Top French trainer Criquette Head-Maarek, best known as the trainer of champion mare and dual Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe winner Treve, has announced she is retiring from the sport. Head-Maarek, whose career has spanned 40 years, will saddle up her final runners on 1 February. However, she will not be lost to the sport and plans to spend more time at her family's stud, Haras du Quesnay in Deauville. "It was a tough decision to take, because it is always tough when you decide to change. It is a big change for me. I have been training since 1977, so 41 years," she told Sky Sports. "I've been very lucky to train for some wonderful owners, like the Wertheimer brothers, Juddmonte Farms and Prince Khalid Abdullah, Maktoum Al Maktoum and obviously my dad [Alec Head]," she told Racing Post. "For 40 years I've been lucky to have fantastic horses throughout, and I've enjoyed every minute of it. It was a hard decision to make, but I'm nearly 70 and it's time to stop."
A foal colt by Coolmore's Australian-bred sire Starspangledbanner was the headline act on day two of the Arqana Breeding Stock Sale at Deauville on Sunday when knocked down to Peter Morgan of Carmel Stud for €165,000, reports Racing Post. The well-related foal was purchased as a pin-hooking proposition and will be sold again next year. "We loved him from the moment we saw him. He’s the only foal we’ve bought this year and we think he’s something special. He’ll be prepped and aimed at Book 1 of the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale," Morgan said. The colt is the fourth foal out of the stakes placed Oasis Dream mare Torentosa, a half-sister to English Derby winner Wings Of Eagles. The day's turnover of €5,708,500 was 13% higher than in 2016, while the average price climbed 4% to €28,543. The clearance rate was an excellent 82%. The sale continues on Monday and Tuesday.
New Zealand's Paul Moroney was also active on day two of the Arqana Breeding Stock Sale at Deauville on Sunday going to €82,000 to secure the 5YO mare L’Acclamation (Acclamation-Lunaska, by Ashkalani). "She’s been bought for Trelawney Stud, one of the biggest studs in New Zealand. She will join their broodmare band, and she won’t be covered in Europe," said Moroney. "She’s a three-time winner and is a good model to be a broodmare. It’s a lovely family I’ve tried to buy into before.” From the stakes-placed Lunaska, L’Acclamation is a half-sister to stakes winner Luna Royale and the stakes-placed Lustre.
At Deauville in France, Darley's champion juvenile and Gr1 Blue Diamond & Gr1 Golden Slipper Stakes-winning sire Sepoy (Elusive Quality-Watchful, by Danehill) added an overseas black-type success when 3YO UK-bred filly Indian Blessing (Sepoy-Alpen Glen, by Halling) opened her stakes account when scoring by 2 lengths in the Listed Prix Petite Etoile (1900m), defeating Vintage Folly & Garance. Indian Blessing improved her record to 2 wins and 3 placings from 9 starts for £42,215 in earnings.
The catalogue for the Arqana December Breeding Stock Sale is now available online. Featuring a half-sister to champion mare and 2008 European Horse of the Year Zarkava (Zakia, Lot 197), and the only mare in foal to Triple Crown winner and US Horse of the Year American Pharoah to be offered for sale in Europe this season (Desiree Clary, Lot 200), the Sale will take place at Deauville from 9-12 December. A total of 953 horses have been catalogued, including 455 mares, 174 fillies, 319 foals and 4 stallions. Former star graduates of the Sale include Dialafara (Anabaa), the dam of Gr1 Irish Derby and Gr1 Irish St Leger winner Capri (Galileo), and Morning Light (Literato), dam of French Derby & French 2000 Guineas hero Brametot (Rajsaman). Click here to view catalogue.
It has been four years since Kerrin McEvoy rode his last top-flight winner for His Highness Sheikh Mohammed, but his next big race success in the royal blue could come as soon as Saturday when he rides Hartnell in the Gr1 Makybe Diva Stakes (1600m) at Flemington. McEvoy rode more than 500 winners around the world – including 29 Group Ones - for Sheikh Mohammed during a 12-year tenure with Godolphin that ended in 2014. Among his feature race wins were the 2005 Gr1 Prix Jacques le Marois at Deauville on Dubawi, and the Gr1 St James Palace Stakes at Royal Ascot on Shamardal. "It's pretty exciting to get the call up for such a high-quality horse as Hartnell," McEvoy told Godolphin.com. Hartnell, who was allocated top weight of 58kg for the Caulfield Cup when weights were released on Tuesday, is a dominant favourite for the Makybe Diva after scoring a brilliant first-up win in the Gr2 PB Lawrence Stakes (1400m) at Caulfield on 19 August. "He certainly showed he'd come back in the same form that he showed last spring," McEvoy said. "It was impossible to fault that win and he can only have been improved by it."
It sounds like the ode to a looming battle and looks likely to eventuate with trainer Martyn Meade confirming his exciting Frankel colt Eminent will likely return from a Gr2 victory last start in Deauville to take on Ballydoyle's boom colt Churchill in Saturday's Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown. According to skysports.com, having shown serious ability at the top level with a sixth in the 2000 Guineas [to Churchill], fourth in the Epsom Derby and fifth in the Coral-Eclipe, Eminent will be partnered by Champion hoop Frankie Dettori in his Irish mission which will likely be his season swansong. Meade commented on the task ahead, "I'm happy to take on Churchill, but there's Winter there as well, so we'll see. We're seriously considering it. The horse is in very good form and Frankie Dettori is booked to ride. I think the win in France did the horse a lot of good." 14 remain in the field at this point including Winter, the 1000 Guineas winning stablemate of Churchill. The Aiden O'Brien stable is also arming itself with Cliffs Of Moher, Lancaster Bomber, Taj Mahal and Hydrangea.
A total of 140 horses have been nominated for the $6 million Gr1 Melbourne Cup, with 33 of those emanating from the Northern Hemisphere, reports racing.com. Among the international entries were Ebor Handicap winner Nakeeta, Grand Prix de Deauville winner Tiberian, Belmont Gold Cup winner Red Cardinal, Prix de Kergolay winner Marmelo, Order Of St George and Curragh Cup winner Rekindling – the latter two both owned by Lloyd Williams. Irish master Willie Mullins has once again entered Wicklow Brave and last year’s Cup runner-up Max Dynamite. Melbourne Cup nominations are up 16 from 124 last year. First declarations are due by midday on 10 October. Click here to view the full list of Melbourne Cup nominations.
