The Weekly Wrap

By Emma Berry

So many men, so little time, as the bawdy Mae West once said. Had she been a racing journalist instead of an actress, West would have had little time for such frivolous diversions, especially this past weekend. For those of us slogging away on press desks or lolling around on sofas with a remote control in hand, it was a case of so much racing, so little time to digest one stakes result before the next one came rolling in.

If one worked on the assumption that the name Galileo (Ire) would feature prominently among the sires of the winners then in most cases it would be hard to go too far wrong. Coolmore’s grand old man is in the exalted postion of there being almost nothing left to say about him but at the same time impossible to ignore. The Galileo show bowled gaily along on Irish Champions Weekend, and even when hot favourites Churchill (Ire) and Winter (Ire) fluffed their lines, under-studies Decorated Knight (GB) and Hydrangea (Ire) stepped boldly into the spotlight to ensure that, in the case of their super-sire, when one door closes, another springs swiftly open.

Happily (Ire) also played her part to perfection when setting up a Galileo quinella with the better-fancied Magical (Ire) in the G1 Moyglare Stud S. In so doing she became not only her sire’s 68th individual Group 1 winner but the third for her dam, You’resothrilling, who has also produced Happily’s Classic-winning full-siblings Gleneagles (Ire) and Marvellous (Ire).

For some extraordinary reason, the snipers have been out all too often for Decorated Knight, who is bred on exactly the same cross as Happily and from the same family – his dam Pearling (Storm Cat) being a sister to Giant’s Causeway and an illustrious addition to the fledgling broodmare band at Blue Diamond Stud back in 2011. She has rewarded her passionate owners, Saleh Al Homaizi and Imad Al Sagar, handsomely for their significant outlay by producing a three-time Group 1 winner from her first foal.

For those eager to crab Decorated Knight, consider this: the horse has been in training now for four seasons and this year has been on the go right the way through, winning the Winter Derby Trial on Feb. 4 before jetting off to land his first Group 1 in Dubai.

The manner in which he picked off talented opposition with his last-to-first burst on Saturday was incredibly satisfying to watch. Sometimes it’s not about numbers on a ratings sheet. Racing needs to fire the soul, and the finish of the Irish Champion S., thanks to the fleet-of-foot Decorated Knight, did just that.

Aidan O’Brien, the man who knows the traits of Galileo and his offspring better than anyone, regularly pays tribute to their mental toughness and willingness. I’m sure most trainers would agree that a good mind is every bit as important as sound limbs, and for obvious reasons the two often go hand in hand. While these attributes have doubtless helped Decorated Knight along the way, tribute must be paid to Roger Charlton and his team at Beckhampton for keeping their impeccably-bred charge in the best of physical and mental health all year long. It’s nowhere near as easy as Charlton has made it seem.

Bolger’s Boys Speaking Up
The former Beckhampton resident Bated Breath (GB) is responsible for one of the more impressive juveniles in training this season in Beckford (GB). The Gordon Elliott-trained colt got the better of Jim Bolger’s Verbal Dexterity (Ire) in the G2 Railway S. but was firmly put in his place when the pair met again on Sunday in the G1 Goffs Vincent O’Brien National S.

As with so many Bolger runners, Verbal Dexterity is homebred (in partnership with John Corcoran) and while the trainer has enjoyed much success with Galileo over the years – to the extent that he is credited with playing a significant role in ‘making’ the stallion – this colt is by his own Redmondstown Stud stallion, Vocalised. The son of Vindication was bought as a yearling by Bolger for $560,000 and is also the sire of dual Group 3 winner Steip Amach (Ire). He was back in the spotlight on Monday when the 92-rated juvenile Warm The Voice (Ire) won his third consecutive race at Listowel. Another homebred racing in the colours of Jackie Bolger, Warm The Voice is trained by Bolger’s colourful former assistant Brendan Duke and could head next to the G2 Beresford S.

To Run Or Not To Run?
Among Galileo’s top-flight winners this weekend, Order Of St George (Ire) regained his Irish St Leger crown after losing it to Wicklow Brave (GB) (Beat Hollow {GB}) last year. That narrow defeat was the precursor to a terrific run in the G1 Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe behind stablemates Found (Ire) and Highland Reel (Ire), and a French finale could be on the cards again this year, unless Australian part-owner Lloyd Williams manages to persuade his partners to send the great stayer to the G1 Emirates Melbourne Cup.

Uncertainly also surrounds the immediate future plans for Cracksman (GB) (Frankel {GB}), who won the G2 Prix Niel convincingly but still has his owner-breeder Anthony Oppenheimer in a quandary over whether to go for the Arc. A sticking point appears to be the fact that Frankie Dettori, who rode Oppenheimer’s Golden Horn (GB) (Cape Cross {Ire}) to victory in the Derby and the Arc in 2015, appears likely to continue his association with Juddmonte’s four-time Group 1 winner Enable (GB) (Nathaniel {Ire}) instead. John Gosden wasn’t at Chantilly to saddle his three Group runners on Sunday as he was already in Kentucky at the yearling sales for Godolphin but he has been pretty consistent in his assertions of late that it is all about next year for Cracksman, despite the colt being placed in the English and Irish Derbys and unbeaten otherwise.

Frankel Giving It A Good Crack
It was agreed from the start of his second career that, despite his brilliance and the attendance of outstanding mares, Frankel would be hard pushed to emulate Galileo at stud. He of course follows a distinguished line, not just Galileo, but Sadler’s Wells and Northern Dancer before him, so anything short of stellar results would be deemed disappointing.

