Leger Glory For Galileo’s Capri

By Tom Frary

Freshened up after his G1 Irish Derby victory, Capri (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) came to Doncaster’s Town Moor with a stable troupe to produce the perfect scenario for him and duly rewarded their hard front-running efforts by justifying 3-1 favouritism under Ryan Moore. Always comfortable in fourth off the searing pace, the grey was committed passing the three-furlong marker and held off TDN Rising Star Crystal Ocean (GB) (Sea the Stars {Ire}) and the G1 Goodwood Cup hero Stradivarius (Ire) (Sea the Stars {Ire}) by a half length and a short head as the best horses came to the fore in a strong renewal. “He’s a very good horse and he’s very honest,” his rider commented after registering a first St Leger success. “He dug in and fought very hard when Crystal Ocean came to him. He’s done very little wrong in his career and has progressed from race to race.”

Ironically, Capri had Rekindling (GB) (High Chaparral {Ire}) back in second when breaking his maiden over an extended mile at the Galway festival last July before adding Tipperary’s Listed Coolmore Canford Cliffs S. to his tally over an extended seven furlongs the following month. Picked by Ryan Moore when taking the G2 Beresford S. from fellow Galileo-sired stablemates Yucatan (Ire) and Exemplar (Ire) in a tight finish at The Curragh in September, he was third behind Waldgeist (GB) (Galileo {Ire}) in a strong renewal of the G1 Criterium de Saint-Cloud in October which contained Wings of Eagles (Fr) (Pour Moi {Ire}) and also Rekindling. Returning this term to be fourth under a five-pound penalty as Rekindling enjoyed his own day in the sun in the G3 Ballysax S. over 10 furlongs at Leopardstown Apr. 8, Capri was third to Douglas Macarthur (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) and Yucatan in a thriller for the G3 Derrinstown Stud Derby Trial S. over the same course and distance May 7.

There was a market move for Capri as the G1 Epsom Derby looked likely to be affected by rain in the lead-up, but as the weather stayed mainly dry he was unable to make a serious impact without being disgraced when less than four lengths sixth in the June 3 Classic. Back at The Curragh for the Irish equivalent four weeks later, he stuck close to the pacemaker The Anvil (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) and was the first of the main protagonists to strike for home in a move by Seamie Heffernan that paid dividends as Cracksman (GB) (Frankel {GB}) and the Derby winner Wings of Eagles failed to get past. His withdrawal from the G2 Great Voltigeur S. due to a bad scope leaves a major question unanswered, with Cracksman making a leap forward in his absence and Aidan O’Brien had expressed nervousness as he brought him here without a prep.

By the time The Anvil had skipped clear of Douglas Macarthur and Venice Beach (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) with Capri in fourth and the Gosden duo in fifth and sixth, the 2017 St Leger was already characterised as a genuine test of physical and mental stamina. Moore sat happy on Capri as James Doyle and Frankie Dettori tracked his every move on Coronet (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}) and Stradivarius respectively and as they entered the straight they were all poised for action. Stradivarius enjoyed a split to take the rail as Capri was cajoled forward with Jim Crowley moving through the pack smoothly as his mount Crystal Ocean showed the same pizzazz as he had in the G3 Gordon S. Once Capri had edged ahead of Stradivarius, Crystal Ocean was facing a tough task attempting to make up lengths on him at full flight and although his speed carried him into a genuinely threatening position it was not enough to subdue the granite-hard grey.

“The lads did a great job on him and were all delighted with him at home,” commented O’Brien, who was greeting his fifth winner of the oldest Classic. “He had a bit of a blip during York time and I was a little bit worried, but Ryan gave him a class ride and everybody was happy with the pace they were going. He is a horse with a lot of class and we saw that in the Irish Derby. Seamus [Heffernan] rides him in a lot of his work and in his races and has always been a big believer in him. He says that braveness is his big thing and when Ryan really wanted him today he gave it to him. We thought that he would improve for this run and if everything went well we could have a look at the Arc, but the lads will decide whether to do that or put him away for next year. Probably a mile and a half is the trip where he shows his real class, although he has no problem with a mile and a quarter. He has a great cruise, courage and stamina.”

Crystal Ocean’s trainer Sir Michael Stoute revealed that his colt is finished for the season and said, “We were always a little bit worried about the trip and he won’t run beyond a mile and a half again, but he acquitted himself well and we’re thrilled with him. We rate our fellow, but the other horse is better than him at a mile, six-and-a-half. There are plenty of races for Crystal Ocean and I’ll put him away for the year now.” John Gosden is looking at running Stradivarius and Coronet on Champions Day and commented, “That was a very very smart, classy race with two group 1 winners there. The jockeys said it was a relentless pace and there were no hiding places and the winner won well. Coronet got to Capri’s girth, but those colts are just a bit too strong and so we’ll freshen her up and go for the [Oct. 21 British Champions Fillies Mares S., while if the ground is not too soft Stradivarius will go for the two-miler [the G2 Long Distance Cup]. He did get a little bit isolated on his own, while the first and second had each other to stretch themselves and he was left wondering ‘where is everyone’. The interesting thing is, in the last 50 yards, he was coming back at them and all being well we’ll see him at Ascot.”

Capri was bringing up a Doncaster double of distinction here, 24 hours after his relative Desert Skyline (Ire) (Tamayuz {GB}) captured the G2 Doncaster Cup. His family flew the late Jean-Luc Lagardere’s flag for years, with the second dam being the G2 Prix de Malleret and G3 Prix de la Nonette winner and G1 Prix Vermeille second Diamilina. Her dam Diamonaka, who was runner-up in the Malleret, is a half-sister to the G2 Prix Greffulhe winner Diamond Mix (Ire) (Linamix {Fr}) who produced Diamond Green (Fr). Successful in the G3 Prix La Rochette, he was also placed in the G1 Poule d’Essai des Poulains, G1 Prix du Moulin de Longchamp and G1 St James’s Palace S. There could never have been any serious doubts about Capri’s capacity for stamina, with his family also boasting the narrow G1 Melbourne Cup second Bauer (Ire) (Halling) and the G2 Prix de Pomone winner Diamond Tango (Fr) (Acatenango {Ger}) who is the dam of Desert Skyline. Capri’s 2-year-old full-brother is named Cypress Creek (Ire), while he also has yearling and foal full-sisters to follow.

CAPRI (IRE), c, 3, Galileo (Ire)–Dialafara (Fr), by Anabaa.
O-Derrick Smith, Susan Magnier Michael Tabor; B-Lynch Bages Ltd Camas Park Stud (IRE); T-Aidan O’Brien; J-Ryan Moore. £396,970. Lifetime Record: G1SW-Ire G1SP-Fr, 10-5-1-2, £1,266,483.

Not a subscriber? Click here to sign up for the daily PDF or alerts.

This entry was posted in Racing News and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.