Ire) (Poliglote) caused a shock of major proportions in the G1 Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe when wearing down Orfevre (Jpn) (Stay Gold) in the final strides under Olivier Peslier. In doing so, the home-bred provided trainer Carlos Laffon-Parias with a first renewal of the great race and her rider with a record-equaling fourth at a huge 41-1.

Always traveling easily in a prominent fourth against the rail, the bay was left in front at the top of the stretch but was soon swamped by Orfevre as Christophe Soumillon committed on the Japanese raider with 300 meters remaining. Although he quickly gained two lengths on her, he veered right to the rail and gave Solemia a chance which she took with relish as she broke the hearts of the raider’s followers with a withering effort close home. At the line, there was a neck separating the duo, with seven lengths back to Masterstroke (USA) (Monsun) in third and a further length back to Haya Landa (Fr) (Lando) in fourth.

www.prixarcdetriomphe.com

Extract from Thoroughbred Daily News

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THE FRANKIE FACTOR - 16:25 TODAY!

Frankie Dettori and Camelot
Frankie Dettori and Camelot

Frankie Dettori and Camelot

(Image : Stan James/Telegraph)

QATAR PRIX DE L’ARC DE TRIOMPHE (Group 1)

Longchamp, Turf, 2400m

7 October 2012

There was a sense of inevitability when Frankie Dettori was handed the spare ride of the season on Camelot (GB) (Montjeu), and a flying dismount after today’s G1 Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe would be a dream end to an unusually average year for the famed Italian.

The record of the 3-year-old generation in this Longchamp feature speaks for itself, and G1 Epsom Derby winners to have come here and triumphed in recent times include Sinndar (Ire) (Grand Lodge), Sea the Stars (Ire) (Cape Cross) and Workforce (GB) (King’s Best), while Frankie’s first of his three Arcs came on the ‘Blue Riband’ winner Lammtarra (USA) (Nijinsky) 17 years ago. If he is able to guide Derrick Smith, Susan Magnier and Michael Tabor’s talented and much-vaunted colt to the post first, he will also equal the joint-record of four winning rides held by Jacques Doyasbere, Freddy Head, Yves Saint-Martin and Pat Eddery.

Trainer Aidan O’Brien was unequivocal in his praise for the rider at Dundalk on Friday evening. “We’re delighted to have got a great rider like Frankie - as everybody knows, he has all the experience in the world,” O’Brien said.

www.prixarcdetriomphe.com

Extract from Thoroughbred Daily News

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DETTORI TO PILOT CAMELOT IN PRIX DE L'ARC DE TRIOMPHE

Frankie Dettori
Frankie Dettori

Frankie Dettori

(Photo : StanJames.com)

PRIX DE L’ARC DE TRIOMPHE (Group 1)

Longchamp, Turf, 2400m

7 October 2012

With regular partner Joseph O’Brien unable to make the 123-pound weight allocated to Camelot (GB) (Montjeu) in Sunday’s G1 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, Frankie Dettori will take his 25th consecutive ride in Europe’s end-of-season championship aboard the G1 2000 Guineas, G1 Epsom Derby and G1 Irish Derby hero, trainer Aidan O’Brien confirmed via Twitter Wednesday.

O’Brien junior will instead ride St Nicholas Abbey (Ire) (Montjeu), who is set to carry 131 pounds in the €4million event. “It’s a shame Godolphin don’t have a horse in the race, but I’m ready and looking forward to it,” said Dettori. “I was standing by for Snow Fairy as Ryan Moore seemed set to ride Sea Moon, and what has happened in the last two or three days has been unbelievable. Snow Fairy was injured, Nathaniel is out and Joseph can’t do the weight on Camelot so the ride became available. It’s an honor for me to ride the horse. Let’s hope he’s in tip-top shape as he’s had a pretty long season, but if the Camelot we know turns up he should have a very good chance. I think you want to judge the horse more on the Guineas and Derby runs. In the Leger he was ridden to stay and it was a stop-start kind of pace early on and I still think he quickened really well in the end. He’s better judged on his two previous wins which were pretty impressive. The horse looks to be tremendously well balanced, he came home on his own in the Derby. He spreadeagled the field and looked mightily impressive. Coming back to a mile-and-a-half at Longchamp will be his absolute cup of tea. It looks like there’s going to be two or three pacemakers, the race will be run at a very high tempo and, if that is the case, it doesn’t really matter where I sit. I haven’t spoken to Aidan yet, a low draw is key, but we’re not going to change his pattern of racing. I’m sure Aidan will come out with a plan and we’ll hope for the best on Sunday.”