Even with just two crops of racing age, Frankel is starting to live up to his extraordinary reputation. Yes, we’re still waiting for that first Group 1 winner in Europe and if Juddmonte would just withdraw Enable perhaps that would come in the form of Cracksman in the Arc. But joking aside, three stakes winners in three days this week in America, Ireland and France is not to be sniffed at, while the emergence of some exciting juveniles has added lustre to his second crop.

Nelson (Ire) relegated his Galileo-sired stablemates Kew Gardens (Ire) and Delano Roosevelt (Ire) to the minor places with a three-length romp in the G3 Juvenile Turf S., while the Queen’s Learn By Heart (GB) chased home the impressive Chilean (GB) (Iffraaj {GB}) in the Listed Ascendant S. at Haydock.

Noteworthy debutant maiden winners include Fair Eva (GB)’s brother Herculean (GB), Lightening Quick (Ire), a daughter of Qatar Racing’s G1 Cheveley Park S. winner Lightening Pearl (Ire) (Marju {Ire}), and Elarqam (GB), a son of the dual 1,000 Guineas winner Attraction (GB) (Efisio {GB}).

Don’t Forget Dubawi
In his customary position of second to Galileo in the stallion tables is Dubawi (Ire), with a winning strike-rate even higher than Frankel’s at 52%. His one-two-three in the G1 Prix Vermeille provided an important breakthrough for Sheikh Sultan Bin Khalifa Al Nayhan’s Al Asayl Bloodstock, which bred the winner Bateel (Ire) and will presumably eventually retire her to the recently acquired Haras de Vieux Pont in Normandy.

Formerly the property of Sven and Carina Hanson, who raised their Group 1 winners Pride (Fr) and Reliable Man (Fr) at the farm, Haras de Vieux Pont is now under the ownership of Sheikha Alyazia, the daughter of Sheikh Sultan and grand-daughter of the ruler of Abu Dhabi. Two familiar faces and former long-term Shadwell employees, Johnny Peter-Hoblyn and Kate Whitehead, are involved as manager and stud administrator.

Dubawi was also represented at the Curragh, where his daughter Shamreen (Ire) won her second consecutive G2 Blandford S. She provided a Champions weekend double for the Aga Khan and Dermot Weld, who also struck with Eziyra (Ire) (Teofilo {Ire}).

A pair of Dubawi colts topped Book1 of last year’s Tattersalls October Sale at 2.6 million gns apiece. One of the duo, the Charlie Appleby-trained Glorious Journey (GB), is now unbeaten in two starts, including Friday’s G3 Prix La Rochette.

Willett Remembered at Goodwood
Jockeys riding at Goodwood last Tuesday wore black armbands in tribute to the 10th Duke of Richmond, who played such an important role in the continuing success of his home racecourse and died on Sept. 1 at the age of 87.

Also remembered on the day via the naming of the 2-year-old maiden was former Goodwood director Peter Willett. His position at the Sussex track was just one of the many roles filled in a working life dedicated to the thoroughbred, which included being the pre-eminent bloodstock writer of his generation, TBA Chairman, and advisor to the Duke of Norfolk, whose Norfolk Committee devised the structure of pattern racing, in which Willett played a significant part.

It is fitting that the man who cared so deeply for the progression of the breed would have his name attached to a race for the offspring of stallions who won at a mile and a half or farther, and this year’s winner was impressive, earning a TDN Rising Star for his five-length rout on debut. Showroom (Fr), a son of the Derby winner Motivator (GB), trained by Mark Johnston for Highclere Thoroughbred Racing, lent a little of his star status to his yearling half-brother by Wootton Bassett (GB), who was offered for sale the following day at Osarus and duly topped the September Sale at €105,000.

The previous week’s BBAG Sale had been led by a brother to Dschingis Secret (Ger) (Soldier Hollow {GB}), who notched his third consecutive Group victory on Sunday in the G2 Prix Foy. Others may be undecided about the Arc but Horst Pudwill, who owns Dschingis Secret and went to €500,000 to buy his yearling brother, has no doubt in his mind. “We will see him back here in the Arc and he will be our first ever runner in the race,” he said at Chantilly on Sunday.

Time To Move On
I’m not good at moving on. Still in the doldrums over last June’s EU referendum result, my misery lifted temporarily to a warm and fuzzy glow at the sight of so many European flags fluttering in the Royal Albert Hall during the Last Night of the Proms on Saturday. Or it could just have been the red wine.

Either way, I’m as unlikely to get over Brexit as I am to come to terms with the fact that the first and probably only realistic chance of witnessing a Triple Crown winner in my lifetime was scuppered when Encke won the only stakes race of his life to defeat Camelot (GB) in the St Leger.

My Camelot obsession still rages and some consolation will be gleaned if he can follow his sire, the great Montjeu (Ire), in siring plenty of Derby winners. His tally of first-crop winners is rising steadily – eight at the last count – and on Sunday the young Coolmore stallion notched his first stakes winner in Germany when Alounak (Fr) won the Junioren-Preis at Dusseldorf for Darius Racing and Jean-Pierre Carvalho.

A winner on debut in July, Alounak, bred by Framont Limited and the Jeffroy family’s SCEA des Prairies, may be seen next in the G3 Preis des Winterfavoriten.

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