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JOHNNY MURTAGH RETIRES

johnny murtagh
johnny murtagh

Johnny Murtagh / RTE (p)

“MURTAGH QUITS THE SADDLE TO FOCUS ON TRAINING”

Johnny Murtagh has called time on his illustrious riding career to concentrate on his training business.

Murtagh took out his trainer’s licence last May and continued to ride with great success, winning four Gr.1 races, including the Gr.1 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes aboard Novellist (Monsun), on whom he was a late substitute for William Buick. He also trained and rode Royal Diamond (King’s Best) to victory in the Gr.3 British Champions Long Distance Cup at Ascot.

Murtagh commented: “The training side of things is getting bigger all the time and I wasn’t happy giving the riding 50% and the training 50%. It’s the right time to call it a day with the riding and put everything into the training side of things.”

The 43-year-old was Irish champion rider five times and was renowned as a jockey for the big occasion. He rode over 100 Gr.1 winners and was successful in each of the five Irish Classics, winning the Irish Derby four times and the Irish Oaks on six occasions, including last year aboard the Alain de Royer-Dupre-trained Chicquita (Montjeu).

Murtagh also rode three winners of the Derby at Epsom aboard Sinndar (2000; by Grand Lodge), High Chaparral (2002; by Sadler’s Wells) and Motivator (2005; Montjeu), and was successful in the 2,000 Guineas twice aboard Rock Of Gibraltar (2002; Danehill) and Henrythenavigator (2008; Kingmambo). The jockey had an excellent record at Royal Ascot, taking the leading rider award at the summer showpiece meeting for a fifth time last year.

Extract from European Bloodstock News

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TACKY TACK

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum
Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum

(Photo : Steroid-Use.com)

“It seems though, that there is some genuine substance underlying these stories…”

In the ongoing repeat saga of the presence of drugs in a horse yard associated with Dubai’s ruler, Sheikh Mohammed, it now appears that a consignment of drugs contained in a box marked “horse tack” was intercepted on a flight of the Sheikh’s private jet. For several years now, there have been stories circulating about drugs and the Sheikh’s horses, and most of us in the industry have tended to dismiss it as part of the tall poppy syndrome that cuts the legs out from under those at the top of the tree. It seems though, that there is some genuine substance underlying these stories, the latest of which was reported in the Guardian.

An illegal shipment of unlicensed veterinary goods was seized from a Dubai government private jet by UK authorities at Stansted airport earlier this year, causing Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the UK’s leading owner of racehorses, to launch an internal investigation into his equine operations.

Thousands of pounds worth of unlicensed products - including steroidal injections, anaesthetics and anti-inflammatories that have been described as “potentially toxic and dangerous to horses” - were seized and destroyed by the UK Border Agency and the Veterinary Medicines Directorate on 3 May at 7pm following the arrival of a Dubai Royal Air Wing flight. Sheikh Mohammed is monarch of the gulf emirate, as well as the owner of Godolphin, the country’s largest Flat racing operation.

Her Highness Princess Haya, the sheikh’s junior wife and president of the International Federation for Equestrian Sports, has been ordered to conduct a thorough investigation into the seizure at the airport and a separate raid by the VMD last month at Moorley Farm in Newmarket, a location owned by his Darley Management operation, where a number of similar products were found.

The Guardian understands Sheikh Mohammed is extremely concerned at the development which comes only months after his Godolphin thoroughbred operation was rocked by the biggest doping scandal in racing history.

The shipment seized at Stansted, reportedly labelled incorrectly as “horse tack”, did not include any anabolic steroids. However, there were significant quantities of goods understood to be for use on endurance horses and the VMD, in conjunction with the Royal College of Veterinary Surgeons, is investigating the matter. A full inventory of the seized products has been seen by the Guardian and forwarded to Godolphin and the British Horseracing Authority. Neither would confirm its accuracy.

A spokesman for Princess Haya told the Guardian: “Nobody seems to know in the organisation who is buying what or where. That’s one of the reforms that they want in place. We’re trying to find out what happened, why it happened and to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”

Keith Chandler, the president of the British Equine Veterinary Association, said some of the products seized at Stansted were potentially dangerous to horses and should be “kept under lock and key in a safe”, while the VMD stated that the medicines “were not authorised in the UK and had not been imported in accordance with the regulations”.

Chandler said: “Some of these medicines are not only toxic if they are misused but they are potentially dangerous to the horses. They really are medicines that should not be on the premises of any horse owner, no matter how experienced.

“They definitely should not, under absolutely no circumstances whatsoever, be found on an owner’s premises. There are powerful sedatives and anaesthetics on the list, there are powerful painkillers and one of the products is toxic and dangerous to humans as well. They are clearly being used to treat and medicate horses.”

Among the products seized at Stansted were 100 Tildren injections, a substance that is used by vets for horses with bone problems. “This is not just a matter of importing a few horse warmers, this was a considerable operation in terms of importing medicines,” Chandler said. “These medicines should be kept under lock and key in a safe.”

Princess Haya’s spokesman insisted that Sheikh Mohammed was unaware of the presence of the pharmaceuticals on the flight from Dubai on 3 May or the raid at Moorley Farm until now. “I can assure you that Sheikh Mohammed was not aware of any such products in the cargo of any Dubai Royal Air Wing flight into Stansted on that date,” he said.

It is the second time this year that Sheikh Mohammed’s operations have been engulfed in controversy. In April the disgraced former Godolphin trainer Mahmood al-Zarooni was banned for eight years by the BHA after using anabolic steroids on 22 racehorses at Moulton Paddocks in Newmarket. The BHA insists the Stansted seizure was not related to racing, citing assurances given by the VMD.

Sheikh Mohammed said he was “appalled and angered” by Zarooni’s actions, with a swiftly completed BHA report declaring that the trainer acted “autonomously” and that the doping programme was the work of a rogue individual rather than a collective operation.

Princess Haya, who will step down as president of the FEI in November 2014 after the conclusion of her second four-year term in the role, sent out a directive on 12 September to the major components of Sheikh Mohammed’s equine operation, including Darley and Godolphin, to establish a centralised auditing system in order to maintain control over the purchase and movement of veterinary goods.

She was set to have met Lord Stevens Tuesday, the former Metropolitan police chief who also headed the FEI Clean Sport Commission, to discuss her investigation.

On 7 August the VMD, an agency within the government’s Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, seized 124 products from Moorley Farm in Newmarket. Jaume Punti Dachs, a Spanish endurance trainer based at the stable who has trained horses for Sheikh Mohammed and is also a member of the FEI endurance committee, said there was no “wilful or careless wrongdoing at his yard” and that the products were “all substances you can buy in the UK”.

However, in a directive seen by the Guardian, Princess Haya has called on all individuals at various organisations within the hierarchy of Sheikh Mohammed’s endurance and racing structure “to ensure that there is no breach of regulations”.

She wrote: “I wish for all managers to accept the responsibilities that their position bestows on them and to ensure that all efforts are made to protect the good name of the Maktoum family at all times.” Michele Verroken, the director of Sporting Integrity and former head of ethics at UK Anti-Doping, believes Princess Haya must find out which members of the Sheikh’s organisation were responsible for the infringement and “hold them accountable”.

She said: “This reminds us that continued vigilance to counter illegal importation is essential to prevent sport being corrupted. Customs and border agencies make a major contribution to the enforcement of sports’ rules as well as national laws.

“As president of the FEI, Princess Haya has an important role to pursue the truth, to find who is responsible and to hold them accountable.”

The BHA insists there is no link between the seizure at either Stansted or Moorley Farm and the racing industry.

Adam Brickell, the BHA’s director of integrity, legal and risk, said: “The BHA was notified of the seizure of veterinary care products, some of which are not licensed for use in the UK. Defra have confirmed to the BHA that they consider there to be no link between the seizure and the racing industry and that the products were not intended for use on thoroughbreds.”

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SOFTLY SOFTLY

Soft Falling Rain - Nayef Joel Stakes
Soft Falling Rain - Nayef Joel Stakes

Watch Soft Falling Rain winning the Nayef Joel Stakes (Group 2)

(Image : Sporting Life / Footage : Racing UK)

“Soft Falling Rain was having none of it,

punishing his foes with a pulsating drive for the line.”

Were you watching Friday’s racing at Newmarket in England? Igugu made her long-awaited return to the races, and Soft Falling Rain was being asked whether he was worthy of a place in the line-up for the mile championship of Europe, Ascot’s Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (Gr.1).