Following the enforced absence of Nathaniel (Ire) (Galileo), Ballydoyle’sImperial Monarch (Ire) (Galileo), who may instead point to the GI Canadian International at Woodbine, was the only other withdrawal as the field was reduced to 16 in advance of Thursday’s €100,000 supplementary stage. Possible additions to Sunday’s line-up include the G1 Prix du Jockey-Club winner Saonois (Fr) (Chichicastenango), Lady Rothschild’sG1 Irish Oaks heroine Great Heavens (GB) (Galileo) and His Highness The Aga Khan’sGI Secretariat Stakes victor Bayrir (Fr) (Medicean).

www.prixarcdetriomphe.com

Extract from Thoroughbred Daily News

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VALYRA DENIES BEAUTY PARLOUR IN PRIX DE DIANE

Valyra wins Prix de Diane Longines
Valyra wins Prix de Diane Longines

Click above to watch a Valyra winning the Prix de Diane Longines (Gr1)…

(Image : Features - Footage : Equidia)

PRIX DE DIANE (Group 1)

Chantilly, Turf, 2100m

17 June 2012

His Highness The Aga Khan’s tally of winners in the G1 Prix de Diane stood at a record-equaling six prior to yesterday’s renewal at Chantilly, and the supplemented Valyra (GB) (Azamour) came up trumps to help her owner-breeder to new heights.

Sent off a 28-1 outsider of the trio racing in the emerald green, the unbeaten bay, who came into this race on the back of a 10-furlong course conditions event victory, was steadied from the outset before being settled in the rear by Johnny Murtagh. As the even-money favorite Beauty Parlour (GB) (Deep Impact) was committed by Christophe Soumillon at the top of the straight, Valyra was the sole challenger, and after subduing that rival with a furlong remaining, drew away to score by 3/4 of a length.

“It is always great to win the Diane, as I love this racecourse and everything involved around Chantilly,” The Aga Khan said. “I must congratulate the whole team, as everyone is doing a remarkable job.”

All of The Aga Khan’s previous winners of this Classic were trained by Alain de Royer-Dupre, and that conditioner’s duo of Sagawara (GB) (Shamardal) and Dalkala (Giant’s Causeway) understandably occupied far more prominent spots in the betting. What Valyra had in her favor was the fact that she had been supplemented by Jean-Claude Rouget despite the presence of that stakes-winning pair. Stable confidence must have been strong, as her debut win in a 9 1/2-furlong contest at Bordeaux-le-Bouscat April 14 and subsequent score, albeit impressive in nature, in a 10-furlong conditions event here last time May 18, left her some way short of the required standard on paper.

Any suggestion she would be used as a pacemaker, as her half-sister Valasyra (Fr) (Sinndar) was in this two years ago, was settled instantly as Murtagh steadied her out of the gate to race with only two behind. Traveling strongly as Beauty Parlour was taken past the front-running Kissed (Ire) (Galileo) with three furlongs remaining, she needed only to be shaken up to reel in the market leader and show determination to belie her inexperience.

Her victory saw her owner-breeder surpass Auguste Lupin’s six renewals and join an elite club of homebred Diane heroines including the great Zarkava (Ire) (Zamindar), and the Aga Khan was clearly delighted with the achievement afterwards.

