Dark Angel’s Persuasive Swoops In the QEII

By Tom Frary

At the end of a year in which Europe’s fillies and mares marched onward towards world domination, Cheveley Park Stud’s Persuasive (Ire) (Dark Angel {Ire}) beat up some notable colts to provide her esteemed owners David and Patricia Thompson with another red-letter day in the G1 Queen Elizabeth II S. at Ascot on Saturday. Well-supported into 8-1 coming off a second to Roly Poly (War Front) in what was thought to be her swansong in Newmarket’s G1 Sun Chariot S. a fortnight previously, the grey raced off the pace under Frankie Dettori and was delivered with a rattle to brush aside the 2-1 favourite Ribchester (Ire) (Iffraaj {GB}) and win by a length, with a half length back to Churchill (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) in third. “She travelled so good I couldn’t believe it, but this ground is so key for her,” commented the rider who was gaining a sixth success in the race that first launched him in 1990. “I thought the race was going to be very tough, but she showed an explosive turn of foot and she put it to bed very quickly.”

Like Librisa Breeze (GB) (Mount Nelson {GB}), Persuasive has been seen to be a touch unlucky on occasion since her dominant display when breaking her black-type maiden in the Listed Sandringham H. over this track and trip at the Royal meeting last June. Following up with a three-length defeat of the classy Blond Me (Ire) (Tamayuz {GB}) in Sandown’s G3 Atalanta Fillies’ S. in August, she was runner-up to Alice Springs (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) in Leopardstown’s G1 Matron S. in September and was racing for the first time subsequently when a staying-on fifth in the G1 Prix Rothschild at Deauville July 30. Finishing with relish again when third to Hydrangea (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) in a Matron that was to have special resonance at this meeting back at Leopardstown Sept. 9, she was supposed to be signing off when second in the Sun Chariot but her demeanour and work in the interim had prompted connections to have another go.

Restrained in the main far-side group early led along by the Ballydoyle pace-setters Lancaster Bomber (War Front) and Sir John Lavery (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}), Persuasive kept Churchill for company and she tracked him closely as the smooth-travelling Ribchester was committed on the front end by William Buick passing three out. As Churchill went up the rail under Ryan Moore, the gap was closed ahead of her and she had to switch out with a quarter mile remaining. Rather than disturbing her momentum, that move seemed to fire her up and she was soon threatening a line of four rivals in Churchill, Ribchester, stablemate Nathra (Ire) (Iffraaj {GB})–who had been third in the Sun Chariot–and Lightning Spear (GB) (Pivotal {GB}). Proving fastest of that combination from the furlong pole, she surged into the clear to add to Dettori’s QEII tally as he closes in on Willie Carson’s record of eight.

Trainer John Gosden “He was saving her and holding her together and she’d have been an unlucky loser,” he said. “Nathra also ran a blinder and they are both off to the breeding shed now.” Expanding on his decision to tackle this ambitious target, he explained, “I think [Cheveley Park Stud’s managing director] Chris [Richardson] said ‘she is in the QEII and if it rains, should we run?’ and I said ‘it is a very good idea’. It was as simple as that. She is a phenomenally good filly. We’ve waited for this ground, she loves this ground. I don’t think she has had any luck in group ones. Things have gone wrong for her, but it has come right today. We are thrilled and she deserved it. It never worries me late in a year with a filly, because I think they go through hell in the spring and summer coming in and out of season. They come to the late summer and autumn and everything is settled and they can focus on racing.”

As he was at Glorious Goodwood, trainer Richard Fahey was again cursing the weather as he reflected on Ribchester’s effort. “It’s deja vu, the ground has beaten him again,” he commented. “He’s a horse that’s won on soft ground, but he’s such a good-moving horse. William [Buick] felt he came there to win and win well and he just gets blunted in the dead ground. He just doesn’t put it to bed and the winner coped with the conditions better. That’s twice he’s been beaten in desperate conditions, but we’re happy enough–I’m not really, but I’ll have to say that.” Ribchester, who had been second to another filly in Minding (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) 12 months previously, was being touted as a Breeders’ Cup Mile candidate beforehand, but Fahey was non-committal in this race’s immediate aftermath. “I can’t even think about that at the moment,” he added. “I’ll get him home and see how he is and speak to the team. I’m proud of him, but disappointed really. For me his best run of the season was Royal Ascot when the ground was quick and he broke the track record. If he hadn’t have won the Mill Reef on slow ground I’d have always been worried about the ground with him, because he’s such a good-moving horse. He hasn’t lost anything in defeat and he hasn’t devalued himself in any way. He’s come back bright as a button.”