Let’s begin with Igugu. She’d been off the racecourse for five months following hormonal complications from which she’s been suffering ever since she went into quarantine on departure from South Africa in early 2012. On Friday, she was running at a distance short of her best, and while the news from the yard was that she’d “turned the corner”, there was no doubt, she’d need the run. If you don’t mind, we’ll revisit our remarks in these columns after she’d followed up her July win with victory in the J&B Met.

“In the days leading to the Met, there was all manner of conjecture on her condition in the popular press, most of the doomsday variety. There were any number of warnings from those who supposedly knew better, but the public would have none of it. They nailed Igugu down solidly to favouritism; these were the converted, and the pilgrims were already in Jerusalem. In nine consecutive outings, she never looked like letting them down, and she wasn’t going to start now. Yet here was something different: she faced the cream of the nation’s athletic talent, she was going in half-cocked, and whatever her history, there are limits to all of us and what we can do.”

“When they turned for home, the 40,000 in the stands let rip. With 300 to go, there was no sign of Igugu, no fusillade of her customary gear changes. The crowd fell silent. In that instant, she lowered her head like she felt their anxiety, she gathered her limbs and summoned the last ounce of her will. Her body wanted to die, but her mind wouldn’t let it. The commentator was now in staccato mode. Nine strides from the post, any one of three others looked the winner. Igugu lunged at them, Bravura turned his head to look at her. The fire in his eye seemed to dim. One should suspect humans who carelessly put words into the mouths of animals, but it appeared as though Bravura was saying “oh no, not you again”. As he slid off after the race, you could read the thoughts of Bravura’s rider, Anton Marcus. “I had her beaten, but when you’re dealing with Igugu, it’s always only half-over”. Igugu won by a growing neck. When Anthony Delpech dismounted, the champion journeyman dissolved in tears. It was love and pain and the whole darned thing. In an enchanted interlude, he wins the Met; it was all too much.”

“The crowd gave Igugu a standing ovation as she passed the post, with the yellow lights of the infield timing board showing she’d equalled the long-standing record, which meant Bravura must’ve come close too. But it was Igugu’s day, she owned Kenilworth as no horse had since Empress Club. Briefly, the sport had returned to its most glorious days. For a moment, the punt doesn’t matter. For a moment, a horse is queen. Legless, but standing. Wave after wave of cheering rushed over sunny Kenilworth, the horses and jockeys were exhausted. It had all been too brave.”

To be frank, we wondered then whether she’d ever come back. In the back of our minds, there was still some doubt, even now. Yet on Friday she took up the running after 600 metres, and for a moment, she drew away as if she were in her own division. Nothing but her lack of condition cost her the race. It seems she’s no longer hurting, and she’s no longer cycling: the will was there, just not the “vuma”. On this evidence, she’ll have her day again.

As for Soft Falling Rain, his was a masterclass. Briefly allow us a bit of sentiment, before we talk about his race. The Highlands-bred was sent to Summerhill after his purchase by Angus Gold in January 2011. He was a decent enough colt with an outstanding pedigree, but the fact that in a sale which saw many million Rand purchases and an average of R404,000, at R350,000, it can be said that he was no standout. It says something for Gold’s judgment that he saw the potential in this colt, because he never stopped improving physically from the day he arrived. By the time he left us, his education, whilst far from complete, was well on its way to revealing a racehorse.

On Friday, he made no bones about where he’s heading. Yes, he surrendered his unbeaten record in a relatively modest Group 2 at Newbury last up, and there were more than a few who suggested it was to be expected: after all, his form was suspect as it stood, being South Africa and UAE-oriented. On Friday, he stuffed a rag into the mouths of the doubters, powering away from the time he hit the front at the halfway mark, and posting the toughest of fractions all the way to the line. Those of us that know the Newmarket straight mile were always going to be concerned about how he’d handle the final two furlongs on the uphill slope, given that he may have been lacking the stamina this would demand. He was a Group One winner at “six”, let’s not forget. Soft Falling Rain was having none of it, punishing his foes with a pulsating drive for the line.

Much smarter judges than ourselves, including the on-course reviewer, dubbed it “world class”; he’d thrust himself right onto the world stage, lifting the esteem of Dubai form to the same level. The encouraging thing is, he’ll be better for the run, and he’ll make them pick up their feet at Ascot. Dawn Approach, Toronado, Sky Lantern, the lot.

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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IGUGU REGAINS CONFIDENCE IN LISTED ROSEMARY STAKES

Zurigha and Igugu - Rosemary Stakes
Zurigha and Igugu - Rosemary Stakes

Watch Igugu’s comeback run in the Rosemary Stakes (Listed)

(Image : Sporting Life - Footage : Channel 4 Racing)

SHADWELL INTERNATIONAL STALLIONS ROSEMARY STAKES (Listed)

Newmarket, Turf, 1600m

27 September 2013

Summerhill Ready To Run Sales graduate Igugu finished a close second in her comeback run under Pat Cosgrave at Newmarket on Friday, going down in the closing stages of the Listed Shadwell International Stallions Rosemary Stakes over 1600m to the Richard Hannon-trained Zurigha, ridden by Ryan Moore.

Igugu had not run since April and, after travelling smoothly, had made a bid for home two furlongs out, kicking two lengths clear. But Moore urged Zurigha to reel in the leader and go on to win by three quarters of a length.

Zurigha is owned by Saeed Al Tayer, chairman of Meydan racecourse, and Hannon suggested the Dubai World Cup Carnival was a logical target.

Igugu is also slated to run in Dubai again next season, and is also due to run one more time in Europe before shipping out to the UAE.

Whether that is at Ascot in the Qipco British Champions Series Fillies & Mares at Ascot next month remains to be seen.

“She’s run a genuine race against lesser quality but you can only bring them back by giving them confidence,” Mike de Kock said.

“She’s in the mile and a half at Ascot. We will know what the acceptors are on Tuesday to see the strength of the field.”

Extract from Mike de Kock Racing

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BAHRAIN BOMBSHELL

Sheikh Mohammed
Sheikh Mohammed

Sheikh Mohammed

(Photo : Sporting Life)

Latest drugs scandal casts shadow over Sheikh Mohammed

- the most powerful man in racing.

The seizure of a cache of 124 unlicensed veterinary medicines from the Sheikh’s stud is concerning for the sport of racing, writes David Yates.

It was back in June 1977 that the John Dunlop-trained Hatta won Brighton’s Bevendene Maiden Stakes to give Sheikh Mohammed his first victory as a racehorse owner. In the intervening years, the Sheikh, his family and associates have won thousands of races, including hundreds at the highest level and reshaped the landscape of the British turf. The universally accepted way of viewing the Maktoums’ patronage of racing (not once have I heard contrary sentiments expressed in public) is to see it as nearly four decades of beneficence. Racing is needy and the Maktoums are wealthy. We are lucky to have them, but in every relationship there is a tipping point.

On Tuesday, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs announced the seizure of a cache of 124 unlicensed veterinary medicines at Moorley Farm, part of Sheikh Mohammed’s Dalham Hall Stud estate in Newmarket. Moorley Farm is where endurance horses (who compete in long-distance events of up to 100 miles held in Britain and all over the world), not thoroughbreds, are housed, so the British Horseracing Authority immediately distanced itself from action. On Wednesday, the Maktoums’ endurance trainer Jaume Punti Dachs issued a statement to protest there was “nothing sinister” about the affair - although DEFRA has yet to conclude its report, and a criminal investigation by the police remains a possibility.

Whatever the outcome, clouds of suspicion have once more gathered over the link between unlicensed and therefore illegal substances, and the Maktoums’ interests in equine competition. Nobody should need reminding of the last episode; in April, Godolphin trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni was warned off for eight years for multiple anabolic steroids abuses to thoroughbreds under his care at the operation’s Moulton Paddocks stable in Newmarket.

Among them was Encke, the horse whose 25-1 victory in the 2012 St Leger (the horse’s post-race test at Doncaster was negative) robbed Camelot of a place in history as the first Triple Crown winner since Nijinsky. The Al Zarooni drug scandal was the most infamous in 500 years of horseracing (in this country), but the list of misdemeanours stretches further back. According to the International Equine Federation’s public records, since 2005, no fewer than 20 of Sheikh Mohammed’s endurance horses have been the subject of positive tests.

