Avery Island Goes All The Way in Nashua

Avery Island did little running in his debut sprinting at Saratoga Aug. 19 before stretching out to a mile and a sixteenth at Belmont Sept. 30 and running away in the stretch to a 5 1/4 length score in gate-to-wire fashion. The Godolphin homebred has some champion pedigree on his dam’s side. His second dam, Isola Piu Bella (Chi) (Rich Man’s Gold), was Chilean Horse of the Year in 2004, winning four Group 1’s as a juvenile and 3-year-old.

With Joe Bravo back aboard, the bay broke alertly and went to the front along side first-out winner Under the Graydar (Graydar). Those two set moderate early fractions of 23.66 and :47 flat through the first half mile with Super Sermon (Street Sense) sitting the stalking trip just two lengths off the leaders. Avery Island began to kick clear at the quarter-pole with 4-5 favorite Aveenu Malcainu (Into Mischief) breathing down his neck after gaining momentum and going four wide on the turn. He was able to hold off that challenge and find another gear to pull away in the final stages to score at odds of 2-1, covering the mile in 1:37.58. Super Sermon rerallied up the rail to beat out Aveenu Malcainu to complete the exacta.

The winner’s dam, Kinda Spicy (A.P. Indy), has a yearling colt by Street Sense and a weanling colt by Ghostzapper.


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Lady Eli Scratched from Keeneland November Sale

Sheep Pond Partners’ MGISW Lady Eli (Divine Park) will be withdrawn from Hill ‘n’ Dale Farm’s Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale consignment due to lacerations and a puncture wound suffered during the running of Saturday’s GI Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf, the farm announced Sunday. Trainer Chad Brown reported that Lady Eli came out of the race with the injuries, which have been treated and are being treated. The injury, though not life-threatening, mandates stall rest for the mare.

In a statement released Sunday, Sheep Pond Partners’ Jay Hanley and Sol Kumin said, “After lengthy discussions with Chad Brown following the BC Filly Mare Turf, we have decided that we are going to scratch Lady Eli from this week’s Keeneland November Sale. Unfortunately, Lady Eli was banged around and stepped on from behind heading into the first turn. She suffered a number of significant lacerations to both of her hind legs and she lost one of her hind shoes in the incident.  The fact that she raced another mile and finished the race with these injuries and shoeless is amazing, and a further testament to her toughness and courage.  Right now, our efforts are focused squarely on trying to get her well again. Putting her through the trials of a sale in her current condition is simply out of the question. As soon as she can travel, she will go to John Sikura’s Hill ‘n’ Dale Farm in Lexington KY to rest and recover.”

Sikura added, “Though disappointed to scratch one of the greatest turf distaffers of all time, our philosophy at Hill ‘n’ Dale has always been to put the safety, soundness, and well being of our horses first. We trust the advice of the horse’s owner and trainer.”

Widely celebrated for her comeback from a bout with Laminitis midway through her 3-year-old season, Lady Eli put forth a memorable 2017 campaign, capturing the GI Gamely S. at Santa Anita May 27 and the GI Diana S. at Saratoga July 22 before adding the GII Ballston Spa S. at Saratoga Aug. 26. She endured a brutal trip at Saturday’s World Championships and finished seventh.

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Sebring Colt A Rising Star On Debut

China Horse Club colourbearer Neutrality (Aus) (Sebring {Aus}) got his career off to a highly promising start with an eye-catching first-out win at Rosehill on Saturday to become the newest ‘TDN Rising Star’ (Replay). Pulling his way to the lead under a hard hold from Damian Browne, Neutrality led the field by two lengths through the turn of the 1100 metre contest. The $2.50 favourite had pulled seven lengths clear under a nearly motionless Browne passing the 200, and while Godolphin’s Stunts (Aus) (Lonhro {Aus}) ate into his lead late, it was all in vain as Neutrality hit the line two lengths the better.

“Neutrality has always shown a very high level of natural talent,” said China Horse Club’s Michael Wallace. “He’s is a beautiful colt. He’s very progressive and one we really look forward to the autumn features with.”

Neutrality was a A$400,000 yearling purchase by China Horse Club, Newgate Farm and WinStar at last year’s Inglis Easter sale. He is out of the G3 Thoroughbred Breeders’ S. winner Dama de Noche (Aus) (Snippets {Aus}), whose most accomplished produce thus far is the stakes winner and producer Nocturnelle (Aus) (Elusive Quality). She is also the dam of the stakes-placed Seduced (Aus) (Encosta de Lago {Aus}) and Senta de Noche (Aus) (Encosta de Lago {Aus}).