Meanwhile, the Alain Couetil-trained Tiberian confirmed plans for a tilt at the Melbourne Cup after scoring a strong win in the Grand Prix de Deauville in France overnight. The 5YO, who is part-owned by Darren Dance’s Australian Thoroughbred Bloodstock, will depart for Australia on 13 September in top form after he outstayed his rivals in the 2500m feature. “One of his qualities is his ability to be ridden forward or at the rear of the field. The plane tickets for Australia have been booked for a long time,” ANZ Bloodstock News reports Couetil as saying. Australian Thoroughbred Bloodstock principal Dance commented: “He’s a horse the team identified back in November as a potential horse for the Melbourne Cup this year.” He added: “Initially we thought we would target the 2018 edition, but he’s come on so well, he’s just improved and just keeps winning so he became a project for 2017. He’s had a great prep, four wins from five starts, it’s just outstanding really.” It was the fourth stakes victory and the sixth win overall for Tiberian, whose biggest previous successes were in the Gr3 Prix d’Hedouville (2400m) and Prix de Reux (2500m).
Prohibitive odds are sure to accompany outstanding Scat Daddy 3YO filly Lady Aureila when she lines up in tonight's Gr1 Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes at York, reports bloodhorse.com. With an enviable record of five wins from her first six starts, where only September's Gr1 Cheveley Park Stakes has denied her, Lady Aurelia already has a brace of Gr1 wins with the Darley Prix Morny at Deauville and Royal Ascot's Kings' Stand Stakes in her locker. Her main danger in the Nunthorpe looms as Dark Angel gelding Battash, out to make it four on the trot and in peak form after saluting easily in the Gr2 Qatar King George Stakes at Goodwood. Lady Aurelia is from a Gr2-winning Forest Wildcat mare, features a double cross of Storm Cat and is owned by powerful triumvirate including Stonestreet Stables. The icing on the cake for Lady Aurelia, should she win the Nunthorpe, is a fees-paid entry into the lucrative Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint at Del Mar in early November.
A seven-figure son of Darley's top stallion Dubawi dominated the second day of trade at Deauville's Arqana August Yearling Sale, the final of the catalogue's Part I before Part II. The vagaries of alphabetical order had resulted in the catalogue proving stronger on the opening session as opposed to a year ago, thus making for contrasted daily comparisons – the average price was up 38% on Day 1 and down 11% on Day 2. The cumulative figures over the first two nights offer a more accurate analysis. With a slightly more condensed catalogue, 122 yearlings sold out of the 160 offered through Part I, achieving an overall 76% clearance rate (80% in 2016). The average price reached a strong €240,008, up 12% from last year, while the overall aggregate slipped 2.9% at €29,486,000, with 17 less horses sold.
At the annual Arqana August Yearling Sale held in France's seaside port of Deauville, a triumvirate comprising Markus Jooste's Mayfair Speculators, Peter & Ross Doyle & Coolmore's MV Magnier was stretched to €950,000 to land the first session's sale-topping filly by world champion stallion Galileo. Consigned by Ecurie des Monceaux, who bred her with Skymarc Farm, Lot 51 is the sixth foal of her stakes-winning dam Prudenzia (by Dansili). From the family of Gr1 English Oaks heroine Alexandrova, herself a Gr1 class producer, Prudenzia's 2010 foal (by Montjeu) is Chiquita, winner of the Gr1 Irish Oaks and placed in Chantilly's Gr1 Prix de Diane & Ascot's Gr1 British Champions Fillies and Mares Stakes. Prudenzia's 2016 foal is also a filly by Galileo. Meanwhile, on Day-1 of the two day Arqana August Yearling Sale in France, strong demand was evident with 67 of the 82 yearlings catalogued changing hands at 81%, while the average price closed at €258,239, up significantly on 2016.
The win of Eminent in France on Tuesday has drawn attention to the future stud prospects of the beautifully bred Frankel colt, which could obviously include standing in New Zealand, reports NZ Racing Desk. Carrying owner Sir Peter Vela's famous Pencarrow Stud colours, Eminent appreciated a huge drop in class to post a dominant 3 length win in the Gr2 Prix Guillaume d'Ornano (10 furlongs) at Deauville. It was Eminent's second stakes victory after landing the Gr3 Craven Stakes on his 3YO debut, and follows creditable performances against the best of Britain's classic generation in the English 2,000 Guineas (sixth), English Derby (fifth), and Coral Eclipse Stakes (fourth). "It's in the back of Sir Peter's mind," said Pencarrow manager Leon Casey, referring to Eminent's future stallion career. "It's a fantastic result and Sir Peter has been a massive fan of Frankel right from the get go. He sent a couple of mares to him in the first season and one of his mare's Assume, a daughter of Fastnet Rock, is due to foal to him this year." Casey continued: "The horse has pretty much made a strong stallion case even now in either the Southern or Northern Hemisphere. His pedigree is outstanding." Eminent would undoubtedly prove highly popular with breeders in both hemispheres being out of the Gr1-placed You'll Be Mine (Kingmambo), herself a daughter of Gr1 Moyglare Stud Stakes heroine Quarter Moon who was also multiple Gr1-placed in the Irish 1000 Guineas, English Oaks and Irish Oaks.
Top-class French galloper Almanzor (Wootton Bassett-Darkova, by Maria's Mon) disappointed when finishing unplaced behind First Sitting on his long awaited comeback in the Gr3 Prix Gontaut-Biron Hong Kong Jockey Club (10 furlongs) at Deauville overnight. Crowned champion European colt last year, the three-time Gr1 winner had not raced since winning last October’s Gr1 Champion Stakes at Ascot due to a virus that swept through trainer Jean-Claude Rouget's yard in April. Trainer Jeane-Claude Rouget hinted retirement could be on the cards for Almanzor. "It is very difficult for Almanzor. It is so hard to bring a horse to a race like this after being stopped for ten months, it’s impossible,” he told Racing Post. “He rose to such heights at three it is difficult to get that back. You have to remember the best of times with him and they were really very good. The race at Leopardstown was the best field I have ever seen and he beat them all so well, you have to remember that when you think of his future as a stallion.” Rouget added: "No decision has been made and we’ll have to talk with all the partners, but he seems to have come back to the stables fine.”