In 2009, the Sheikh himself was suspended for six months after samples taken from Tahhan, a horse he rode in endurance contests in Bahrain and Dubai, showed traces of the beta blocker guanabenz and the steroid stanozolol. Three years earlier, Ismail Mohammed, who now trains in Newmarket but who previously handled the family’s horses in Dubai, was banned for one year for doping two horses. Mubarak bin Shafya, best known in the thoroughbred world for saddling the Maktoums’ Gladiatorus and Eastern Anthem to a spectacular double on Dubai World Cup night in 2009, as well as employing Al Zarooni as his assistant, has twice been sanctioned for doping endurance horses, including serving a ban of two years.

In cases of transgression, the conclusion reached by both the British Horseracing Authority and the International Equine Federation was to pin the blame on the trainer, portrayed as a rogue employee prepared to break the rules in order to gain success and impress the boss. To many it will sound like heresy, or commercial suicide, to raise a questioning voice. After all, the racing interests of the Maktoum family and its associates are responsible for giving work to thousands within the industry.

It owns the deeds to vast swathes of property in Newmarket and elsewhere, and on these pages, John Berry, the Suffolk town’s erudite trainer, estimated that half of its racing employees would be hit if the Maktoums upped sticks and moved on to football or Formula 1. A Maktoum exodus would, in the short term, inflict severe harm on British horseracing. But a sport puts itself in a perilous place when one single interest becomes a behemoth - and all dissent is snuffed out.

Racing in Britain, like everywhere else, is built on a foundation of punter confidence, but that bedrock will turn to quicksand if the public perceive that some playing the game, by dint of the noughts in their bank account, are beyond the law. In the case of Dubai’s ruling family, the tipping point may not yet have been reached, but (whisper this quietly) it feels significantly closer than it did when Encke won the oldest Classic 12 months ago.

Extract from The Mirror

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ENGLISH RACING PAYS TRIBUTE TO SIR HENRY CECIL

Sir Henry Cecil memorial at Ely Cathedral
Sir Henry Cecil memorial at Ely Cathedral

English racing’s cognoscenti gathered at Ely Cathedral to pay tribute to Sir Henry Cecil

(Photo : Cambridge News)

SIR HENRY RICHARD AMHERST CECIL

11 January 1943 - 11 June 2013

Mick Goss - Summerhill CEO
Mick Goss - Summerhill CEO

Mick Goss

Summerhill CEOWe seem to have been doing more than our share of obituaries recently, though it might just be a fact of my own aging, and that of my contemporaries. Today’s is more a celebration than it is a mourning, as it’s in the nature of a memorial rather than a burial.

Yesterday, English racing’s cognoscenti gathered at Ely Cathedral, which was the late Sir Henry Cecil’s favourite piece of architecture. The assembly included riders who have served under the master trainer at Warren Place; Richard Quinn, Willie Ryan, Tony McGlone, Ted Durcan, John Lowe and Tom Queally, while the training fraternity present included Sir Michael Stoute, John Gosden, Johnand Ed Dunlop, Marco Botti, James Fanshawe and Roger Varian, as well as former assistants Luca Cumani, William Jarvis and David Lanigan. Also there were racing heavyweights Martin Pipe, Sir Robert Ogden, Lady Howard de Walden and Maria Niarchos, British Horseracing Authority Chief Executive, Paul Bittar; Simon Crisford and Clare Balding.

Heading the congregation of staff members were longstanding stalwarts Frank Conlon and Paddy Rudkin, while Prince Khalid Abdullah’s Racing Manager Teddy Beckett (Lord Grimthorpe), who sold us Stronghold, paid Sir Henry the ultimate tribute:

“If you were asked to paint a mural of the lifetime of Sir Henry Cecil, how on earth would you start this masterpiece?” Grimthorpe said. “To know Henry, you’d have to understand his closest friends were his horses. His maxim was ‘to feel our way, and let the horses tell us.’ Perhaps Henry’s greatest friend was Frankel, with apologies to all the others. Like all great friendships, neither would be the same without the other. He was a completely unique human being, whose legacy is recognized by all those here and by the millions around the world who loved him without even having had the good fortune to meet him.”

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DE KOCK'S THREE PRONGED INTERNATIONAL ATTACK

Real Solution and The Apache - Arlington Million
Real Solution and The Apache - Arlington Million

Watch The Apache in the Arlington Million (Group 1)

(Image : ESPN - Footage : TVG)

Arlington Park, Newbury and Turffontein

South African Champion trainer, Mike de Kock, executed a precise three pronged international attack spanning three continents Saturday, ending with a victory and two seconds. De Kock has gone where no man before him has dared and continues to raise the bar for his contemporaries.

The Apache stepped out in Chicago, USA for the Group 1 Arlington Million, whilst the unbeaten Soft Falling Rain went to post at Newbury, UK for the Group 2 Betfred Hungerford Stakes. First timer Siddharth stepped out at Turffontein.

Soft Falling Rain ended up losing his unbeaten record in the Hungerford Stakes going down to the John Gosden-trained Gregorian.

Owned by Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum, Soft Falling Rain was having his first start in 140 days and was sent off as the 9-4 favourite. Not that De Kock was too disappointed. He told At The Races on Sunday: “He gave 2lb to the winner and coming from the Southern Hemisphere was disadvantaged to the tune of 2lb to 3lb, which was not factored into the weight he carried. I thought it was a quality field and there was enough form in Group 1s to say it was a really good field. Like most of our horses with the way we prepare them he will come on with racing.”

De Kock has Soft Falling Rain entered in the Betfred Sprint Cup, the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes and Qipco Champion Stakes.

The Apache, impressive in the Arlington Million, passed the post first but lost it in the boardroom.

A typically sporting De Kock, who watched the race on the internet in the UK, said: “When I saw the head-on replay of the finish, I knew we were in trouble. There was one movement off the fence and then he kept on going, with his stick in the left hand, it definitely unbalances the other horse. If I had been in their position and got beaten, I’d have felt aggrieved. That’s the game.”

The trainer said he would now aim The Apache at the Qipco Champion Stakes on 19 October.

Ironically it was the lowest profiled of his three runners that was to win. Siddharth made his debut in the final race at Turffontein, a Maiden Plate run over 1400m, and registered a promising victory under Marco Van Rensburg after being backed.

Extracts from Sporting Post

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ANY COLOUR YOU LIKE, AS LONG AS IT'S RED

Ferrari Club
Ferrari Club

Click above to view photos of the Ferarri Club’s visit to Summerhill and Hartford…

(Photos : Annet Becker and Greig Muir)

“THE RED ARMY”

Mick Goss - Summerhill CEO
Mick Goss - Summerhill CEO

Mick Goss

Summerhill CEOI was down at the Final Call stable block on a “refreshingly cool” Saturday morning, when I heard the unmistakable growl that precedes the start of a Formula One Grand Prix. Potholes generally preclude racing cars from inhabiting our neck of the woods, so I immediately thought it had to be a Nampo (as in “national maize producers organisation”) harvest day, with all the big machines that such a procession involves. There’s a stone-clad arch that frames the entrance to the yard, and as I glanced through it, the old wrought iron gates that announce your arrival at Summerhill, were being gently thrust aside to accommodate the “Red Army”. Greg Petzer, the man behind Astrapak’s sponsorship of the old Republic Day Handicap in 2002, was in the lead Ferrari, and there was nothing behind him worth less than a million, with some of them commanding sums in the vicinity of “five”. The difference, as we pointed out to these “magnificent men in their flying machines”, is that a stallion of that value can return you several million Rands a year tax-free, while the dividend on their side is that guttural “bark” and the adrenalin rush that turns big men into little boys. One day perhaps, we might be able to trade the badge on their Ferraris for a proper horse on his hindlegs, but we’re a subtle bunch here, as you know, and we desisted from any direct hints.

We’ve witnessed the launch of new models of Range Rover, BMW, Mercedes Benz and Bugatti motorbikes here at Hartford, we’ve seen streams of “Harleys”, vintage cars and horse buggies across these storied paddocks, but this was new history in the making. Not only for Ferraris’ trademark “red”, but especially for the quality of the “fillies” these aging fellows had in tow! There’s an old saying from Richard The Lionheart’s days about what “the outside of a horse does for the inside of a man”, but there’s something about the outside of a Ferrari that a woman just cannot resist!