“We had three fillies in here, each with their own qualities and good chances,” he said. “Each jockey had different instructions, and they carried them out to the letter, with Valyra proving best. She is a filly who needs to find her rhythm in a race, and that’s what Johnny let her do here. He had flown to Pau to ride her in a piece of work on Monday and was delighted with what he saw, and was very keen to ride her.”

Jean-Claude Rouget added, “She was very immature last year, but had made tremendous progress and improvement in the spring, and when they come to hand so quickly, it is always a good sign. When the filly won last time, I thought she could be one for the Diane, as she was so impressive and confirmed that day all that she had been showing us at home. It wasn’t until Monday, when Johnny worked her, that we decided to supplement, as she was brilliant that morning. I am very proud to win this for His Highness, as it is rare to see major owners putting their trust in provincial trainers. We will take our time to decide where she goes next, as we have nothing in mind.”

Beauty Parlour’s trainer Elie Lellouche said of the runner-up, “I think I should take the blame for that defeat, as I did not choose the right pacemaker for the filly, and she was forced to come too early in the race. She had already done too much when she was challenged, so it was not a bad performance, and we’ll take our time to see how she comes out of the race before we decide what to do next.”

Francois Rohaut added of the third Rjwa (Ire) (Muhtathir), “I am delighted with that - she always runs her race whereas Trois Lunes (Fr) (Manduro) showed bad temperament, and we will have to try and correct that now.”

Extract from Thoroughbred Daily News

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PRIX DE DIANE : JEWEL UNTO ITSELF

Prix de Diane Longines 2012
Prix de Diane Longines 2012

Click above to watch a promo for Equidia coverage of the 2012 Prix de Diane Longines…

(Image : Longines - Footage : Equidia)

PRIX DE DIANE (Group 1)

Chantilly, Turf, 2100m

17 June 2012

Lucas Marquardt - It is one of the crown jewels of French racing, a Classic that’s been sought after, and won, by queens and princes, sheikhs and shipping magnates. It’s the G1 Prix de Diane, held each June for 3-year-old fillies going 2100 meters at Chantilly, and it indeed has grown to a lofty stature since a humble beginning back in 1843, when a sparse crowd watched Favored Nativa (Fr) become the first of trainer Henry Jennings’s record nine winners.

Since then, a parade of champions has claimed the Diane, France’s most important race for 3-year-old fillies. The honour roll includes the storied dual French champion Pearl Cap (Fr), winner in 1931, who that year became the first filly to win the G1 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe over males. It includes the 1973 heroine Allez France, also winner of the Arc during a 1974 season that earned her the title of Horse of the Year. And it includes the likes of Zarkava (Ire), whose Diane/Arc double in 2008 made her Europe’s Horse of the Year.

But the allure of the Diane is more than just a talented roster of winners. It’s a race which is uniquely French, oozing style and charisma even more so than the country’s most prestigious event, the G1 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.  

Part of the Diane’s panache comes from the people themselves, a mix of French urbane and provincial charm, and part from the beauty of the surroundings. Chantilly ranks as one of France’s and maybe the world’s, most attractive racecourses, sitting within the Chateau de Chantilly and boasting a 1,900 hectare training centre edging Chantilly forest.

Chantilly opened its doors in 1834, and the grandstand, dating back to 1879, was designed by famed architect Pierre Jerome Honore Daumet. The adjacent Great Stables, imposing in its beauty and sitting prominently on one of the track’s right-hand turns, pre-dates the track by over 110 years, and was commissioned by a duke who requested that his architect build a stable suitable of his rank, on the assumption that he would be reincarnated as a horse in his next life.

The impeccable bloodlines of the Diane’s winners represent the sport’s most esteemed breeders: Marcel Boussac, Baron Edouard de Rothschild, Baron Maurice de Rothschild, Daniel Wildenstein, Stavros Niarchos, HH Aga Khan IV, Sheikh Mohammed, Khalid Abdullah, and many others.

