At Sha Tin in Hong Kong, former Coolmore shuttler and triple Gr1-winning champion European sire Galileo (Sadler's Wells-Urban Sea, by Miswaki) celebrated an elite race success when outstanding 5YO Irish-bred entire Highland Reel (Galileo-Hveger, by Danehill) refused to lie down when scoring a typically gutsy win in the HK$18 million Gr1 Hong Kong Vase (2400m) for 3YO+, defeating Talismanic & Tiberian. In what was the swansong of his remarkable career before retiring to stud, the globe-trotting Highland Reel advanced his record to 10 wins (including the Gr1 Prince of Wales's Stakes, Gr1 Breeders' Cup Turf, Gr1 Coronation Cup, Gr1 King George VI & Queen Elizabeth Stakes, Gr1 Hong Kong Vase, Gr1 Arlington Secretariat Stakes, Gr2 Vintage Stakes and Gr3 Gordon Stakes) & 9 placings (including the Gr1 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, Gr1 Juddmonte International Stakes, Gr1 Cox Plate, Gr1 Prix du Jockey Club & Gr2 Hardwick Stakes) from 27 starts for $13,951,220 in earnings. Highland Reel is out of the Gr1-placed Australian mare Hveger (Danehill), a full-sister to multiple Gr1 winner Elvstroem and a half-sister to fellow multiple Gr1 scorer Haradasun from Australian Oaks heroine Circles Of Gold. This is also the family of brilliant young sire Starspangledbanner and Golden Slipper winner Polar Success. Trainer Aidan O'Brien said: "He's incredible. He's tactically very good, fast early and then quickens. What's unbelievable is that he is very brave. When you want everything he gives you everything. Ryan gave him a brilliant ride. He wasn't going to give up."
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).
At Chantilly in France overnight, Coolmore's Gr1-winning son of Danehill and former champion Australian sire Fastnet Rock (Danehill-Piccadilly Circus, by Royal Academy) added a European Group success when 4YO Irish-bred entire One Foot In Heaven (Fastnet Rock-Pride, by Peintre Celebre) scored by 0.2 length for trainer Alain De Royer Dupre in the Gr2 Prix du Conseil de Paris (12 furlongs) for 3YO+, over 4YO entire Tiberian (Tiberius Caesar-Toamasina, by Marju) & 7YO gelding Now We Can (Martillo-Notre Dame, by Acatenango). Coming off an excellent sixth in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, One Foot In Heaven improved his record to 6 wins (including the Gr2 Prix de Chantilly, Gr3 Prix d'Hedouville & Listed Prix Lord Seymour) and 1 placing from 11 starts. The beautifully bred One Foot In Heaven is the fourth foal to race for former champion French mare Pride, winner of three Gr1 races namely the Prix de Saint-Cloud, British Champion Stakes & Hong Kong Cup. She was also runner-up to Rail Link in the 2006 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. One Foot In Heaven is also a direct descendent of influential US mare Miss Disco, best known as the dam of champion racehorse and legendary breed-shaping sire Bold Ruler.
At Maisons-Laffitte in France, Coolmore's Gr1-winning son of Danehill and former champion Australian sire Fastnet Rock (Danehill-Piccadilly Circus, by Royal Academy) added a European black-type winner when Irish-bred 3YO colt One Foot In Heaven (Fastnet Rock-Pride, by Peintre Celebre) scored a half-length win for trainer Alain De Royer Dupre in the Listed Prix Lord Seymour (2400m) for 3YOs, over fellow colts Tiberian (Tiberius Caesar-Toamasina, by Marju) & Meander (Slickly-Penne, by Sevres Roses). One Foot In Heaven's record is now 3 wins & a placing from 5 starts for €55,000 earnings.