Flaxman To Continue Successful Breeders’ Cup Association

By Kelsey Riley

The Niarchos Family’s Flaxman Stables has been a regular fixture at the Breeders’ Cup since its inception, and a successful one at that with a particular affinity for the GI Breeders’ Cup Mile, winning that event with the stellar dual winner Miesque (Nureyev), Spinning World (Nureyev), Six Perfections (Fr) (Celtic Swing {GB}), Domedriver (Ire) (Indian Ridge {GB}) and Karakontie (Jpn) (Bernstein). In addition to Karakontie’s win in 2014, Flaxman Stables also won the GI Breeders’ Cup Turf with Main Sequence (Aldebaran), earning the award for leading breeder at the meeting. While Flaxman Stables doesn’t have a Mile entrant this year, it sends out favoured Ulysses (GB) (Galileo {Ire}) in the Turf and G1 Prix de Diane winner Senga (Blame) in the GI Filly Mare Turf. The TDN‘s Kelsey Riley caught up with Flaxman Stables Racing Manager Alan Cooper at Del Mar to talk about Breeders’ Cups past and present.

KR: Flaxman Stables and the Niarchos Family have a long history of success at the Breeders’ Cup, and have had some very iconic winners at the meeting. Is the Breeders’ Cup a meeting you put an emphasis on?

AC: From the very beginning Mr. Niarchos was a supporter of the Breeders’ Cup with John Gaines and the family have a long association that started with Miesque, so it goes back to those days. We always hope we have a horse good enough to go for the Breeders’ Cup, and then the trainers very much target the Breeders’ Cup if they feel it’s a horse that merits taking a chance.

KR: Of those past winners, are there any that stand out to you personally?

AC: Comparisons are always difficult. I think it’d be unfair to pick out one horse over another, but having said that Miesque was a legend on the racecourse and has become even more of a legend with her record at stud. There has been a lot of excitement for us at the Breeders’ Cup, including more recently with Karakontie, who has his first foals now, and Main Sequence, so it’s difficult to pick out one over the others.

KR: You mentioned Karakontie [who stands at Gainesway in Kentucky] has his first foals this year. Have you seen many yet, and what kind of reports have you been hearing about them?

AC: I haven’t seen that many myself but I’ve heard good reports. I’m looking forward to seeing them at the upcoming sales in Kentucky. What I have seen, there’s a lot of class there.

KR: Ulysses, after showing promise at three, has been a total revelation this year at four, winning this year’s G1 Coral-Eclipse and G1 Juddmonte International and finishing third in the G1 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. What’s it been like to follow him through his campaign this year?

AC: It’s very exciting, because he’s by a Derby winner out of an Oaks winner from one of the families that Mr. Niarchos established in the 1980s. For an owner/breeder, that’s a very exciting accomplishment, to have the family still going over 30 years later.

KR: Have you been happy with the way he’s been training since he got to Del Mar?

AC: Team Ulysses is happy with him. He appears to have traveled very well so let’s hope he gets a good, clean run.

KR: Senga has been beaten in her two runs since the French Oaks, a third in the G2 Prix de la Nonette and when last of 11 in the G1 Prix de l’Opera. How is she doing coming into this?

AC: The first one was her comeback race at Deauville and that was a fair enough run after a layoff. In the Prix de l’Opera, she hated the ground and just didn’t act on it at all. We’re very hopeful she’ll enjoy the fast ground here at Del Mar.

KR: Have you made a decision on whether she stays in training or retires next year?

AC: That decision won’t be made until after she’s run. We’ll see how she runs first and take it from there.

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