Eminent showed why he is so highly thought of at home when strolling to an impressive win in the Gr2 Prix Guillaume d'Ornano (10 furlongs) at Deauville in France overnight. Carrying the Pencarrow Stud colours of owner Sir Peter Vela, Eminent appreciated the significant drop in class of Tuesday’s assignment having finishing sixth in the English 2,000 Guineas, fifth in the English Derby, and fourth in the Eclipse Stakes at his past three outings. With champion jockey Ryan Moore riding for the first time, the son of Frankel was sent straight to the lead where he remained throughout scoring by 3 lengths over Salouen & Avilius in the €400,000 feature. "He had a clear run and showed how good he is. I'm absolutely thrilled,” trainer Martyn Meade told Sky Sports. “I'm so thrilled for the horse. He's come through some difficult times and been thrown in the deep end, by me I have to say. He did it in great style. Beating a dual Classic winner in France is quite exciting stuff.” Meade added that Eminent may now be considered for the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. “We can all dream, can't we?” he said. “I do think he'd like that distance. I know him so well now, so it just depends how he is at home. If it's a possibility then I'd love to bring him back.” The beautifully related Eminent is out of the Gr1-placed You'll Be Mine (Kingmambo), herself a daughter of Gr1 Moyglare Stud Stakes heroine Quarter Moon who was also multiple Gr1-placed in the Irish 1000 Guineas, English Oaks and Irish Oaks. He improved his record to 3 wins (including the Gr3 Craven Stakes) from 6 starts.
Champion European colt Almanzor (Wootton Bassett-Darkova, by Maria's Mon) will make his long awaited return to the racetrack in the Gr3 Prix Gontaut-Biron Hong Kong Jockey Club (10 furlongs) at Deauville tonight, reports Racing Post. A three-time Gr1 winner, Almanzor has not been sighted since winning last October’s Gr1 Champion Stakes at Ascot due to a virus that swept through trainer Jean-Claude Rouget's yard in April. Almanzor, who is currently second favourite for the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe behind Enable, will be joined at Deauville by stable-mate and fellow French Derby winner Brametot. "It's a good opportunity because Almanzor is getting weight from most of his rivals," said Rouget. "He's taken his work well having galloped with Brametot last week. He's moving better and has got rid of the excess weight. Having missed the first half of the season I hope he can make up for it in the second part.”
Almost one year to the day since claiming his maiden top-flight victory, 4YO entire Beach Patrol (Lemon Drop Kid-Bashful Bertie, by Quiet American) broke through again when landing the US$1 million Gr1 Arlington Million (10 furlongs) at Arlington Park in the US on Saturday. Defeating favourite Deauville and long-shot Fanciful Angel, Beach Patrol advanced his record to 4 wins (including the Gr1 Secretariat Stakes) and 8 placings from 15 starts.
At Deauville racecourse in France, Emirates Park & Aquis Farm’s 5-time Gr1-winning shuttler Dream Ahead (Diktat-Land Of Dreams, by Cadeaux Genereux) sired his first Group One winner when 3YO Irish-bred colt Al Wukair (Dream Ahead-Macheera, by Machiavellian) scored by a thrilling short head for trainer Andre Fabre in the €700,000 Gr1 Prix Jacques le Marois (8 furlongs) for 3YOs, defeating Godolphin duo Inns Of Court (Invincible Spirit) & Thunder Snow (Helmet). Owned by Al Shaqab Racing, Al Wukair improved his record to 4 wins (including the Gr3 Prix Djebel) and 2 placings (including the Gr1 English 2,000 Guineas) from 6 starts. Fabre said more Gr1 targets await the winner. "I think the QEII at Ascot will be next for him,” Fabre told Racing Post. “We've the option to go a bit further, but let's see what the owner says. He's in the Champion Stakes too, but I think the Irish Champion Stakes could comes a bit soon."
At Deauville in France overnight, 5YO UK-bred gelding Brando (Pivotal-Argent Du Bois, by Silver Hawk) broke through for an overdue maiden top-flight success when scoring by 0.5 length in the €380,000 Gr1 Prix Maurice de Gheest (6.5 furlongs) for 3YO+, defeating Aclaim (Acclamation) & Tupi (Tamayuz). Brando improved his record to 7 wins and 8 placings (including the Gr1 July Cup & Gr1 British Champion Sprint Stakes) from 20 starts. "It's a great day. We're delighted with the horse," trainer Kevin Ryan told Sky Sports. "He ran a good race in the July Cup and he'd tightened up since. He got a great ride and he was exceptional today. We'll look at Haydock (Gr1 Sprint Cup on 9 September) next." Trainer Aidan O’Brien felt the race may have come too soon for the disappointing favourite Caravaggio who laboured into sixth. "Maybe I ran too close after Newmarket,” he said.
At Deauville in France overnight, Darley’s unbeaten European Champion juvenile & dual Gr1-winning shuttler Teofilo (Galileo-Speirbhean, by Danehill) added a Group success when 2YO filly Tantheem (Teofilo-Riqa, by Dubawi) led throughout for a convincing win in the Gr3 Prix de Cabourg (6 furlongs) for 2YOs, defeating Darkanna (Dark Angel) & Mister Picnic (Penny’s Picnic). Prepared by master French trainer Freddy Head on behalf of Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum's Shadwell Stud, Tantheem improved her record to 2 wins and 1 placing from 3 starts.