Across the waves, Mike de Kock was at it again on Saturday. Haydock Park was the scene, the Rose Of Lancaster Stakes (Gr.3) was the race. In yet another display of the greatness of Galileo, his sons filled the first three places, headed up by De Kock’s charge, David Livingstone who’d apparently battled with all sorts of afflictions in a previous life. De Kock is nothing else if not a genius, and we can only imagine what sort of magic elixir was at work in taking down the colours of Telescope, whose talents have enjoyed the much-chronicled praise of no less a man than Sir Michael Stoute.

We sms’d the maestro, congratulating him on his win with “the missionary”. He snapped back, saying it was like cheating. “I had two jocks, Johnny Murtagh and the good Lord”, to which we responded: “If it came down to a straight choice, we’d have to go with Murtagh: though in the case of an objection, it pays to have the Almighty in the saddle”. There’s no knowing what Mike de Kock will say when he next meets up with David Livingstone.

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"HIGH" IS AS "HIGH" DOES

Toronado - Sussex Stakes
Toronado - Sussex Stakes

Watch Toronado winning the Sussex Stakes (Group 1)

(Image : RTE - Footage : Racing UK)

QIPCO SUSSEX STAKES (Group 1)

Goodwood, Turf, 1609m

31 July 2013

Mick Goss - Summerhill CEO
Mick Goss - Summerhill CEO

Mick Goss

Summerhill CEOJust this past weekend, we witnessed the victory in the Darley Irish Oaks (Gr.1) of a filly called Chicquita, who arrived at The Curragh the best-performed maiden in Europe. The problem was not talent, it was a waywardness which had seen her depart the track at right angles on her previous start, after claiming the lead in the Group One in France. This is where jockeyship counts, and in the event, Johnny Murtagh made no mistake in the closing stages of the Oaks.

There is little knowing what lies ahead for this talented daughter of Montjeu, because for her, her Classic supremacy marked just the end of the beginning. If pedigree counts, and those who’ve made it in this family are anything to go by, Chiquita is in for a long and satisfying ride. Among others, hers is the illustrious family of Alexandrova, Magical Romance, Dunka, Doyen, etc. Classic performers of note, and from a Summerhill point of view, she’s a close relative of Golden Sword, who joined the roster to much acclaim last season.

Wednesday at Goodwood, the Sussex Stakes (Gr.1) saw the coming together of three of the best three-year-olds in the world. Dawn Approach is officially the highest rated racehorse on the planet at the moment, Declaration of War was a commendable winner of the Queen Anne Stakes (Gr.1), while Toronado had run Dawn Approach to the shortest of short heads on their previous meeting in the St James Place Stakes (Gr.1) at Royal Ascot.

The betting suggested though, that it really was a match between Dawn Approach and Toronado, and that’’s the way it turned out. Both horses need careful handling, though on the evidence so far, it seems that Dawn Approach (outside of his Derby effort) is the more straightforward, and at least Kevin Manning had him worked out. Toronado on the other hand, had been asked to run variously at the front, in the middle, and at the back, and nobody outside of Richard Hannon and Richard Hughes had any inkling of what tactics they would adopt.

In the event, Dawn Approach settled comfortably into third, while Toronado settled in the rear, tracking Declaration Of War. The pace was on from the start, and as they neared the bend to the Goodwood straight, it picked up to the speed of sound. Dawn Approach grabbed the initiative, surging away and looking the winner a long way. On Toronado, Richard Hughes was as still as a corpse, and as they went through the two furlong pole, I was beginning to think he was riding him “crook”. Still he sat, and it wasn’t until they hit the final furlong that he set Toronado loose. I’ve seen many great races in my time, but I can honestly say, this one matched the best of them, as Toronado swept relentlessly by the champion, to beat him going away by the best part of a half to three quarters of a length. It was breath-taking, the kind of race that makes people feel good, and the sport seem grander.

Again, from a Golden Sword perspective, Toronado is a son of High Chaparral, the only stallion since his own sire Sadler’s Wells, to get six Group One winners from his first year at stud. Earlier this year, another High Chaparral progidy, It’s a Dundeel, swept the Australian Triple Crown, and now Europe is sitting with a star for the ages. Salutary news for those who were smart enough to get a mare to Golden Sword in his maiden season.

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IRON HORSE TECHNOLOGY

Await The Dawn
Await The Dawn

Await The Dawn

(Photo : Summerhill Stud)

Excerpt from the forthcoming Summerhill Sires Brochure 2013/2014.

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mick goss
mick goss

Mick Goss

Summerhill CEOThere are moments in racing you never forget. Like Secretariat’s Belmont, like Frankel’s Queen Elizabeth, Horse Chestnut’s J&B Met. Two years ago, Ireland’s Kilternan Stakes was the scene for a piece of thoroughbred theatre. It was the Group race debut of a leggy, pimple-faced colt whose biological third birthday was still in front of him. The grapevine in racing is notoriously short around good horses, especially in Ireland, where the papal injunction has guaranteed big families, and there are many mouths to feed. The word from Ballydoyle was so strong, it had penetrated every pub and fairy fort worth reaching, from Thomastown to Tipperary.

Await The Dawn did not disappoint. By the time the gates opened, he was deep in the red, and he made the bookmakers pay. Easing down by nine. Never again till his illness at York, would punters see better than odds-on. The turf’s accountants know a good thing when they see it, and here was a very good thing.

Urbanization and its attendant congestion, has changed the face of horseracing wherever the sport is celebrated. We all know though, that England’s fans are sticklers for tradition, and the one thing they’ve preserved at the Chester racing festival, is the daily parade of the combatants through the city streets. The racecourse is one of those idiosyncrasies of British life, a throwback to Roman times, when it served as a harbour for slave-driven galleys. Its tight turns are more like a chariot track than a racecourse, more a coliseum than a park.

Chester’s Huxley Stakes is the setting for Await The Dawn’s next encounter and this time, the “bookies” take no chances. This fellow is “box office”. The demolition that follows is reminiscent of the naval battles that brought the Romans to these shores in the first place. As they turn, he delivers a withering sprint: with fully a furlong to run, the chequered flag comes out. It’s like the moment the big stranger steps through the saloon doors and the plinky-plunk piano dies. The new sheriff looms in the rush. Now it’s flying fists, smashed whisky bottles, and the stranger crashes through the plate glass window. This movie obviously hasn’t reached its final reel. We aren’t the only ones that see it this way. Await The Dawn “is clearly ready for Group One company now”, says Timeform.

Now for Ascot. The “Royal” version, that is. The best sporting idea the English ever had. Older than all the football clubs in Europe; older than Ashes cricket; older, for that matter, than the nation of South Africa. The Aussies call theirs “the race that stops the nation,” which is right enough, because the Melbourne Cup has been known to suspend the federal parliament. But Royal Ascot, the brainchild in 1711 of Queen Anne, stops the world for a week. True-blue racing people the world over, want to be seen among the toffs at Royal Ascot; better still, they want to be winning at Royal Ascot. Best polish up the sliver-tipped cane, and dust off the spats.

With a history dating to 1879, the Hardwicke Stakes is the dress rehearsal for Britain’s greatest weight-for-age contest, The King George VI and Queen Elizabeth II Stakes. You should know, if you’re up for the Hardwicke, you’re stepping into big shoes: Rock Sand, Sceptre, Ormonde, Tristan, Oscar Schindler, Stanerra, Jeune, Doyen, Scorpion, the list is endless. Just the year before, the hero was Harbinger, the world’s highest rated racehorse, bar none. For any steed with so few miles on his clock, it will take a “Tom Cruise” performance to make this mission possible. Clearly, the public think Await The Dawn is Tom Cruise; they hammer him down to odds-on again. By the time the bugle calls them to post, there is money in the air, big money, and a small share in the horse is traded at a big price. As you might expect, the field is lousy with class. In the parade, there are three Group One winners, and some of the finest blood money can buy. To own this field, you need to own a bank.

Among the picnics in the car park, you know there is something big brewing: that combination of bliss and despair that makes racing so memorable. Hendricks and tonic in the veins, a whiff of revolution in the air. They go off respectably enough, but within a furlong, you can see our man isn’t handling the heavy track, though he isn’t short of desire either. On the far outside, he’s never been on “slop” before, and he makes the first turn badly; for a moment, he’s like a semi-trailer in a sideways skid. This is where jockeyship counts. Lesser men might’ve been distracted or given to self-pity, but Ryan Moore is proof of Noel Coward’s observation that the secret of success is the ability to overcome adversity. He steadies the ship.