1st-Rosehill, Mdn, A$100,000, 2yo, 1100mT, 1:04.71, gd.

NEUTRALITY (AUS) (c, 2, Sebring {Aus}–Dama de Noche {Aus}, by Snippets {Aus}). Lifetime Record: 1-1-0-0, A$53,375. O-Newgate S F (Mgr: G D Murphy), China Horse Club Racing Pty Ltd (Mgr: A K Teo), Horse Ventures (Mgr: M B Sandblom), Winstar Farm Llc (Mgr: J Mullikin) Go Bloodstock Australia (Mgr: Sir O G Glenn). B-Mr. TR Ryan. T-Peter Paul Snowden.

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‘Navy’ Sails to Coolmore Glory

A wide open renewal of the G1 Coolmore Stud S. produced one of the most thrilling finishes of the afternoon at Flemington, as the Aaron Purcell-trained Merchant Navy (Aus) (Fastnet Rock {Aus}) delivered a late surge to deny the fillies Invincible Star (Aus) (I Am Invincible {Aus}) and Formality (Aus) (Fastnet Rock {Aus}). The bumper 20-strong field split from the early stages with Invincible Star taking the lead from the larger pack on the far rail and looking for much of the race as if she would deliver back-to-back group wins for Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott after Cismontane (NZ) (High Chaparral {Ire}) booked a late berth in the G1 Emirates Melbourne Cup with a similar front-running performance in the G3 Lexus S.

With Formality chasing her all the way, the fillies’ quinella was only spoiled within the final 50 metres after jockey Mark Zahra found an extra gear on Merchant Navy, coming from off the pace and forcing him clear up the rail to claim victory by a head.

For Purcell, who took out his training licence to replace the stood-down Ciaron Maher, this was a second Group 1 victory in three weeks following the victory of Aloisia (Aus) (Azamour {Ire}) in the G1 Thousand Guineas on Oct. 14.

“I took over the stable with a bunch of expensive, nice horses so obviously there were expectations, and with expectations comes pressure, said Purcell. “Fortunately I’ve got good staff behind me and I’ve got good facilities and processes at home. Things have been working well so to get the bob on the line was a very satisfying result.”

Now unbeaten in five of his six starts, including the G3 McNeil S. at Caulfield, Merchant Navy’s only reversal came on his most recent appearance in the G1 Golden Rose S. over 1400 metres on Sep. 23.

“He raced for Ciaron in Sydney and it wasn’t long after that that I took over and there was a discussion about whether he’d go for the Guineas or come to the Coolmore,” Purcell continued. “We decided the Coolmore was a better option so he had a bit of time in the paddock and got a little bit of a spring in his step. His work since he got back has been really good and we put blinkers on today hoping that they’d help him travel a bit better and we came here today hoping that he’d be very strong through the line and obviously he was.”

Zahra, who has ridden the colt in all bar one of his races, said, “What a thrill, I wasn’t quite sure if I’d got there or not but I waited and let it pan out and we got to the inside. It’s great training. I know Ciaron is out, but he had a lot to do with this horse. Since his departure, Dave Eustace and Aaron Purcell said we’re not going to the Guineas, put the blinkers back on and drop back in trip and it was a great plan that’s come off. They freshened him up after the Golden Rose and it was good for it all to come off. He’s an exciting colt.”

Purcell could well be in for a good week at Flemington as OTI Racing’s Aloisia looks set to line up as a strong favourite for the G1 Victoria Oaks on Thursday.

Pedigree Notes…

The 30th Group 1 winner for Coolmore shuttler Fastnet Rock, Merchant Navy is a son of the G2 Sweet Embrace S. winner Legally Bay (Aus) (Snippets {Aus}), who was also runner-up in the G1 TJ Smith S. and is a half-sister to G1 Empire Rose S. winner Bonaria (Aus) (Redoute’s Choice {Aus}). Merchant Navy went one better than his full-sister Jolie Bay, who was second in the same race in 2012 (then known as the Ascot Vale S.) and won the G2 Roman Consul S., while another sister, Zara Bay (Aus), was second in last year’s Listed Black Pearl Classic.