At Deauville in France overnight, 3YO US-bred filly Roly Poly (War Front-Misty For Me, by Galileo) posted her second consecutive top-flight victory when scoring a determined short neck win for trainer Aidan O’Brien in the €300,000 Gr1 Prix Rothschild (8 furlongs) for 3YO+ fillies & mares, defeating Via Ravenna (Raven’s Pass) & Siyoushake (Siyouni). Dual Gr1-winning filly and race favourite Qemah finished fourth. Owned by the Coolmore triumvirate of Derrick Smith, Sue Magnier & Michael Tabor, Roly Poly improved her record to 5 wins (including the Gr1 Falmouth Stakes & Gr2 Duchess of Cambridge Stakes) and 4 placings (including the Gr1 Coronation Stakes, Gr1 Irish 1,000 Guineas & Gr1 Cheveley Park Stakes) from 14 starts. "All through this season she has continued to progress and she put in her best ever performance today,” jockey Ryan Moore told Racing Post. “She tries so hard and she is a high-class filly who seems to thrive on her racing." Moore added: "I don’t know what’s next, but I imagine we will look at races like the Matron [Gr1] and the Sun Chariot [Gr1] back at Newmarket. I’ll leave that to the team." From the brilliant 4-time Gr1-winning filly Misty For Me (Galileo), Roly Poly is a half-sister to Gr3 wining US-bred mare Cover Song (Fastnet Rock).
Highly talented filly Madam Dancealot (Sir Prancealot-Sisal, by Danehill) added a valuable black-type success when winning the Gr2 San Clemente Handicap (8 furlongs) at Del Mar in the US on Sunday, reports Thoroughbred Daily News. After trailing in last position with significant work to do turning for home, the 3YO stormed down the centre of the track to score an impressive 1.75 length win over fellow fillies Lull (War Front) & Sircat Sally (Surf Cat) in the US$200,000 feature. "The way she was finishing the last two races on the grass down the hill at Santa Anita, I thought she could get a mile," said trainer Richard Baltas. "She's settled now, she's relaxed and when she was last down the backside, I was like 'Wow.' I know she can run and when a good horse gets settled like that they're going to run at the end, and she did." The Irish-bred Madam Dancealot improved her record to 4 wins (including the Gr3 Dick Poole Stakes) and 3 placings (including the Listed Special Goddess Stakes) from 12 starts for 169,497 in earnings. Madam Dancelot is by Europe's Champion Freshman Sire Sir Prancealot, who will shuttle from Tally Ho Stud in Ireland to Cornerstone Stud in South Australia this year. A precocious 2YO who won his first two starts including the Listed National Stakes, Sir Prancealot (Tamayuz) went on to run fourth in Gr2 Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot behind Dawn Approach and fourth in the Gr1 Prix Morny at Deauville before winning the G2 Doncaster Flying Childers Stakes on his final outing. He will stand at Cornerstone Stud at a fee of $16,500 (inc. GST).
Caravaggio, who surrendered his unbeaten record when fourth to Harry Angel in Saturday’s Gr1 July Cup, could make his next appearance at the top level in the Prix Maurice de Gheest (1200m) at Deauville on 6 August, reports Sky Sports. Trainer Aidan O’Brien is also not ruling out a trip to Australia for the inaugural $10 million The Everest at Royal Randwick on 14 October. "The lads will obviously decide what's next, but John (Magnier) was just saying that we might have a look at the Maurice de Gheest,” O’Brien said. "He was just saying that to me this morning, but we'll see how he is after a week or 10 days. I think the Everest (in Australia) is still on the table. If he went to France that could be very much so still.” O’Brien added: "After France the lads would have to make a decision what they want to do. Whether they want to go to Australia. I imagine if he was going there he would have to have a little break.” Caravaggio (Scat Daddy-Mekko Hokte, by Holy Bull), described by O’Brien as the fastest horse ever to pass through the famous Ballydoyle yard, has won 6 of his 7 starts, including Gr1 wins in the Commonwealth Cup and Phoenix Stakes.
Three weeks after running the closest of seconds in the Gr1 French Oaks (2100m) at Chantilly, 3YO Myboycharlie filly Sistercharlie has virtually replicated the performance in the US Gr1 Belmont Oaks (2000m) across the Atlantic. Ridden at the rear of the field after jumping from the outside gate, Sistercharlie produced a sustained finish that saw her make-up a dozen lengths on the leaders to fail by just a neck. A winner of the Gr3 Prix Penelope in April, the gifted daughter of Myboycharlie is now a Gr1 Oaks runner-up in the current European and North American 3YO Classic seasons. Sistercharlie is now expected to do the remainder of her racing in the US, but not until after a deserved northern hemisphere summer break. A €12,000 purchase at the Arqana Deauville October Yearling Sale in 2015, Sistercharlie earned US$185,000 for her Belmont Oaks second to advance her record to 3 wins and 2 placings from just 6 starts for over €465,000 (approx. A$700,000) in earnings. Myboycharlie will stand alongside fellow Bowness Stud stallions Bon Hoffa, Bullet Train (GB) and Walking or Dancing (NZ) this coming season at a fee of $8,800.
At Chantilly in France overnight, Arrowfield Stud's multiple Champion Australian Sire Redoute's Choice (Danehill-Shantha's Choice, by Canny Lad) added a Group success when 3YO French-bred filly Ibiza (Redoute’s Choice-Olga Prekrasa, by Kingmambo) opened her stakes account with a decisive 0.75 length win for trainer Nicolas Clement in the Gr3 Prix Chloe (9 furlongs) for 3YO fillies, defeating Monroe Bay (Makfi) & Dallas Affair (Soldier Hollow). Ibiza, who was a €100,000 purchase at the 2015 Arqana Deauville October Yearling Sale, improved her record to 2 wins and 2 placings (including the Listed Prix Melisande) from 4 starts. From the US-bred Kingmambo mare Olga Prekrasa, Ibiza is a half-sister to brilliant 2016 Gr1 Prix Jean Prat winner Zelzal (Sea The Stars). Ibiza is also a direct descendant of outstanding UK race mare and producer Crystal Palace. Crystal Palace, winner of the Gr1 Falmouth Stakes and Gr1 Nassau Stakes, produced three stakes winners at stud including six-time Gr1-winning stallion Royal Palace, winner of the 2,000 Guineas, English Derby and the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes, among others.