One of Cheveley Park Stud’s public auction purchases, Persuasive is out of the Listed Fairy Bridge S. winner and G3 Denny Cordell Lavarack Lanwades Stud Fillies’ S. runner-up Choose Me (Ire) (Choisir {Aus}), who is also the dam of the Listed Coral Distaff S. winner and multiple group-placed Tisbutadream (Ire) (Dream Ahead). Among Choose Me’s half-siblings is the listed-winning sprinter Shanghai Glory (Ire) (Exceed and Excel {Aus}), while the third dam Ajuga (The Minstrel) produced three black-type scorers including the G2 Europa-Championat hero Bad Bertrich Again (Ire) (Dowsing) and the Listed Cheshire Oaks scorer Alumni (GB) (Selkirk). The latter produced the Listed Steventon S.-winning Czech champion and G2 Prix Daniel Wildenstein and G2 Darley Oettingen-Rennen runner-up Dux Scholar (GB) (Oasis Dream {GB}). The fourth dam Cairn Rouge (Ire) (Pitcairn {Ire}) collected the G1 Irish 1000 Guineas and G1 Champion S. when it was formerly staged at Newmarket and her descendants include the formidable Juddmonte flag-bearer Ventura (Chester House) whose four victories in this grade are headed by the Matriarch S. and Santa Monica H. Choose Me’s as-yet unraced 2-year-old filly by Iffraaj (GB) is named Improve (Ire), while she also has a yearling colt by Slade Power (Ire) who was bought by SackvilleDonald for €100,000 at the recent Goffs Orby sale.

Saturday, Ascot, Britain
QUEEN ELIZABETH II S.-G1, £1,100,000, ASC, 10-21, 3yo/up, 8fT, 1:46.13, sf.
1–PERSUASIVE (IRE), 127, f, 4, by Dark Angel (Ire)
1st Dam: Choose Me (Ire) (SW MGSP-Ire, $388,395), by Choisir (Aus)
2nd Dam: Hecuba (GB), by Hector Protector
3rd Dam: Ajuga, by The Minstrel
(€180,000 Ylg ’14 GOFORB). O-Cheveley Park Stud; B-J F Tuthill (IRE); T-John Gosden; J-Lanfranco Dettori. £623,810. Lifetime Record: MG1SP-Ire, 10-6-2-1, $1,161,785. *1/2 to Tisbutadream (Ire) (Dream Ahead), SW MGSP-Eng, GSP-Fr, $132,326. Werk Nick Rating: A. Click for the eNicks report 5-cross pedigree.
2–Ribchester (Ire), 130, c, 4, Iffraaj (GB)–Mujarah (Ire), by Marju (Ire). (€78,000 Wlg ’13 GOFNOV; €105,000 Ylg ’14 GOFORB). O-Godolphin; B-A Thompson M O’Brien (IRE); T-Richard Fahey. £236,500.
3–Churchill (Ire), 127, c, 3, Galileo (Ire)–Meow (Ire), by Storm Cat. O-Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith Susan Magnier; B-Liberty Bloodstock (IRE); T-Aidan O’Brien. £118,360.
Margins: 1, HF, NK. Odds: 8.00, 2.00, 4.50.
Also Ran: Nathra (Ire), Sea of Grace (Ire), Lightning Spear (GB), Al Wukair (Ire), Zonderland (GB), Here Comes When (Ire), Beat The Bank (GB), Sir John Lavery (Ire), Breton Rock (Ire), Toscanini (Ire), Lancaster Bomber, Thunder Snow (Ire). Click for the Racing Post result or the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree. Video, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

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