At Longchamp in Paris overnight, 4YO French-bred entire Recoletos (Whipper-Highphar, by Highest Honor) claimed the second top-flight success of his career when scoring a last-bound win in the Gr1 Prix du Moulin de Longchamp (8 furlongs) for 3YO+, defeating Wind Chimes & Expert Eye. Gr1 Sussex Stakes hero Lightning Spear was fifth. Recoletos, a winner of the Gr1 Prix d'lspahan earlier this year and who was coming off a gallant second to star filly Alpha Centauri in the Gr1 Jacques le Marois, advanced his record to 7 wins and 2 placings from 13 starts. Trainer Carlos Laffon-Parias said Recoletos had confirmed himself as one of the best older horses in Europe. "What he's done this year has been extraordinary and this was a proper Group 1," Laffon-Parias said. "We have beaten all the best around except, of course, Alpha Centauri and he deserves to find a good place at stud."
On day two of Glorious Goodwood in the UK, 7YO UK-bred entire Lightning Spear (Pivotal-Atlantic Destiny, by Royal Academy) was rewarded for his consistency at the highest level when breaking through for a stylish win in the Gr1 Sussex Stakes (8 furlongs), defeating Expert Eye & Lord Glitters. This was a richly deserved win for Lightning Spear who had shown his class by being placed at Gr1 level on six previous occasions. Trainer David Simcock was understandably delighted with the result. "He's done very little wrong apart from win a Group One, until now," Simcock told Sky Sports. "He's a lovely horse to train. He's been placed in six Group Ones and has never really let us down. That was the horse we see at home all the time, it's just getting it to click (on a racecourse). I'm more pleased for the horse than anybody." He added: "For the horse to get his nose in front in a Group One like that, it's great." Owned by Qatar Racing, Lightning Spear improved his record to 7 wins and 8 placings (including the Gr1 Sussex Stakes, Gr1 Queen Anne Stakes & Gr1 Lockinge Stakes) from 24 starts for £1,355,108 in earnings.
Top weight Accidental Agent caused a huge upset when storming home at odds of 33-1 to land the Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes (8 furlongs) on day one of the Royal Ascot carnival in England overnight. Trained by Eve Johnson Houghton, the 4YO UK-bred entire celebrated the biggest win of his career when defeating Lord Glitters & Lightning Spear in the £360,000 feature. Accidental Agent (Delegabtor-Roodle, by Xaar) improved his record to 5 wins and 3 placings from 14 starts.
At York in the UK, former Coolmore shuttler and triple Gr1-winning champion European sire Galileo (Sadler's Wells-Urban Sea, by Miswaki) celebrated an elite race success when 4YO Irish-bred mare Rhododendron (Galileo-Halfway to Heaven, by Pivotal) claimed her third top-flight victory in the Gr1 Lockinge Stakes (8 furlongs) for 3YO+, defeating the fast-finishing Lightning Spear & Lancaster Bomber. Trained by Aidan O'Brien on behalf of the Coolmore triumvirate of Derrick Smith, Sue Magnier & Michael Tabor, Rhododendron improved her record to 5 wins (including the Gr1 Prix de l'Opera & Gr1 Fillies' Mile) and 5 placings (including the Gr1 English 1,000 Guineas & Gr1 English Oaks) from 13 starts for £1,311,036 in earnings. Rhododendron is out of Pivotal mare Halfway To Heaven, winner of the Gr1 Nassau Stakes, Gr1 Irish One Thousand Guineas, and Gr1 Sun Chariot Stakes. This is also the family of former West Australian shuttler Verglas (IRE). O'Brien said Rhododendron would make her next appearance in either the Gr1 Queen Anne Stakes (8 furlongs) or the Gr1 Prince Of Wales's Stakes (10 furlongs) at Royal Ascot.