Will this year’s Prix de Diane feature any fillies who will go on to star on the first Sunday in October at Longchamp? Time will tell. But what’s the rush-this Sunday, Chantilly features a Classic jewel unto itself.

Extract from Thoroughbred Daily News

For more information, please visit :

www.prix-de-diane.com

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SUNDAY SILENCE : NO LONGER A SECRET

Beauty Parlour wins Poule d'Essai des Pouliches
Beauty Parlour wins Poule d'Essai des Pouliches

Click above to watch Beauty Parlour winning Poule d’Essai des Pouliches (Gr1)…

(Image : Racing Post - Footage : Satos)

SUNDAY SILENCE (USA)

Halo (USA) - Wishing Well (USA)

It’s a genetic tragedy that Japan is so far away. For decades, Sunday Silence’s complete domination of the Japanese Sires’ logs was something of an international secret. Breeders spend their lives searching for strains that can breathe new vigour into the bloodlines at their disposal, and it’s taken more than those decades for the international community to awaken to the value of Sunday Silence and his tribe.

It’s not entirely surprising, as American breeders rejected him as a stallion prospect when he first went to stud, overlooking his phenomenal racing class because of a few engineering flaws. He was off-set in the knees, his hocks trailed a little and he was leggy and up in the air, not your quintessential American racehorse. But there was something he had that few horses of his generation and those around him possessed, and that was his sheer class, his ability to quicken, and the one element without which you cannot do in this game: guts. He had that in the abundance of a lion, and he revealed it time and again at the races.

The consequence of his isolation in Japan has meant just a tentative flirtation on the part of breeders elsewhere with his sons as stallion prospects. America’s Walmac International embraced a single one of his top racing sons, Hat Trick, and Kirsten Rousing’sLanwades Stud provided Vita Rosa with an adoptive home in the United Kingdom, though he had already been despatched to Italy for the 2012 breeding season. The Australians played hooky with a couple of them for a while, notably John Messara’sArrowfield Stud, which took on Fuji Kiseki (sire of the South African champion mare, Sun Classique) but even they have given up on this precious source of classic stamina and battle-ready durability.

Messara was smart enough though, to recognise the opportunity of obtaining the exclusive rights to send ten mares annually on southern time to the super-sire, and yielded from that relationship, an Australian Classic winner in Sunday Joy, dam of the current champion older mare, More Joyous.

It seems like the breeding countries which are less in the international spotlight have seen a gap here, and it’s all credit to the French that the unbeaten champion two-year-old colt of last season, Dabirsim, is a French-foaled, American-conceived son of Hat Trick. While the Wildenstein family is probably more famous for its trade in the art world, in racing circles and especially in France, they’re revered for their racehorses. They too, spotted the opportunity which Messara had embraced a decade earlier, and have been patronising sons of Sunday Silence in Japan. This past weekend’s winner of the French 1000 Guineas, the Poule d’Essai des Pouliches (Gr1) was won in emphatic style by the hitherto unbeaten Beauty Parlour, a daughter of Sunday Silence’s masterpiece, the dual Horse Of The Year, Deep Impact. Judged on his early figures, Deep Impact could well be rivalling his own sire’s staggering numbers, with 18 Group winners already including, Gr1 Oka Sho (1000 Guineas) heroines Gentildonna and Marcellina, the Gr1 Yasuda Kinen ace, Real Impact, and the Japanese Champion Juvenile Filly, Joie De Vivre. And now of course, he has his first European Classic winner in Beauty Parlour.