Royal Ascot winner Rajasinghe could run in the Gr2 July Stakes at Newmarket en route to a shot at Group One glory in France, reports Sky Sports. The 2YO Irish-bred son of star Australian sprinter Choisir, who created quite an impression when landing the Gr2 Coventry Stakes on the opening day of the Royal meeting, may use the July Stakes as a prep run for the Gr1 Prix Morny at Deauville in August. "We'll see how the week progresses, but he's potentially going to run in the July Stakes,” trainer Richard Spencer said. "Nothing is set in stone. He'll get an entry on Friday and we'll see how he is over the next 10 days or so.” He added: “If he does go to Newmarket next week that still gives us a bit of time before possibly going to Deauville for the Group One."
The Gr1 Prix Morny at Deauville in August has emerged as a possible target for Royal Ascot winner Rajasinghe, reports Sky Sports. The 2YO Irish-bred son of star Australian sprinter Choisir created quite an impression when finishing strongly to win the Gr2 Coventry Stakes on the opening day of the Royal meeting last week. "The plans are up in the air. We're going to see how he is this week regarding his cantering at home," trainer Richard Spencer said. "We've got the July meeting at Newmarket on our radar. There's obviously Goodwood and we've been talking of going to Deauville for the Prix on August 20.” Spencer said Rajasinghe had thrived since his Royal Ascot triumph. "There's not many will do what he's done. Since he came back, he's ate, slept and put on weight. He's phenomenal. He's come out of the race fantastic," he said.
On day two of the famous Royal Ascot carnival in the UK, former Coolmore shuttler Danehill Dancer (Danehill-Mira Adonde, by Sharpen Up) celebrated an elite race success when 4YO Irish-bred mare Qemah (Danehill Dancer-Kartica, by Rainbow Quest) quickened stylishly under jockey Gregory Benoist to score by 0.75 length for trainer Jean-Claude Rouget in the £200,000 Gr2 Duke of Cambridge Stakes (1600m) 4YO+ fillies & mares, defeating Aljazzi (Shamardal) & Usherette (Shamardal). The Al Shaqab Racing-owned Qemah advanced her record to 5 wins (including Gr1 Prix Rothschild, Gr1 Coronation Stakes & Gr3 Prix de la Grotte) and 5 placings (including the Gr1 Matron Stakes, Gr1 Poule d'Essai des Pouliches & Gr1 Prix Marcel Boussac) from 10 starts for £638,745 in earnings. "We were very happy before the race and I hope she'll run good races for the rest of the season,” trainer Jean-Claude Rouget told Racing Post. “She'll go to Deauville for the Rothschild [Gr1] next."
On day one of the famous Royal Ascot carnival in the UK, Haunui Farm shuttler Iffraaj (Zafonic-Pastorale, by Nureyev) celebrated an elite race success when 4YO entire Ribchester (Iffraaj-Mujarah, by Marju) set a new track record when scoring a comfortable 1.25 length win for trainer Richard Fahey in the Gr1 Queen Anne Stakes (1600m) for 3YO+, defeating Mutakayyef (Sea The Stars) & Deauville (Galileo). The Godolphin-owned Ribchester improved his record to 5 wins (including the Gr1 Lockinge Stakes, Gr1 Prix Jacques le Marois, Gr3 Jersey Stakes & Gr2 Mill Reef Stakes) and 6 placings (including the Gr1 Sussex Stakes & Gr1 English 2,000 Guineas) from 12 starts for £1,970,592 in earnings. "This is Royal Ascot, you win here and we're very happy," said Sheikh Mohammed, who was celebrating the 40th anniversary since his first winner in Britain. Jockey William Buick said: "He's a pretty awesome horse, he travels so well and sees it out so well. I believe he broke the track record, but I believe he has more to give.” Trainer Richard Fahey said the Gr1 Sussex Stakes was likely to be Ribchester’s next target. “The Sussex has got to be under consideration," he told Ra cing Post. "The race he won in France [Prix Jacques Le Marois] is ten days after, so it's one or the other, but I like the sound of the Sussex."
Displaying a racing style that leaves little margin for error, outstanding Irish-bred colt Brametot (Rajsaman-Morning Light, by Law Society) teased his supporters until the dying strides of France's €1,500,000 Gr1 Prix du Jockey Club (2100m) for 3YOs at Chantilly (see below). Sent out the $2.70 favourite for the French equivalent of the Derby off the back of a hat-trick that included May's Gr1 Poule d'Essai des Poulains at Deauville, the Al Shaqab-owned colt ranged up to join a wall of horses 200m from home before inching ahead in the shadows of the post. Beaten a short-head was Waldgeist (Galileo), with another length to Recoletos (Whipper). Post-race, trainer Jean-Claude Rouget intimated that he'd held concerns over the winner's ability to stay the distance as until then he'd never been beyond a mile. From the immediate family of Monsun, whose progeny are well known to Australian turf aficionados, Brametot has now won 6 of his first 7 starts, with his other run producing a runner-up in Listed company, to bank €1,326,340 for connections. He was a €26,000 weanling purchase at Arqana's 2014 December Breeding Stock Sale.
Trainer Charlie Appleby has declared that exciting Godolphin filly Sobetsu (Dubawi-Lake Toya, by Darshaan) will take her place in tonight's English Oaks at Epsom, reports Sky Sports. Godolphin had originally intended bypassing the English classic in favour of the French equivalent after Sobetsu's brilliant first-up win in the Gr1 Prix Saint-Alary (2000m) at Deauville, but predicted rain forced a rethink. "She's been declared and all the indications are that on Friday it could be perfectly good ground," Appleby said. "We know she appreciates a bit of cut and she doesn't want it too quick, but we wouldn't want it too testing on her first start over a mile and a half either." He added: "Good ground over a mile and a half should be fine for her and who's to say in two weeks' time for the French Oaks it won't be quick ground?" Appleby said Sobetsu may even tackle both classics. "I wouldn't rule out doing the two. With the races over two weeks apart that wouldn't be beyond the realms of possibility," he said. Sobetsu is rated an 8-1 chance for the Oaks with the Aidan O'Brien-trained Rhododendron the odds-on favourite.