Reassured by his pilot, Await The Dawn is wide, but now he’s in cruise mode, back in the field but comfortable. Perfectly poised up front is the trio of Group One foes, unaware of the lurking danger. The first to move is Campanologist, who’s tasted the glory three times before. Here, you need to be smarter than your lunch, otherwise you are the lunch: Ryan Moore is playing the predator. Everyone can see what he’s going to do to Ted Durcan’s horse. Campanologist is kind, Await The Dawn is a killer. Ears pricked, he breaks his adversary’s spirit in the straight. Quickly, clinically. The rest are broken-hearted.

We were beginning to think this could be the best middle distance horse in the world. It’s clear the European’s thought so too: they backed him down to thirteen to eight for his first assignment at the highest level. The destination was York, the outcome was dull. Yes, he was third, but he was desperately sick. “His illness was life-threatening. When he recaptures his best form, he will surely win a Group One”. Strong words from Europe’s most respected rating agency. Truth is, they’d seen all they ever needed to see.

He is never the same again, but it doesn’t matter. We’ve also seen all we needed to see. Await The Dawn is a product of the best blood of two of the best stud farms in the world. His father was nicknamed the “Iron Horse”. His son has shown he could run with the best on a brick road, into a headwind, with a tailwind, in a weight-for-age and at the top of a handicap. Now he’s shown he can break hearts on a bog track. This is “Iron Horse” technology. Test him whenever you want, whatever the weather.

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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DAWN APPROACH CLAIMS ST JAMES'S PALACE STAKES

Dawn Approach wins the St james's Palace Stakes
Dawn Approach wins the St james's Palace Stakes

Watch Dawn Approach winning the St James’s Palace Stakes

(Image : RTE - Footage : At The Races UK)

ST JAMES’S PALACE STAKES (Group 1)

Ascot, Turf, 1609m

18 June 2013

Just 17 days since his blow-out in the G1 Epsom Derby, Godolphin’s Dawn Approach (Ire) (New Approach) paid the ultimate tribute to the informed guile of his intuitive trainer Jim Bolger when winning the G1 St James’s Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot. After a pulsating war of attrition with the rival who should have been his main threat in the G1 2000 Guineas, Toronado (Ire) (High Chaparral), placed himself back on the mantle that his breeder and conditioner had placed him as early as his G2 Coventry Stakes victory here 12 months ago.

Dawn Approach’s career has been against the grain for most of the way so far, including a surprise debut win for a colt with his pedigree in the opening five-furlong maiden at The Curragh last March followed by his defeat of more precociously-bred rivals in the Coventry at this meeting. While the route was more predictable afterwards as he took the G1 National Stakes at The Curragh and Newmarket’s G1 Dewhurst Stakes and 2000 Guineas, a tilt at the Derby was another diversion from the obvious. Due to his ability to successfully adapt to whatever test he sent to contest, the majority believed that the blue riband was a dream within reach and the answer remains in the ether after he wrecked his opportunity just yards from the start of this one.

Having said he would not be going to Ascot, the Irish maverick u-turned as he had with the colt’s sire ahead of the Derby five years ago, and it was up to the flashy chestnut to provide the justification for that choice and deflect the critique that was certain to come Bolger’s way if failure was the outcome.

For much of the first half of this contest, the tension rose for connections as he teetered on the edge under Kevin Manning once again, but with Leitir Mor (Ire) (Holy Roman Emperor) setting the honest sprinter-miler fractions he needs, the extravagance was successfully contained. Following the move of Magician (Ire) (Galileo) as they turned for home, he was the victim of scrimmaging as Glory Awaits (Ire) (Choisir) jinked into the Ballydoyle raider, causing interference to both the winner and patiently-ridden runner-up at the quarter pole. Undeterred, the dominant duo set down for the duel to the line and, although Toronado held a slight edge for a few yards inside the final furlong, it was Dawn Approach who had that extra ounce of reserve.

“The Derby was a big blow to everybody and so disappointing, so to come back and do that is fantastic,” said winning jockey Kevin Manning. “He took a bit of a bite and lit up again, but I arrived there full of running and thought I was going to do it well only for the horse on the inside to come out and catch me in the girth. Once I got my head in front, he was always holding the runner-up. He’s very gutsy and determined and a real battler. He was very impressive in Newmarket and it was a shock at Epsom - I still can’t make head nor tail of it, so have drawn a line through it and moved on. I always felt he was a horse who would go beyond a mile, but we tried it and it didn’t work.”

“The biggest risk is not taking the risk,” commented Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, in reference to the Bolger’s late decision to run. “Jim bred the horse and knows the horse very well, so when he decided to run, we all supported him. That proved to me that he’s the best miler in the world.”

Jim Bolger added, “The nature of the sport is that you take chances and sometimes they work and sometimes they don’t, but Sheikh Mohammed was a very willing risk-taker. He’s very tough and hardy and was fortunate to survive that knock. I knew he wouldn’t let me down.”

Extract from Thoroughhbred Daily News

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ROYAL ASCOT WITH BARRY IRWIN

Barry Irwin - Royal Ascot
Barry Irwin - Royal Ascot

Barry Irwin

(Photo : Supplied)

THE QUEEN ANNE STAKES (Group 1)

Courtesy of Thoroughbred Daily News

The build up to Animal Kingdom’s appearance tomorrow in the opening race of the 2013 Royal Ascot meeting has been remarkable to watch unfold, as the racecourse has generated an unbelievable amount of interest in the challenge undertaken by our horse.

The media has been all over our horse and his unusual story, everybody jumping on the circumstance of AK being the first Kentucky Derby winner since 1935 hero Omaha to race at Royal Ascot. If you don’t believe me, Google it! The Depression Era Derby hero has replaced Omaha Steaks as the most searched item in all of Nebraska! The British are nothing if not worldly; after all, they tried to run the world for a long, long time. So they know a sporting challenge worthy of the name when they see one.

The international aspect of the various connections has really intrigued them, what with a home-grown English lad as the trainer, a legendary Puerto Rican as the jockey, a Kentucky horseman as the breeder, an Australian stud master as the majority owner and the ruler of Dubai as a racing and breeding partner. Toss in the international nature of a Brazilian sire and a German dam and the global profile is complete.

I spent the first part of the day doing the mundane, making sure I had enough clean clothes to last the rest of the week and picking up my Morning Suit from Moss Brothers on Regent Street (Ano, I don’t want to try it on again to make sure it fits!). Joe Drape and I were the only diners at an Indian restaurant down the block from the Corus Hotel, where last summer my wife Kathleen and I stayed when we attended the track and field portion of the Olympic Games.

This evening, Asprey’s (which makes trophies for such diverse and iconic sporting events as Wimbledon and the Dubai World Cup), hosted many Ascot connections at a cocktail party at their store on Bond Street, right across the street from Ralph Lauren’s shop, where polo shirts for men can be had at a mere 50% more than they cost in Manhattan. People keep asking me if I am nervous, or if I am getting excited yet, and what does it feel like? I usually only get nervous when I am anxious.

Anxiety is fear of the unknown. I experience it when I do not have a good feeling about how a horse will do. God knows that Animal Kingdom is facing plenty of unknowns tomorrow: running for the first time in a straight course, racing on an undulating course for the first time, racing in England for the first time and dropping from 10 furlongs on a Tapeta track to turf, on which he will try to win his first race at a distance as short as a mile.

I was apprehensive about the straight course before arriving in England, but I must tell you that after watching him work twice on an uphill straight, I am buoyed with confidence and I don’t expect to be nervous tomorrow. What I do think will happen, is about a minute or two before the race kicks off, I will experience a tiny electric shock beneath my tongue that has occurred countless times, beginning when I used to participate in track in high school. It is the anticipation of competition. Competition is why we brought Animal Kingdom to Ascot.

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DE KOCK-A-HOOP

Mike de Kock
Mike de Kock

Mike de Kock

(Photo : British Champion Series)

KING’S STAND STAKES (Group 1)

Ascot, Turf, 1006m

18 June 2013

The Aussies like to refer to the Melbourne Cup as “the race that stops a nation”. That’s right enough, because it has been known to interrupt Parliament, too. But the Brits have a festival that stops a racing nation for a week: Royal Ascot, and it starts next week.