Outside of a handful of people whose understanding and admiration of racehorses extends beyond our local boundaries, like Bridget Oppenheimer, Michael Roberts, Winston Chow, Peter Fenix, the Hong Kong Breeders Club, Ronnie Napier, Rupert Plersch and the boys at Backworth, there are not too many South African breeders beyond the Summerhill family who appreciate that right here on our doorstep, we have an exceptional son of Sunday Silence in Admire Main. Joint second top-rated colt of his Classic generation, and despite the prejudice against those that earn their stripes beyond Europe, rated 120 lbs by Timeform, Admire Main was a vastly talented athlete who pretty much annihilated everything that entered his sights in his first four starts (all of them at Stakes or Group level). It took a tendon injury to stop him in the Japanese Derby, where he was beaten just a neck by the season’s champion three-year-old. There won’t be many of them as a result, but when they get to the races, be sure of one thing: they won’t be stopping when the whips come out down Turffontein’s murderous straight.

summerhill stud, south africa
summerhill stud, south africa

Enquiries :

Linda Norval 27 (0) 33 263 1081

or email linda@summerhill.co.za

www.summerhill.co.za

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THE ARC FILLIES PHENOMENON

Danedream win Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe
Danedream win Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe

Danedream - Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe

(Photo : Racing Post)

QATAR PRIX DE L’ARC DE TRIOMPHE (Group 1)

Longchamp, Turf, 2400m

2 October 2011

There is a strong belief among horsemen that a good colt will generally beat a good filly, and that is probably a statistically fair pronouncement. The one race that gives the lie to it though, is the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, where fillies (or mares) have had a disproportionate influence over the outcome. There have been periods in the great race’s history (and particularly in the last forty years) where fillies have been the dominant force, and there have been some outstanding performers among them. In a space of eleven years (1972 -1983) eight fillies reigned, and it’s worth repeating their names here: San San (1972); Alez France (1974); Ivaniica (1976); Three Troikas (1979); Detroit (1980); Gold River (1981); Akiyda (1982); All Along (1983).

In Paris on Sunday, the dominance of the fillies over some formidable colts (all with current strong form) was complete, with fillies filling the first three places, Danedream, Shareta and Snow Fairy, leaving the likes of So You Think, Workforce, St Nicholas Abbey and Treasure Beach trailing behind. The winner silenced a massive crowd with a five length romp in the fastest time in history (2m 24,49s). Given that they’ve always made up a slender minority of the field, the results beg more questions than answers.

What is it that has brought this about, and why should it apply particularly to a race which has been run on the first Sunday in October since 1920, and which for most of its earliest renewals, was almost exclusively the domain of the colts. Some will attribute the underperformance of the colts to the rigours of a long season, to their having gone “over the top”, and they will quickly point to the demise of the great Nijinsky as evidence of this (though he was beaten by a colt, Sassafras). A lone excuse though, is like the single swallow that doesn’t make a summer, so there must be something altogether more logical to explain it.

Surely the achievements of the victorious fillies of the recent past should not be demeaned by a statement of “overwork” on the part of the colt, as telling as that may be in some cases? Perhaps it is the time of year when the fillies blossom and the colts time clocks are beginning to think of winter: perhaps it’s the fact that the weight-for-sex scale, which grants the fillies some 3,5 lbs (subject to wfa) in the form of an allowance against the colts, is “narrower” at this time of year (in much the same way as the weight-for-age allowance closes between the older and younger horses towards the end of the season, according to the calculations of an eccentric Englishman, Admiral Rous, who formulated the scale as long ago as 1860). Now that’s a measure that has stood the test of time.

The latter explanation is just simply a mirror image of the first, and that is that the fillies are in a relatively better place at this time of year in Europe, than they are at other times. It may be a matter of preparation, and the fact that the fillies, and in particular the French fillies, have not been asked as many questions during the season as their male counterparts, and have been spared and prepared especially for the Arc. That will take some examining, and is a story for another day. It’s noteworthy though, that of the eight winners in the golden era between 1972 and 1983, seven were trained in France.

Meanwhile, Emperors Palace Ready To Run Cup “watchers” lamented the two kilogram weight spread between the colts and the fillies for our R2 million race on the first Saturday in November, and the calls, though muted these days, were for the two to be split. The record tells us otherwise, with the spoils evenly divided in the first four runnings, two to the colts, two to the fillies, which suggests the handicappers might have got that one right.