On day two of the Glorious Goodwood racing carnival in the UK, former Coolmore shuttler Danehill Dancer (Danehill-Mira Adonde, by Sharpen Up) celebrated an elite race success when 7YO Irish-bred gelding Here Comes When (Danehill Dancer-Quad’s Melody, by Spinning World) relished the heavy conditions to post a surprise neck win in the £1 million Gr1 Sussex Stakes (8 furlongs) for 3YO+, defeating race favourite Ribchester (Iffraaj) & Lightning Spear (Pivotal). This was the first top-flight success for Here Comes When who improved his record to 8 wins (including the Gr2 Challenge Stakes at Newmarket) and 6 placings (including the Gr2 Mile Stakes at Sandown) from 29 starts for £840,133 in earnings. "I feel a bit sorry for Churchill and Ribchester with the way the weather changed, but it really suits Here Comes When and he was going to love this ground,” Here Comes When’s owner Dr Hay told Sky Sports. "He's a very decent horse on this sort of ground. You look back through his form and he's won two Group Twos before, he was fourth in this race a couple of years ago on ground quicker than ideal and he deserved to be in the field.” Ribchester’s trainer Richard Fahey lamented the very heavy ground: “It's extreme conditions out there, I was very worried - it's not for a Flat horse to be racing on, it's National Hunt horses,” he said. “But he's run a mighty race and he showed good heart to nearly get back up.” Coolmore didn’t hesitate in withdrawing Churchill before the race when the heavy rain arrived, with the dual Guineas winner known for his dislike of soft ground.
Jockey William Buick is not expecting a wide draw to stop Ribchester in tonight's Gr1 Queen Anne Stakes (1600m) at Royal Ascot, reports Racing Post. The top-class Godolphin galloper, who ran out a fetching winner of the Gr1 Lockinge Stakes at Newbury last month, is a short-priced favourite for the opening race of the Royal meeting but will have to overcome barrier one, on the far side of the straight mile, in the 16-horse field. "Ribchester is coming to the Queen Anne off the back of a brilliant win in the Lockinge, in which he showed just how versatile he is in his style of running," said Buick, who partnered the 4YO to his Lockinge triumph. "He gives me the impression he's still improving, and with that in mind he should again hold Lightning Spear." Buick added: "He handled the soft ground very well that day, but he'll be just as much at home on fast ground. It was officially good to firm when he finished a close third to The Gurkha in the Sussex [Gr1] last year." Trainer Richard Fahey was emphatic about Ribchester's prospects: "I don't think the draw will make any difference," he said. Unlike Ribchester, Lockinge runner-up Lightning Spear fared well at the barrier draw and will get every opportunity to turn the tables on his last-start conqueror from barrier 14.
At Newbury in the UK, Haunui Farm shuttler Iffraaj (Zafonic-Pastorale, by Nureyev) celebrated an elite race success when 4YO entire Ribchester (Iffraaj-Mujarah, by Marju) scored a dominant all the way win in the Gr1 Lockinge Stakes (8 furlongs) for 3YO+, defeating Lightning Spear & Breton Rock. The Godolphin-owned Ribchester advanced his record to 4 wins (including the 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 11 starts for £1,582,128 earnings. Trainer Richard Fahey was effusive in his praise of Ribchester who is now likely to head to the Gr1 Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot. "As he's got older he's got wiser. If we could get his mind right we always felt he'd be special,” Fahey told Sky Sports. "We'll see how he comes out of this, but the Queen Anne looks likely.” He added: "I've got to say he's the best horse I've ever trained."
On British Champions Day at Ascot in England on Saturday, former Coolmore shuttler and triple Gr1-winning champion European sire Galileo (Sadler's Wells-Urban Sea, by Miswaki) celebrated an elite success when star 3YO filly Minding (Galileo-Lillie Langtry, by Danehill Dancer) scored by 0.5 length for trainer Aidan O'Brien in the £1.15 million Gr1 Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (8 furlongs) for 3YO+, over 3YO Godolphin colt Ribchester (Iffraaj-Mujarah, by Marju) & 5YO entire Lightning Spear (Pivotal-Atlantic Destiny, by Royal Academy). The beautifully bred Minding, who is out of dual Gr1 winning filly Lillie Langtry, improved her outstanding record to 8 wins (including the Gr1 English Oaks, Gr1 English 1,000 Guineas, Gr1 Pretty Polly Stakes, Gr1 Fillies' Mile, Gr1 Moyglare Stud Stakes & Gr1 Nassau Stakes) and 4 placings (including the Gr1 Irish 1,000 Guineas & Gr1 Irish Champion Stakes) from 12 starts or £2,277,736 earnings. "It's unbelievable, she's an incredible filly," trainer Aidan O'Brien told Sky Sports. "I can't say how delighted I am for everybody but she's an incredible filly - a mile, a mile and a half then bring her back to a mile in an all-aged Group One against the boys, they have to be special to do those things."