South Africa has a runner, a big one, and the ANZ caught up with Mike de Kock on the prospects for Shea Shea in Tuesday’s King’s Stand Stakes (Gr.1).

Yesterday morning, while out for a pick of grass in front of the media, his trainer answered questions on his preparation. Shea Shea won the Al Quoz Sprint (Gr1, 1000m) at Meydan in March and has been based at Abington Place in Newmarket since. “The British public make this meeting, their enthusiasm over the five days is amazing,” de Kock began. “He [Shea Shea] is looking well and his work has been fantastic. He came out of his race in Dubai in pleasing fashion and had a few weeks off afterwards. I am really happy with him; he is looking well in his coat, which is important with him being a Southern Hemisphere horse who should be changing his cycle, and the fact that the weather here has been a bit chilly.

“I believe he is the real deal. He can be difficult when going to the start and can get fired up before his races but we will be prepared and are looking forward to the race. His ideal ground is in the firmer spectrum but I am not too worried about it.” With the unpredictable weather present during British summer time, the ground can often be a worry for international contenders and Chris Stickels, Clerk of the course at Ascot, was available yesterday to give everyone an update on the current conditions.

“We have had a dry start to June so we have been putting on a little bit of water and I think the ground should be good when I return to the track this afternoon. The outlook over the next few days is unsettled and although we are expecting thunderstorms on Sunday and Monday, next week should mainly be dry. Ideally the ground on Tuesday will hopefully be good, good-to firm range and it will be if the forecast is correct. We will not need to water again if this is the case.”

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THE WORLD SPRINTING CHAMPIONSHIP

Shea Shea wins Al Quoz Sprint
Shea Shea wins Al Quoz Sprint

Watch Shea Shea winning the Al Quoz Sprint (Group 1)

(Photo : Virendra Saklani - Footage : Dubai Racing Meydan)

“Big deals get big men excited,

but racehorses can turn big men into little boys.”

Anyone who witnessed Brian Joffe’s embrace of Mike de Kock after the Shea Shea massacre in the Al Quoz Sprint (Gr.1) on World Cup night, will know what we mean when we say that racehorses do strange things to us. Big deals get big men excited, but racehorses can turn big men into little boys.

The news from England is that Shea Shea is the ruling favourite for both the King’s Stand Stakes (Gr.1) and the Golden Jubilee Stakes (Gr.1) for international racing’s smartest get together, Royal Ascot. If you want to make a statement on the world stage, Royal Ascot is your chance, and it’s a compliment to the son of National Emblem that he should be at the top of the boards against some of the finest sprinters in the world. There’ll be no excuses this time, as the Aussies and the Yanks both have entries, so if you’ve never taken time off to see The Queen, make a date now. The horse is reportedly in great shape, and should be raring to go.

The news though, on Highlands-bred Soft Falling Rain is not that encouraging, though we’ve not heard it from the “great within”, so treat it as such. It seems he has battled to adapt to the uphill gallops at Newmarket, having grown up on a diet of the flat ever since a saddle was thrown across his back. He was educated by a subtle team at Summerhill, and found his way to Randjiesfontein, where Mike de Kock and his team introduced him to the “gentle art” for the first time. Forays to Durban and Dubai changed nothing from a training perspective, but Newmarket is famous for its hills and climbs, and it seems he may not yet be ready for this assignment. Let’s not jump the gun though: he’s in the hands of the best professionals in the world, and with them, anything is possible.

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RACING MOURNS THE PASSING OF SIR HENRY CECIL

Sir Henry Cecil
Sir Henry Cecil

Sir Henry Cecil

(Photo : Evening Standard)

SIR HENRY CECIL

1943 - 2013

Sir Henry Cecil, one of Britain’s most successful trainers of all time, has died. He was 70 and had battled stomach cancer since 2006. The Warren Place conditioner registered 25 British Classic wins, and had lately guided the unbeaten Frankel (GB) (Galileo).

“It is with great sadness that Warren Place Stables confirms the passing of Sir Henry Cecil earlier this morning,” reported sirhenrycecil.com. “Following communication with the British Horseracing Authority, a temporary licence will be allocated to Lady Cecil. No further update is anticipated this afternoon.”

Born near Aberdeen in 1943, 10 minutes ahead of his brother David, who died in 2000, Cecil took out his trainer’s licence in 1969 and registered his first British Classic win with Bolkonski (Ire) (Balidar) in the 1975 G1 2000 Guineas, following up a year later with Wollow (Ire) (Wolver Hollow). Frankel became his third 2000 Guineas winner in 2011. He also won four renewals of both the G1 St Leger and the G1 Epsom Derby, winning the latter with Slip Anchor (GB) (Shirley Heights), Reference Point (GB) (Mill Reef), Commander in Chief (GB) (Dancing Brave) and Oath (Ire) (Fairy King).

Cecil, who was Knighted by The Queen for services to horseracing in 2011, was renowned for his record with distaffers and tallied six victories in the G1 1000 Guineas and eight in the G1 Epsom Oaks. He was crowned Britain’s champion trainer on 10 occasions, with the lastest of those titles in 1993, and amassed a record 75 Royal Ascot winners.

Despite the lack of a Group 1 success in the early part of the millennium, Cecil was resurgent when Light Shift (Kingmambo) bagged the 2007 G1 Epsom Oaks, but the best was saved until last. His career reached a pinnacle through his association with the unbeaten Frankel, who claimed 10 Group 1 events in an unbeaten 14-race career.

Extract from Thoroughbred Daily News

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RULER OF THE WORLD RULES INVESTEC DERBY

Ruler Of The World - Investec Derby
Ruler Of The World - Investec Derby

Watch Ruler Of The World winning the Investec Derby (Group 1)

(Image - ODT - Footage : Racing UK)

INVESTEC DERBY (Grade 1)

Epsom Downs, Turf, 2423m

1 June 2013

Impressive when winning the May 9 Group 3 Chester Vase, Ruler of the World (Ire) (Galileo) entered the Group 1 Investec Derby as the 7-1 second-favored of the Ballydoyle quintet and emerged on top under jockey Ryan Moore for trainer Aidan O’Brien.

Settled towards the rear early, the bay who sported cheekpieces as he did at Chester, surged to the front passing the quarter pole and kept grinding to beat the strong-finishing Libertarian (GB) (New Approach) by 1 1/2 lengths, with Galileo Rock (Ire) (Galileo) a short head behind in third.

“We feel very lucky to be standing here,” John Magnier said. “This is what it’s all about. That’s why the Derby is such an interesting race, as its all unfolding and we didn’t know where they were this year because of the weather.”

Dawn Approach (Ire) (New Approach) was lit up from the outset and his refusal to settle meant that he was a spent force by the time the quarter mile pole was reached, ultimately finishing last.

Extract from Thoroughbred Daily News

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THE ROAD TO THE BLUE RIBAND

Ruler Of The World win Chester Vase
Ruler Of The World win Chester Vase

Watch Ruler Of The World winning the Chester Vase

(Image : The Times - Footage : Almaged KSA)

“Have you ever been to Chester?”

mick goss
mick goss

Mick Goss Summerhill CEOThe racecourse is one of those follies that sprang from England’s most creative period, shaped from the bowl of an ancient Roman harbour with an intimacy from its one mile round course that is matched only by the Champs de Mars in Port Louis. And as only the British would, on race days the contestants march ceremoniously through the heart of the city to what the early Britons christened the “Roodeye”. My grandfather always said: “If you’ve never raced at Chester, you’ve never raced at all,” and that’s probably true of what all English fans would say. At this time of the year, Chester holds two of England’s time-honoured Derby trials, the Chester Vase and the Dee Stakes, the former arguably the more successful in the deliverance of Derby aces, though South Africans will remember that it was his victory in the Dee Stakes that secured former Champion sire, Royal Prerogative’s passage to Cape Town.

Among the Vase’s celebrities of the modern era are Henbit, who went on to a six length end-to-end triumph in the “big one”, and Shergar, the Aga Khan’s ill-fated champion who remains to this day Epsom’s favourite son. In 1989, Old Vic waltzed off with the Vase, and followed up with stunning victories in the French and Irish equivalents. Summerhill has its own recent connection with the event in the race’s imperious winner of its 103rd renewal, Golden Sword, who subsequently chased the world champion Sea The Stars to just over two lengths in the Investec version of the Derby.