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THE ARC DE TRIOMPHE : NAPOLEON'S PRIDE

So You Think - Arc de Triomphe
So You Think - Arc de Triomphe

So You Think

(Image : Inner Sanctum/Tourism Adventures)

PRIX DE L’ARC DE TRIOMPHE

Longchamp, Turf, 2400m

2 October 2011

Ask any Frenchman of what the symbol is of France’s greatest era, and he’ll tell you unhesitatingly, the Arc de Triomphe, which sits at the head of the Champs Elysees, and was commissioned by Napoleon in 1806.

There could be no greater celebration of the golden epoch in French imperial history, than by giving its name to a race in the heart of Paris’ Bois de Boulogne at the historic Longchamps racecourse.

Since its inauguration in 1857, the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe has been staged on the first Sunday in October, and while for many years it vied with races like England’s King George for the title of the middle distance championship of Europe, in more recent decades, it’s become the undisputed champion of this cause.

While there’ve been “hotter” renewals of the Arc, this weekend’s is intriguing, not only for the fact that it brings together several of the younger generation whose credentials may be even greater than they’ve already displayed, but also because the betting is headed by an Australian in So You Think. The Wallabies form at the Rugby World Cup has left a lot of our Aussie mates looking to the Arc to provide some consolation for what could end up a William Webb Ellis dream unfulfilled, and if Aidan O’Brien’s esteem of the son of High Chaparral should finally materialize in a run as good as the word-slingers would have him be, So You Think could finally bring glory to Australia.

He won’t have it all his own way though, as he has last year’s hero, Workforce as an opponent as well as the Aga Khan’s outstanding filly, Sarafina, to contend with. The Wertheimer brothers have Goldikova’s high class half sister, Galikova (by Galileo, who else?), representing the three-year-old fillies, while Coolmore’s St Nicholas Abbey and the 2009 English Oaks winner, Snow Fairy, bring current Group One form to the table, and are also not without a squeak.

Finally, one of the younger brigade is the King George ace, Nathaniel (another by Galileo), whose possible defection because of the firmness of the ground, could detract from what could be the performance of the season, if this horse has progressed since his mid-summer exertions at Ascot.

Riveting stuff, and it’s bound to be featured on Tellytrack (Channel 232) at around 5pm Sunday.

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NOTHING QUIET ABOUT SUNDAY SILENCE

Dabirsim winning the Prix Morny
Dabirsim winning the Prix Morny

Click above to watch Dabirsim winning the Prix Morny (Gr1)

(Image : Racing Post - Footage : Dubai Racing)

DABIRSIM

PRIX MORNY (Group 1)

21 August 2011

Japanese breeding was revolutionized by the arrival of Sunday Silence, as good a sire as there was in the world. Not only was he the perennial champion sire in all categories in his adopted country, but his sons now occupy six of the ten top spots on the Japanese General Sires’ list. The likes of Deep Impact, Neo Universe, Zenno Rob Roy, Manhattan Café and Fuji Kiseki have set Mount Fuji alight, and this weekend it was the turn of his Group One-winning miler, Hat Trick, based at Walmac Farm in Kentucky.

Hat Trick’s unbeaten son, Dabirsim took his tally to three, from three when he flattened the best of Europe’s juveniles by three lengths in the Prix Morny (Gr1) at Deauville Sunday, and as arguably the fastest juvenile in that part of the world, he now has his sights set on England’s Middle Park Stakes (Gr1) at Ascot in October. Traditionally run at Newmarket since its inauguration in 1866, the Middle Park moves for the first time in its history to the Queen’s course on the edge of Windsor Forest, alongside the castle by that name.