On day one of the Royal Ascot carnival in the UK, 5YO US mare Tepin (Bernstein-Life Happened, by Stravinsky) landed her first major prize outside of her native North America when scoring by 0.5-length for trainer Mark Casse in the Gr1 Queen Anne Stakes (8 furlongs) for 3YO+, over 4YO entire Belardo (Lope de Vega-Danaskaya, by Danehill) & 5YO entire Lightning Spear (Pivotal-Atlantic Destiny, by Royal Academy). Tepin improved her record to 12 wins (including the Gr1 Breeders' Cup Mile, Gr1 First Lady Stakes & Gr1 Just A Game Stakes) and 4 placings from 20 starts for US$3,078,253 earnings. This was an impressive performance by Tepin who had to overcome several hurdles, including a lack of the drug Lasix, no nasal strip, and the soft ground. "She's a great horse and she showed her greatness today," said trainer Mark Casse. "She overcame so many obstacles so it's very emotional for us. I just knew she was going to give her best and I wanted everyone to see how good she is." Casse added: "We'll now build her up to the Breeders' Cup Mile again."
Qatar Racing stable-mates Arod (Teofilo) and Lightning Spear (Pivotal) will put their Melbourne spring carnival credentials to the test when they line up in the Gr1 Prix Jacques Le Marois (1600m) at Deauville on Sunday, reports Racing.com. Both Arod and Lightning Spear have been nominated for the Cox Plate in October, although Sheikh Fahad's racing manager David Redvers says Arod is the more likely of the duo to target the Moonee Valley feature with Lightning Spear likely to head towards a race such as the Gr1 Emirates Stakes at Flemington. The pair met in the Gr2 Summer Mile Stakes at Ascot on 11 July with Arod getting the better of his previously undefeated stable-mate by 1.5-lengths before franking that form when finishing a close second to French ace Solow in the Gr1 Sussex Stakes at Goodwood. Redvers said a trip to Australia would hinge on how Arod and Lightning Spear performed at their next starts. "It very much depends what happens on Arod's next run," Redvers said. "We could have all sorts of big plans for him but we need him to get that European Group 1 in the bag before we could think about Australia. If it pours with rain at Deauville then he wouldn't run but hopefully he'll go." He added: "We've always thought that the Cox Plate would be an ideal race for him, but we'll wait and see." As for lightning Spear, Redvers said of the lightly raced son of Pivotal: "He and Lightning Spear are our best milers and he's a very good horse in his own right. There is a possibility he could run in the Marois, even though it's a big step up for a horse who was second in a Group 2." He added: "Sheikh Fahad likes to have runners in Australia and he could run in something like the Emirates Stakes." Arod currently shares favouritism for the Cox Plate with Contributer, Criterion and Pornichet at $11.
At Ascot in the UK, unbeaten European Champion juvenile & dual Gr1-winning Darley shuttler Teofilo (Galileo-Speirbhean, by Danehill) added a Group success when 4YO Irish-bred entire Arod (Teofilo-My Personal Space, by Rahy) scored by 1.5-lengths for trainer Peter Chapple-Hyam in the Gr2 Summer Mile Stakes (8 furlongs) for 3YO+, over fellow 4YO entires Lightning Spear (Pivotal-Atlantic Destiny, by Royal Academy) & Cable Bay (Invincible Spirit-Rose de France, by Diktat). This was an impressive performance by the Qatar Racing-owned Arod who took his recd to 4 wins (including the Gr3 Diomed Stakes) and 4 placings (including the Gr1 Lockinge Stakes) from 10 starts for £290,958 earnings. Trainer Peter Chapple-Hyam said Arod was likely to head towards the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood on 29 July where he could clash with star milers Gleneagles and Solow. He said the Cox Plate was also a race that connections would like to target. "We'll see how he is and how he comes out of it, but we'll have to look at the Sussex. I can't duck away forever," Chapple-Hyam told Sky Sports. "Hopefully it will be fast ground and the track will suit him, so that's where we probably will go. Australia is possible at the end of the year. Sheikh Fahad (owner) has mentioned the Cox Plate."