While he’s not quite what his name suggests yet, Ruler Of The World was this week’s hero of the Vase. It is so, that he has taken longer than his illustrious half-brother, Duke Of Marmalade, to create an impact on the track, but on this occasion he looked as if he was ready to make up for lost time, with a power-packed display. Remember, the race is staged within the narrow circumference of an old sailing boat harbour, so the straight is less than 300m, which meant our hero had to conserve his jet fuel ‘til they’d straightened. In a matter of strides he hit top gear, and drew clear for an emphatic fourth win for Aidan O’Brien’s Ballydoyle yard in the past six years. In the saddle, Ryan Moore mentioned he was still a bit green, but once he got a hold of the horse, he lengthened really well. Part-owner, Paul Smith, added: “Aidan thinks quite a lot of him. He’s been working well at home, but we thought he might still be a little babyish. I think with the tight-turning track and the crowd, it was a good choice, and it paid dividends.”

This colt, who hails from the illustrious family of A.P. Indy, Lemon Drop Kid and Al Mufti, is now two for two, and who knows, his name may yet prove prophetic.

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PEDIGREE PUZZLES

Dawn Approach - 2000 Guineas
Dawn Approach - 2000 Guineas

Dawn Approach wins the QIPCO 2000 Guineas

(Photo : RTE)

“There is good reason for thinking that Dawn Approach

will not be troubled by a mile and a quarter”

It’s that time of the year again, when streams of conjecture from pedigree pundits pondering the stamina limitations of Classic prospects are the order of the day. The debate rages no more furiously anywhere than it does in the United States, primarily as it’s Kentucky Derby time, and since the bulk of American horses are bred for speed, there’s always the question of whether their stamina will stretch the ten furlongs of their most famous race.

Strangely enough, for a country that has an hereditary obsession with these arguments, the British have been uncharacteristically quiet, more likely because most horses in those realms are bred for the Derby trip, and it’s usually their class that makes them effective at anything less than a mile and a half. Indeed, for a country that was once renowned for the lightning elements of the Grey Sovereign, Gold Boss, Golden Cloud, Vilmorin, Abernant and Mummy’s Pet lines, there is a distinct dearth of out-and-out speed in European pedigrees these days. A top sprinter is more likely to be an errant child from a heritage that screams “stamina”, than he is to have been bred for the job, hence the regular decimation by the Australians of the region’s leading exponents of the art of speed in the King’s Stand Stakes (Gr.1) and the Golden Jubilee Sprint (Gr.1) most years at Royal Ascot.

Saturday’s Two Thousand Guineas (Gr.1) hero, Dawn Approach, has woken the gurus from their slumber however, with his imperious 5 length triumph in the 205th running of England’s first Classic, because his pedigree at least suggests there may be a few chinks in his stamina armoury, and hence his appetite for the Derby distance.

Andrew Caulfield who’s been around a long time, and is one of the world’s leading students on the subject, yesterday provided his dissection of Dawn Approach’s prospects of doing so. As usual, he is delightfully insightful. But most of these fellows have a knack of occupying the top of the fence when it comes to putting their reputations on the line, and Andrew’s left us wondering again. So you be the judge!

Jim Bolger’s outstanding record as a trainer has shown time after time that he is not hidebound by convention. If a horse appears to be ready to run, he is happy to run it, even if other trainers would hesitate because of the animal’s bloodlines. This has been highlighted by the records of the five colts which have taken the Dewhurst Stake (Gr.1) for Bolger over the last seven years, as none of them made his debut later than July 16. Parish Hall was out as early as April 10, despite being inbred 3x3 to Sadler’s Wells, and Saturday’s admirable 2000 Guineas winner Dawn Approach started his career even earlier, on March 25. These early starts also allowed Bolger to give his colts the wealth of experience which often proves so valuable in the top events, with all five racing at least five times at two.

I guess that ungenerous observers might say that some of these colts paid the price for their early exploits, as neither Teofilo (Galileo) nor Parish Hall (Teofilo) was able to race at three and Intense Focus (Giant’s Causeway) ran only twice after his busy first season. However, New Approach proved to be a model Thoroughbred and is now a highly exciting sire, with the unbeaten Dawn Approach leading the way.

Of course the excitement about New Approach started last year, when Dawn Approach’s Coventry Stakes (Gr.2) win was part of an unprecedented stakes treble for a first-crop sire at Royal Ascot, the other victories coming via Thair and the short-lived Newfangled.

While these three proved that New Approach is perfectly capable of siring precocious juveniles, I suspect that they may be exceptions to the rule. No other stakes winners emerged from New Approach’s subsequent 2-year-old runners in 2012, but he notched up his fourth stakes winner when the stoutly bred Talent took the Pretty Polly Stakes (L) two days ago.

As with many a winner of the 2000 Guineas, the question now is whether Dawn Approach has the necessary stamina for the Derby. I might as well admit now that I have my doubts, but I am delighted that Dawn Approach’s connections apparently intend to let him take his chance. Bolger has been an advocate of Equinome’s genetic testing system, designed to evaluate a racehorse’s stamina potential. It seems, though, that he is still prepared to go along with the old trial-and-error process which has stood racing in good stead for hundreds of years.

When Brough Scott interviewed Bolger for Racing Post Sunday in March, Scott explained that the system categorizes a horse’s stamina capabilities, from a TT for middle-distance to a CC for sheer speed. “Galileo was a TT, but he had class,” Bolger explained. “The ideal for a Classic horse is CT. New Approach was a CT, while Dawn Approach is a CC. I trained his dam who had talent, although she got injured, but she was by a sprinter, so the Derby distance is unlikely. But as he settles so well, I would not rule it out entirely.”

It is essential to remember that stamina cannot be accurately assessed without taking temperament into account. A hard-puller is never going to stay as far as expected. Equally, a phlegmatic temperament and a willingness to settle can sometimes allow a horse to stay further than anyone might have predicted. One of the most extreme examples that I can recall was Lord Helpus, a horse trained by Barry Hills nearly 40 years ago. This colt was by Green God, a high-class performer who did all his winning over five or six furlongs. Golden Cloud, the broodmare sire of Lord Helpus, was another specialist sprinter and so were Golden Cloud’s sire Gold Bridge and Vilmorin, sire of Lord Helpus’ very speedy second dam, Poplin. Lord Helpus seemed to be fulfilling his destiny when he showed consistently useful form over sprint distances at two. However, an amenable temperament encouraged Hills to move the colt up in distance at three, when Lord Helpus achieved a Timeform rating of 111 in scoring twice over a mile. The 4-year-old Lord Helpus then showed even further progress, when he achieved his finest victory in the Princess of Wales’s Stakes (Gr.3) over a mile and a half.

Of course the stamina had to come from somewhere, the most obvious sources being Green God’s grandsires Nasrullah and Guersant, both of whom just about stayed a mile and a half. Clearly, this latent stamina eventually proved more potent than the fast blood in Lord Helpus’ pedigree. So will the presence of one very fast horse in Dawn Approach’s pedigree, his broodmare sire Phone Trick, be more influential than the fact that his next three dams are daughters of Pleasant Colony, Alydar and Sea-Bird II?

In case you’ve forgotten, Pleasant Colony won the Kentucky Derby and Preakness before siring several high-class performers over a mile and a half, including Colonial Affair (Belmont Stakes G1), Denon (Turf Classic G1) and St Jovite (winner of the G1 Irish Derby and King George for Jim Bolger). Alydar was a fine second in each of Affirmed’s Triple Crown wins, running him to a head in the Belmont Stakes. And the majestic Sea-Bird still has strong claims to being the finest mile-and-a-half horse in living memory.

To get back to Phone Trick, fast horses inevitably predominate among the good winners produced by his daughters, good examples being Zensational, Old Topper and Universal Form. Fortunately for Dawn Approach’s admirers, there are exceptions to the rule, the finest being Unbridled’s daughter Exogenous. With a G1 Kentucky Derby and G1 Breeders’ Cup Classic winner as her sire, Exogenous stayed well enough to triumph in a pair of Grade 1s over a mile and an eighth and she was also runner-up in Grade 1s over a mile and a quarter and a mile and a half (appearing not to stay the latter distance). Then there’s Eye of the Tiger, a Grade 2 winner over 1 3/16 miles, and Connected, a Grade 3 scorer over 1 1/8 miles.