The Sunday Silence tribe have all-conquering records across the world, and those that work at Summerhill, will tell you his outstanding son, Admire Main, has thrown us a couple of “pearlers” again this season.

summerhill stud, south africa
summerhill stud, south africa

For more information please visit :

www.summerhill.co.za

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14TH GROUP 1 VICTORY FOR GOLDIKOVA

Goldikova winning the Prix Rothschild
Goldikova winning the Prix Rothschild

Click above to watch Goldikova wiining the Prix Rothschild

(Image : ANZ Bloodstock News - Footage : Deauville)

PRIX ROTHSCHILD (Group 1)

Deauville, Turf, 1600m

31 July 2011

Champion mare Goldikova (Anabaa) won her 14th Group 1 race and fourth straight Prix Rothschild (Gr1) over 1600m at Deauville on Sunday.

Jockey Olivier Peslier gave Goldikova a supremely confident ride tracking her pacemaker for the first 1000m before easing her out into the clear and quickly putting three lengths on the field.

Sahpressa (Sahm) finished quickly for second, getting close to Goldikova as Pesilier eased the Champion right done on the line.

Timepiece (Observatory) was a further two lengths back in third after having every chance in the run. Sahpressa reversed the form with Timepiece on their last run when finishing second in the Falmouth Stakes (Gr1) over 1600m.

Trainer Freddie Head said, “I really have nothing to add and she is just a wonderful racehorse. Goldikova does everything in such a regular manner. She just does what she’s used to have been doing for such a long time. I think she might have been a little short of work when running second in the Queen Anne Stakes. The mare just loves Deauville.”

Peslier who was riding is 100th Group 1 winner said, “It was just a nice piece of work and I never touched her with my whip. She just needed pushing out and there was still plenty of gas left in the tank at the end of the race. She is an exceptional horse and just loves the ambiance when racing at Deauville.”

Extract from ANZ Bloodstock News

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FULFILLING PEDIGREE POTENTIAL

Sadler's Wells and Darshaan
Sadler's Wells and Darshaan

Sadler’s Wells and Darshaan

(Image : Sport Horse Data/Aga Khan Studs)

PEDIGREE INSIGHTS

Andrew Caulfield

For investors in high-class bloodstock, there was something very reassuring about the results of all three European Classics contested over the weekend. They all fell to animals that were fulfilling the Classic potential of both sides of pedigrees, as all three are by stallions with previous Classic winners to their credit, and all three come from families that had produced winners of the Epsom Derby or Oaks.

The Investec Oaks went to Dancing Rain, who became the first mile-and-a-half Classic winner for Danehill Dancer, following his Group 1 Classic successes over a mile with Speciosa, Again and Mastercraftsman. Dancing Rain also became the third female Classic winner out of a daughter of Indian Ridge, this particular daughter of Indian Ridge being Rain Flower, a three-parts sister to the 1992 Epsom Derby winner Dr Devious.

Next in the sequence came Pour Moi, whose startling last-to-first effort provided Montjeu with his third winner of the Investec Derby in the space of seven years. Those seven years have also seen three other Montjeu colts win the Irish Derby and another two win the Grand Prix de Paris (many people’s idea of France’s true equivalent to the Derby). Consequently, Montjeu has unrivaled claims to being Europe’s most prolific source of mile-and-a-half Classic colts.

Pour Moi’s third dam is Northern Dancer’s famous daughter Royal Statute, who also ranks as the second dam of Snow Bride, the filly awarded the 1989 Oaks prior to becoming the dam of the 1995 Derby winner Lammtarra.

Finally, the Prix du Jockey-Club fell to the unbeaten Reliable Man, whose sire Dalakhani won the same race in the days before its distance was shortened. Some would argue that victory should have gone to another son of Dalakhani, the slow-starting Baraan, but that doesn’t change the fact that Dalakhani now has three Classic winners from his first four crops, the others being Conduit (St Leger) and Moonstone (Irish Oaks). Dalakhani’s crops haven’t been as large as those of some of his rivals - his three Classic winners come from a total of 288 foals in his first four crops.