At The Curragh in Ireland, former Coolmore shuttler and triple Gr1-winning champion European sire Galileo (Sadler's Wells-Urban Sea, by Miswaki) celebrated an elite race success when 5YO entire Decorated Knight (Galileo-Pearling, by Storm Cat) collected his second top-flight victory in the Gr1 Tattersalls Gold Cup (10.5 furlongs), defeating Somehow & Deauville. Decorated Knight improved his record to 7 wins (including the Gr1 Jebel Hatta Stakes) and 4 placings from 14 starts for £527,575 earnings. Trainer Roger Charlton said Decorated Knight was likely to head next to the Gr1 Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot. "This horse has improved, he's very tough and sound. He picked up again when Somehow came to him, which was pleasing because she's a good filly,” Charlton told Racing Post. "He's got a very classy pedigree, he's closely related to Gleneagles and his dam is a half-sister to Giant's Causeway, so he will have a stallion career."
At Deauville in France, 3YO Irish-bred filly Precieuse (Tamayuz-Zut Alors, by Pivotal) provided her trainer Fabrice Chappet with her first Gr1 winner when scoring a decisive 1.75 length victory in the Poule D’Essai Pouliches (8 furlongs) for 3YO fillies, defeating Sea of Grace & Heuristique. Precieuse improved her record to 2 wins and 4 placings from 6 starts. Chappet said there were plenty of options coming up for Precieuse over the summer. "The owners were a little timid and didn’t want to enter her at Ascot so will have a think about it," said Chappet. "There is also coming back to Deauville for the Prix Rothschild, and it's a nice question to have to ask yourself."
At Deauville in France, 3YO Irish-bred colt Brametot (Rajsaman-Morning Light, by Law Society) overcame a slow start before flashing late to score by a short head in the €600,000 Gr1 Poule d'Essai des Poulains (8 furlongs) for 3YO colts, defeating Le Brivido & Rivet. Brametot, who was recently purchased by Al Shaqab Racing, advanced his imposing record to 5 wins and 1 placing from 6 starts. Trainer Jean-Claude Rouget indicated the colt would now head to the French Derby. "It has been very hard with the virus in the yard but this horse was not in the problem barn, or else he wouldn't be running,” said Rouget. "He has an outstanding pedigree and I think he is a right horse for the Jockey Club."
At Albury in NSW on Friday, 5YO US-bred gelding Green Sweet (Smart Strike-Only Green, by Green Desert) claimed his first stakes victory since arriving in Australia when scoring by 0.5 length for trainer Jean Dubois in the $180,000 Listed Albury Gold Cup (2000m) for 3YO+, over 4YO gelding Cool Chap (High Chaparral-Cherishing, by Johannesburg) & 5YO gelding Overdue (Clangalang-Overture, by Northern Drake). Green Sweet, who began his career in France and was last year purchased for €55,000 at the Arqana Deauville Summer Mixed Sale, improved his record to 3 wins (including the Listed Prix Omnium II at Saint-Cloud) and 4 placings (including the Listed Prix Lyphard) from 12 starts for $229,954 earnings.
Al Shaqab’s Champion 2YO Shalaa (Invincible Spirit-Ghurra by War Chant) will shuttle to Arrowfield Stud in Australia from 2017. The Irish-bred stallion was a prolific top flight juvenile performer in the 2015 European season with five consecutive 1200-metre victories, including Europe’s premier 2YO sprinting tests, France’s Deauville Gr1 Prix Morny and the UK’s Newmarket Gr1 Middle Park Stakes. Those performances ultimately cemented Shalaa’s status as Champion 2YO Colt in both Great Britain and France, with Jockey Frankie Dettori and trainer John Gosden both describing him as the best 2YO they’ve been associated with. Timeform rated Shalaa at 123+ in July 2015, declaring him the best two-year-old in the world at that time. Shalaa is now about to start serving his first mares in France at owner Al Shaqab's Haras de Bouquetot, among them World Champion and dual Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe winner Treve. Shalaa is a son of the remarkable success story Invincible Spirit, who now commands a €120,000 fee at The Irish National Stud. His 98 stakes-winners include European Horse of the Year Kingman, Champion European Sprinter Moonlight Cloud and successful young Australian stallion I Am Invincible, sire of recent mgaic Millions 2YO Classic heroine Houtzen. Shalaa will stand his first Australian season in 2017 at a fee of $33,000 inc. GST.
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Sir Prancealot, Europe’s Champion Freshman Sire, will shuttle from Tally Ho Stud in Ireland to Cornerstone Stud in South Australia from 2017. With 32 individual winners Sir Prancealot was Champion First Season Sire by both winners and prize money finishing ahead of Helmet and Frankel. Included in the long list of winners were Gr3 winner Madam Dancealot and Listed winner Sir Dancealot. Sir Prancealot will travel from Tally Ho with Zebedee (Invincible Spirit) who has shuttled to Cornerstone Stud for the past two seasons. "The O'Callaghans have been a pleasure to deal with and with the ongoing assistance of Johnny and Susie McKeever we are delighted to be standing another leading sire for Tally Ho Stud," explained Cornerstone's Sam Hayes. "It takes something special to beat the likes of Frankel in a sire’s premiership. Sir Prancealot and Zebedee are upgrading mares with exceptional consistency and that is one of the benefits of breeding to proven stallions." A precocious 2YO who won his first two starts including the Listed National Stakes, Sir Prancealot went on to run fourth in Gr2 Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot behind Dawn Approach and fourth in the Gr1 Prix Morny at Deauville before winning the G2 Doncaster Flying Childers Stakes at his last start. His fee will announced in March.
Trainer Wesley Ward believes that boom 2YO filly Lady Aurelia (Scat Daddy-D' Wildcat Speed, by Forest Wildcat) is primed to run her best ever race in Saturday's Gr1 Cheveley Park Stakes (1200m) at Newmarket, reports Blood Horse. The US-bred daughter of Scat Daddy is unbeaten in her three starts to date, which includes a last-start victory in the Gr1 Prix Morny at Deauville and a breathtaking 7-length victory in the Gr2 Queen Mary Stakes (5 furlongs) at Royal Ascot in June. Ward said he has been getting daily progress reports from jockey Frankie Dettori, who rode her to victory at Royal Ascot and in France. "Lady Aurelia worked great on the Rowley Mile (Saturday) and is ready to run her best ever race," said Ward. "I have a lot to thank my 'assistant trainer' Frankie Dettori for! He's the only person to have ridden her since she came over from France after the Prix Morny, and I'm really excited to have such interaction race-to-race from the world's greatest jockey." He added: "When I wake up every morning there's a video bulletin from Frankie waiting for me, telling me how things are going - it's as if I was there. And he's been telling me that we are really going to see something from her this time."