Therefore, there is good reason for thinking that Dawn Approach will not be troubled by a mile and a quarter, but only the racecourse test will tell us whether he can also excel over the Derby distance. It is worth pointing out that the late great Vincent O’Brien was of the opinion that a mile and a quarter was the optimum distance for some of his English and Irish Derby winners. Sheer class can help eke out a colt’s stamina, and Dawn Approach certainly has that, so I think the idea of putting him to the test in the Derby is the right one, no matter what the result. Dawn Approach’s dam Hymn of the Dawn cost no more than $18,000 as a weanling. She failed to win in five attempts and her dam Colonial Debut also retired winless after eight starts. Even his third dam Kittihawk Miss, won only once in seven starts. Don’t get the wrong idea, though. The 2000 Guineas hero comes from a female line which has achieved a great deal. Colonial Debut’s best effort was her Tale of the Cat colt Galantas, a smart miler who earned the equivalent of over $300,000. Dawn Approach’s fifth dam is Ole Liz, a winner of six of her 12 juvenile starts back in 1965. As a daughter of Double Jay and Islay Mist, Ole Liz was a sister to Bourbon Mist, and both these sisters proved very influential producers.

The Newstead Farm Dispersal in 1985 provided abundant evidence as to Ole Liz’s talents. Her daughter Kittiwake, now the fourth dam of Dawn Approach, realized $3.8 million at the age of 17. Kittiwake’s daughters Larida and Miss Oceana sold for $4million and $7million, respectively. Dawn Approach’s third dam, Kittihawk Miss, was a sister to Miss Oceana, whose record stood at an impressive 11 wins and 6 seconds from 19 starts. Good enough to win five of her six juvenile starts, Miss Oceana progressed to boost her total of Grade 1 wins to five, including one over a mile and an eighth. She also finished third in the CCA Oaks over a mile and a half. Kittiwake was 21 when she foaled the last of her four stakes winners, the Group 1-winning Nureyev colt Kitwood, who stayed a mile and a quarter in France. Kittiwake is also the second dam of Magic of Life, winner of the G1 Coronation Stakes. Ole Liz is also the third dam of Film Maker, a highclass turf filly who scored at up to a mile and a half.

Dawn Approach isn’t the only proof that this female line is still flourishing; other recent Grade 1 winners being Aruna (a Mr. Greeley filly descending from Kittiwake who scored at up to 1 3/8 miles) and Love Theway Youare (2012 Vanity Handicap). Beaconaire, another of Ole Liz’s daughters, produced the high-class filly Sabin, who collected Grade 1 wins in the Yellow Ribbon Stakes and Gamely Handicap. Bourbon Mist’s daughter Fire Water bred the champion filly Life’s Magic, whose wins included the G1 Breeders’ Cup Distaff, and Bourbon Mist is also the third dam of two very different types in Europe, namely Nuclear Debate, a top sprinter, and the stamina-packed Amilynx, twice a winner of the G1 Prix Royal-Oak.

Dawn Approach Pedigree
Dawn Approach Pedigree

Extracts from Thoroughbred Daily News

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DAWN APPROACH DOMINATES QIPCO 2000 GUINEAS

Dawn Approach - QIPCO 2000 Guineas
Dawn Approach - QIPCO 2000 Guineas

Watch Dawn Approach winning the QIPCO 2000 Guineas

(Image : CNN - Footage : Racing UK)

QIPCO 2000 GUINEAS (Group 1)

Newmarket, Turf, 1609m

4 May 2013

After a few days that have done much to derail the Godolphin train, one of the operation’s finest buys of recent times Dawn Approach (Ire) (New Approach) sprung to the rescue with a dominant display in Saturday’s Group 1 QIPCO 2,000 Guineas.

Briefly threatened for favoritism in the betting market beforehand and in the race itself by Toronado (Ire) (High Chaparral), the unbeaten Dawn Approach, who had already garnered the Group 2 Coventry Stakes, Group 1 National Stakes and Group 1 Dewhurst Stakes, settled the so-called “match” in a matter of strides heading down into Newmarket’s “dip”. Surging away up the rising ground, the 11-8 favorite scored by five lengths from the enterprisingly-ridden 150-1 outsider Glory Awaits (Ire) (Choisir) and in doing so justified his breeder and trainer Jim Bolger’s description of him as “awesome” earlier this spring. More importantly, he was also providing Bolger’s Coolcullen yard with a long-overdue first success in this Classic.

“I didn’t expect him to win by five lengths, but was very impressed and, as you, the press, would say, I am blown away,” the elder Statesman of the Irish training ranks said. “He can only improve from here, as he has been very lazy at home and it has not been easy to get the right amount of work into him and be kind at the same time.”

Extract from Thoroughbred Daily News

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QIPCO 2000 GUINEAS SET TO BE A CRACKER

Toronado
Toronado

Toronado (High Chaparral)

(Photo : Sporthorse Data)

QIPCO 2000 GUINEAS (Group 1)

Newmarket, Turf, 1609m

4 May 2013

Dawn Approach (Ire) (New Approach) will face 12 rivals in tomorrow’s Group 1 QIPCO 2000 Guineas at Newmarket, with his stable companion Leitir Mor (Ire) (Holy Roman Emperor) among them.

Jim Bolger has opted to keep that Group 1 Dewhurst Stakes second in the line-up to run alongside his unbeaten champion, who will exit from the six hole, and not wait for the following Sunday’s Group 1 Poule d’Essai des Poulains at Longchamp.

As expected, Lines of Battle (War Front) was scratched in favor of the Grade 1 Kentucky Derby and he was the sole withdrawal from the original six-day declarations. His barnmate Cristoforo Colombo (Henrythenavigator) was declared with first-time cheek pieces and is drawn in 11, one inside Sheikh Joaan bin Hamad Al Thani’s unbeaten Group 3 Craven Stakes scorer Toronado (Ire) (High Chaparral).

David Armstrong and Cheveley Park Stud’sGarswood (GB) (Dutch Art) has drawn eight as he attempts a mile for the first time and he was impressive when capturinga formerly-important Guineas prep in the Listed European Free Handicap over seven furlongs at the track 17 days ago. Trainer Richard Fahey is hoping his demeanor will help his cause when it comes to stamina.

“You are never confident until you have a go at a mile, but he’s a very relaxed horse now,” Fahey commented. “We’ve kept him relaxed this year and he looks like he’ll get it, but we’ll see. He’d go on any ground, but like most trainers we don’t want it extreme - we don’t want it very firm. Other than that, any ground will be okay by me. It’s fantastic for everybody and we’re all excited - it’s great for us to have a live outsider in a Classic.” Tony Hamilton will be having his first ride in a Classic, but Fahey has full confidence in him. “Tony has got great belief in the horse and has ridden him in all his work and has ridden him in all of his races bar one, so it was never in question he would ride him in the Guineas,” he added.

Ground conditions ahead of the Classic were described as good-to-firm, good in places and Clerk of the Course, Michael Prosser said, “The track walks extremely even and I am very happy with that. We will stick with putting the stalls in the middle for the Guineas. The 2000 Guineas has a cracking feel to it, but there is real depth there too.”

QIPCO 2000 Gunieas

Final Field

#

Horse

Sire

PP

Trainer

Jockey

1

CORRESPONDENT

Exceed and Excel

7

Brian Meehan

Paul Hanagan

2

CHRISTOFORO COLOMBO

Henrythenavigator

11

Aidan O’Brien

Joseph O’Brien

3

DAWN APPROACH

New Approach

6

Jim Bolger

Kevin Manning

4

DONT BOTHER ME

Dark Angel

2

Niall Moran

Martin Harley

5

GARSWOOD

Dutch Art

8

Richard Fahey

Tony Hamilton

6

GEORGE VANCOUVER

Henrythenavigator

10

Aidan O’Brien

Colm O’Donoghue

7

GLORY AWAITS

Choisir

4

Kevin Ryan

Jamie Spencer

8

KYLLACHY RISE

Kyllachy

9

Sir Henry Cecil

Tom Queally

9

LEITIR MOR

Holy Roman Emperor

13

Jim Bolger

Rory Whelan

10

MARS

Galileo

3

Aidan O’Brien

Seamus Heffernan

11

MOOHAAJIM

Cape Cross

5

Marco Botti

Adam Kirby

12

TORONADO

High Chaparral

12

Richard Hannon

Richard Hughes

13

VAN DER NEER

Dutch Art

1

Richard Hannon

William Buick

Extracts from Thoroughbred Daily News

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