Reliable Man’s Classic connection on his dam’s side comes from his second dam Fair Salinia, winner of the Oaks in 1978 before adding the Irish equivalent with the help of the stewards.

The other common denominator between Pour Moi and Reliable Man is the presence in their pedigrees of Sadler’s Wells and his old rival Darshaan. Whereas Pour Moi is by a son of Sadler’s Wells and has a dam by Darshaan, Reliable Man is by a son of Darshaan and has a dam by Sadler’s Wells.

Extract from Thoroughbred Daily News

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EARLY WINTERS FOR EUROPE

snow at normandy stud
snow at normandy stud

Winter montage at the stud farm of Xavier and Nathalie Bozo in Normandy

(Photo : Normandy Stud)

An early winter in France

greig_muir_2_thumb.jpg

Article By: Greig MuirIn a country where the Pyrenees and Alps are favoured haunts for many partaking in the sport of skiing, the winter has come as a delight. Much of the French landscape has been turned into a picturesque scene, with occupants, or as the French would say la citoyen de cheval on many of the major French Breeding farms finding the snow equally appealing.

Most of Europe has been hit by unseasonal early winters, which has turned the countryside into a winter wonderland. Weather conditions forced the postponement of weekend racing at Fairyhouse in Ireland, a meeting set to feature leading favourites for the Cheltenham Festival next year.

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WORKFORCE REDEMPTION IN PRIX DE L'ARC DE TRIOMPHE

workforce winning the qatar prix de l'arc de triomphe
workforce winning the qatar prix de l'arc de triomphe

Click above to watch Workforce winning the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (Gr1)

(Photo : Guardian - Footage : Vision Direct)

QATAR PRIX DE L’ARC DE TRIOMPHE (GR1)

Only a handful of horses have won the Epsom Derby by as much as Workforce’s seven-length margin and none had covered the mile-and-a-half distance faster, but such brilliant displays have proved to be false dawns in the past and he needed to reproduce that level of form to enter into champion territory.

Workforce (King’s Best) had hung back and looked uncomfortable previously when runner-up in the Dante Stakes (Gr1) at York on 13 May and when he dropped out in Ascot’s home straight to finish nearly 17 lengths behind Harbinger (Dansili) in the King George the vibes were becoming increasingly negative.

With that in mind, the Sir Michael Stoute stable went down to brass tacks and his recent racecourse spin at Sandown - which was not received with glowing reports from those present - was the only public sighting of the Classic hero subsequently. For those who kept the faith in the time-honored Stoute magic, they were rewarded with a starting price that looked impossible in the immediate aftermath of the Derby.

Kept tight to the rail by Ryan Moore early, he had only a handful of rivals behind at the top of the “false straight,” but had gone the shortest way round and that proved a crucial factor as he started his challenge before the quarter pole. Lope de Vega, who had headed the field at the top of the stretch, was tiring when getting the worse of the interference which caused the lengthy enquiry - and which was eventually judged to have been caused by the subsequently - disqualified seventh Planteur (Danehill Dancer) - as Workforce surged alongside him. With Nakayama Festa and Masayoshi Ebina of El Condor Pasa fame now in front, Workforce had to grind and in a few yards he had put his head in front before answering every call from his rider in a pulsating finale.

“He was back to his best today,” winning jockey Ryan Moore said. “We got a nice run through and when it all got a bit tight at the top of the false straight, there was half a gap there and he was very brave and really quickened into it well. The Japanese horse kept at him, but he kept doing enough and has a great attitude. Ascot wasn’t him - this was only the fifth race of his life and he’s won a Derby and an Arc.” His conditioner added, “Ryan blames himself for Ascot and felt he should have switched him off more, but I think I may have trained him too hard for the race. I said that to Prince Khalid afterwards and I think I was proved right on that, so we took a different path this time. I don’t know if I’m likely to train him next year, but I’d love to.”

Extract from Thoroughbred Daily News

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