At Deauville in France overnight, dual Classic winning 3YO French filly La Cressonniere (Le Havre-Absolute Lady, by Galileo) maintained her perfect record when scoring an easy 2-length win for trainer Jean-Claude Rouget in the Gr2 Prix de la Nonette (10 furlongs) for 3YO fillies, over fellow fillies Jemayel (Lope de Vega-Nawal, by Homme de Loi) & Lakalas (Turtle Bowl-Nazlia, by Polish Precedent). La Cressonniere will now head towards the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe in October after extended her record to 8 wins (including the French 1,000 Guineas & French Oaks) from 8 starts. "The jockey told me it was very, very easy and was just like a canter in the morning," said Sylvain Vidal, racing manager for her joint-owner Gerard Augustin-Normand. "She did something special and Jean-Claude was very happy with her." He added: "She will not have had a hard race as it was very easy for her, and she will now be going straight to the Arc."
Boom 2YO filly Lady Aurelia (Scat Daddy-D' Wildcat Speed, by Forest Wildcat) kept her perfect record in tact when winning the Gr1 Prix Morny (6 furlongs) at Deauville in France overnight. Having her first run since her breathtaking 7-length victory in the Gr2 Queen Mary Stakes (5 furlongs) at Royal Ascot in June, the US-bred filly showed her customary speed to lead throughout under jockey Frankie Detorri and score by 0.75-length over fellow 2YO filly Alrahma (Shamardal-Albaraah, by Oasis Dream) & 2YO colt Peace Envoy (Power-Hoh My Darling, by Dansili). Raced by a syndicate headed by Barbara Banke's Stonestreet Stables, Lady Aurelia extended her unbeaten record to 3 wins from 3 starts. "I was very excited and elated. It was wonderful," trainer Wesley Ward told At The Races. "I trained her a little light to give her a bit of time after she came home (from Royal Ascot) and she came back a little tired after this race, understandably because she wasn't up to what she was at Ascot." He added: "She'd breezed four times up to this, so I think this race is going to set her right off to the next one and that's the Cheveley Park." The Gr1 Cheveley Park Stakes (6 furlongs) will be run at Newmarket on 24 September.
At Deauville racecourse in France, European champion 4-time Gr1-winning former Darley shuttler Shamardal (Giant's Causeway-Helsinki, by Machiavellian) celebrated an elite success when 4YO UK-bred mare Speedy Boarding (Shamardal-Dash to the Front, by Diktat) scored by 1.75-lengths for trainer James Fanshawe in the Gr1 Prix Jean Romanet (10 furlongs) for 4YO+ mares, over fellow 4YO mares Ame Bleue (Dubawi-Aquarelliste, by Danehill) & Steip Amach (Vocalised-Ceist Eile, by Noverre). This was the first top-flight success for Speedy Boarding who advanced her record to 4 wins (including the Gr2 Prix Corrida) and 2 placings from 10 starts. Fanshawe said Speedy Boarding will be entered in the Gr1 Prix de l'Opera.
Trainer Wesley Ward says he is expecting a "big performance" from boom US filly Lady Aurelia (Scat Daddy-D' Wildcat Speed, by Forest Wildcat) in Sunday's Gr1 Prix Morny at Deauville with the unbeaten filly reported to have arrived in France in excellent order, reports Sky Sports. Raced by a syndicate headed by Barbara Banke's Stonestreet Stables, Lady Aurelia recorded one of the most breathtaking performances seen at Royal Ascot in recent years when annihilating her opposition by 7 lengths in the Gr2 Queen Mary Stakes (5 furlongs) to extend her record to 2 wins from as many starts. "She arrived a couple of days ago, she's been galloping on the track and everything is good to go," Ward said. "I'm sure there will be other good horses in the race - that's what you would expect in a race as prestigious as the Morny." He added: "We're real happy with our filly. We gave her a good freshening-up period after Ascot. She stayed in light work and never missed a day. We're expecting a big performance." The highly anticipated clash between Lady Aurelia and fellow boom juvenile Caravaggio, however, will have to wait another day with Aidan O'Brien saying he is likely to target the latter at the Gr1 Middle Park Stakes.
Exciting French colt Almanzor (Wootton Bassett-Darkova, by Maria's Mon) firmed in markets for the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe after landing the Gr2 Prix Guillaume d'Ornano (10 furlongs) for 3YOs at Deauville in France overnight. A winner of the French Derby at his previous outing, Almanzor improved his record to 6 wins from 8 starts and over €1 million in prize money. Trainer Jean-Claude Rouget said Almanzor would now head to next month's Gr1 Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown before a possible tilt at the Arc in October. "This horse has such great acceleration," Rouget told Racing Post. "It was the same result as the Prix du Jockey Club even though previously we had first run but here we had to come from behind." He added: "The Irish Champion Stakes will be next and after that we'll see. Ascot for the Champion Stakes is the favoured option but the Arc is not out of the question."
At Deauville in France overnight, Darley's triple Gr1-winning world-class shuttle stallion Dubawi (Dubai Millennium-Zomaradah, by Deploy) added a Group success when 4YO entire New Bay (Dubawi-Cinnamon Bay, by Zamindar) scored by 1.5 lengths for trainer Andre Fabre in the Gr3 Prix Gontaut-Biron (10 furlongs) for 3YO+, over 4YO gelding Arthenus (Dutch Art-Lady Hen, by Efisio) & 5YO gelding Garlingari (Linngari-Garlinote, by Poliglote). A homebred for Khalid Abdullah's Juddmonte Stud, New Bay improved his record to 5 wins (including the Gr1 French Derby) and 3 placings (including the Gr1 French 2000 Guineas) from 9 starts and over €1.9 million earnings.
A daughter of Galileo topped the second session of the Arqana August Yearling Sale in Deauville on Monday when knocked down to Coolmore and Mayfair Speculators for €1.4 million, reports bloodstock.racingpost.com. The filly, whose dam Prudenzia is a Listed-winning daughter of Dansili from the family of top-class fillies Alexandrova and Magical Romance, is a three-quarter sister to Irish Oaks winner Chicquita (Montjeu). Chicquita was sold for €6 million at Goffs in November 2013 as part of the dispersal sale of owner Paul Makin. Coolmore and Mayfair combined two lots later to secure another Galileo filly out of the Gr3-winning Gone West mare Quetsche for €650,000. "They've both been bought for the partnership between Mayfair Speculators and Coolmore. Both fillies are gorgeous individuals," said Peter Doyle, who acts for Mayfair Speculators. "We'll have to decide on which filly goes where, we're not sure yet. At the moment we have a number of trainers - David Wachman, Aidan O'Brien, Andre Fabre, Nicolas Clement, Richard Hannon, William Haggas - but we're still to work it all out."
At Arlington racecourse in the US, Coolmore shuttler and triple Gr1-winning champion European sire Galileo (Sadler's Wells-Urban Sea, by Miswaki) celebrated an elite success when 6YO Irish bred entire Mondialiste (Galileo-Occupandiste, by Kaldoun) scored by a neck for trainer David O'Meara in the US$1 million Gr1 Arlington Million (10 furlongs) for 3YO+, over 6YO Argentinian bred entire Kasaqui (Lasting Approval-Kemosheba, by Alysheba) & 3YO Irish bred colt Deauville (Galileo-Walklikeanegyptian, by Danehill). Mondialiste improved his record to 5 wins (including the Gr1 Woodbine Stakes) and 10 placings (including the Gr1 Breeders' Cup Mile & Gr1 Prix Jean Prat) from 21 starts for approximately £1.16 million earnings.
At Deauville in France, Haunui Farm shuttler Iffraaj (Zafonic-Pastorale, by Nureyev) celebrated an elite success when 3YO colt Ribchester (Iffraaj-Mujarah, by Marju) scored by 0.5-length for trainer Richard Fahey in the Gr1 Prix Jacques le Marois (8 furlongs) for 3YO c&g, over 5YO entire Vadamos (Monsun-Celebre Vadala, by Peintre Celebre) & 5YO mare Ervedya (Siyouni-Elva, by King's Best). The Godolphin-owned Ribchester - who was a fast-finishing third behind The Gurkha in the Sussex Stakes at his most recent outing - advanced his record to 3 wins (including the Gr3 Jersey Stakes & Gr2 Mill Reef Stakes) and 4 placings (including the Gr1 Sussex Stakes & Gr1 English 2,000 Guineas) from 8 starts. "It's brilliant," trainer Richard Fahey told Racing Post. "I'm on top of the world and it's just nice to see the horse win a Group 1." He added: "He's a horse with an awful lot of speed and he's very talented. As we've seen, he's improving with racing and I felt today he was a better horse than he was in the Sussex." Fahey said the Gr1 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (8 furlongs) at Ascot on British Champions Day was Ribchester's next target. "I'd say he'll end up in Ascot now but he's got enough speed for six furlongs as well [as seven]," said Fahey. "He'll definitely be in training [at four] and I really feel that next year he could be the real deal. He's the best we've ever had, he's got everything."
Terre (Motivator-Trevise, by Anabaa), a full sister to champion French mare Treve, is set to make her eagerly awaited debut next month, reports Sky Sports. Trainer Criquette Head-Maarek says she is keen to run the high profile 2YO over a mile at either Deauville or Chantilly. "She's a nice filly. I like her and she will either start at the end of this month in Deauville or in the beginning of September in Chantilly," Head-Maarek said. "She will run in a race for unraced two-year-olds over a mile." Head-Maarek said Terre (which translated is French for land) is a similar horse to her famous older sister, but that it was far too early to predict if she could reach the same lofty heights. "She looks a lot like her sister," she said. "She's stronger than Treve was at the same age. Whether she has the quality, you can't say at this stage. It's so far so good with her." Treve, who will best remembered as a two-time winner of the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, retired in October last year with 9 wins - six at Gr1 level - from 13 starts for £5,939,665 earnings. She is one of only seven horses to have won Europe's weight-for-age championship twice.
Top-class 3YO Galileo Gold (Paco Boy-Galicuix, by Galileo) will attempt to get his season back on track in Sunday's Gr1 Jacques le Marois at Deauville, reports Racing Post. The Al Shaqab-owned colt, winner of the English 2000 Guineas and St James's Palace Stakes this season, was last seen finishing a game second behind The Gurkha in the Gr1 Sussex Stakes at Goodwood. "The horse is due to work tomorrow. At the moment all signs are very good," Al Shaqab racing manager Harry Herbert said on Monday. "He's in terrific form and Hugo couldn't be happier with him, so provided his work is good he'll run." Galileo Gold's last-start conqueror The Gurkha will not be lining up in Sunday's French feature but Godolphin's progressive colt Ribchester, who finished third behind the glamour colts in the Sussex, is expected to take his place.
At Deauville in France, former European Champion 1st Season Sire & shuttler Invincible Spirit (Green Desert-Rafha, by Kris) celebrated an elite success when 5YO Irish-bred gelding Signs Of Blessing (Invincible Spirit-Sun Bittern, by Seeking the Gold) scored by 1.25-lengths for trainer Francois Rohaut in the Gr1 Prix Maurice de Gheest (6.5 furlongs) for 3YO+, over 3YO Irish-bred colt Donjuan Triumphant (Dream Ahead-Mathuna, by Tagula) & 3YO French-bred colt Jimmy Two Times (Kendargent-Steel Woman, by Anabaa). Having his first run since finishing third behind Twilight Son in the Gr1 Diamond Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot, Signs Of Blessing improved his record to 8 wins (including the Gr3 Baden-Baden Goldene Peitsche) and 4 placings from 19 starts. "The horse confirmed our judgement was correct with his good run at Ascot and has done well since then," trainer Francois Rohaut told Sky Sports. "Today he was able to quicken again from the front and when he does that it takes a good horse to get past him. Sprinters like this get stronger as they get older." He added: "If the ground is good he'll go for the big sprint at Ascot [Gr1 Champions Sprint]and then on to Hong Kong."