Legally Bay has a yearling colt by All Too Hard (Aus). Click for the free Arion.co.nz catalogue-style pedigree.


Saturday, Flemington, Australia
COOLMORE STUD S.-G1, A$1,002,500 (US$767,261/£586,740/ €660,764), VRC, 11-04, 3yo, Open Set Weight, 1200mT, 1:09.10, gd.
1–MERCHANT NAVY, 57.0, c, 3, by Fastnet Rock
                1st Dam: Legally Bay (GSW MG1SP-Aus, $430,193),
                                by Snippets
                2nd Dam: Decidity, by Last Tycoon (Ire)
                3rd Dam: Class, by Twig Moss (Fr)
FIRST GROUP 1 WIN. (A$350,000 Ylg 2016 WI Sydney Easter
Yearling Sale). O-Seymour Bloodstock (Mgr: D S Thomas), Halo
Racing Services Pty Ltd (Mgr: C B McKenna), All Cast (Mgr: M J
Catanzariti), Coolmore (Mgr: T V Magnier), Rockhart (Mgr: E
Irwin), B G Ta; B-Mr C Barham (Qld); T-Aaron Purcell; J-M
Zahra; A$602,500. Lifetime Record: 6-5-0-0, A$809,450. *1/2
to Jolie Bay (Aus) (Fastnet Rock {Aus}), GSW G1SP-Aus,
$242,860. Werk Nick Rating: A+++. *Triple Plus*. Click for the
   eNicks report 5-cross pedigree.
2–Invincible Star, 55.0, f, 3, I Am Invincible–Romany Flyer, by
Catbird. (A$200,000 Ylg 2016 MM Gold Coast Yearling Sale).
O-D W Lilley, Mrs S Lilley, D K Dong, D E Lowe, Ms G C Coward,
Ms F Bishop, C Charalambous, T J Pender, Ms M N Zuluaga
Ruiz, L Polglase, S A Barton, A A Smith, G J Whitford, Mrs C L;
B-Mr AD Mitchell (NSW); T-G Waterhouse A Bott; J-S Baster;
3–Formality, 55.0, f, 3, Fastnet Rock–Jolie’s Shinju (Jpn), by
Jolie’s Halo (USA). (A$120,000 Ylg 2016 WI Sydney Easter
Yearling Sale). O-Coolmore (Mgr: Mrs S Magnier), P Shanahan
M V Magnier; B-Dr K Tan (NSW); T-D B Hayes T
Dabernig; J-K Mc Evoy; A$90,000.
Margins: HD, SHD, 2. Odds: 18.00, 5.50. 19.00.
Also Ran: Limestone, Viridine, Dracarys, Malahat, Andaz, Houtzen, Tulip, Lone Eagle, Eptimum, Goodfella, Jukebox, Trapeze Artist, Kementari, Wassergeist, Catchy, Summer Passage, The Mission. Click for the Racing Post chart.

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War Front Half to Honor Code Flies Late to Take Juvy Turf Sprint

DECLARATIONOFPEACE (c, 2, War Front–Serena’s Cat {SW, $131,391}, by Storm Cat), the second-most expensive weanling buy in the 2015 Keeneland November sale at $2.6 million, came with a furious stretch rally to get up in the shadow of the wire and upset the Qatar Juvenile Turf Sprint S. in a 1-2-3-4 finish for European shippers at Del Mar. Graduating at second asking over the Dundalk synthetic track May 10, the dark bay finished last of 22 in the Windsor Castle S. June 20 at Ascot and was seventh in a pair of Group 1 tries before taking an allowance Oct. 6 back at Dundalk and running third in the Al Basti Equiworld Mercury S. there Oct. 20. Let go at 14-1 in this spot, Declarationofpeace settled near the rear of affairs behind a :22.34 quarter. Tipping out into the clear under Ryan Moore at the top of the stretch, he flew home in the final sixteenth to just nail favored Sound And Silence (GB) (Exceed And Excel {GB}) on the wire by a head. Out of The Flames (GB) (Showcasing {GB}) did well to be third after missing the break and Corinthia Knight (Ire) (Society Rock {Ire}) completed the superfecta. The winner is a half to Honor Code (A.P. Indy), Ch. Older Horse MGISW, $2,518,260; and Noble Tune (Unbridled’s Song), MGSW GISP, $492,222. His dam, a half to MGSW Vocalised (Vindication), foaled colts by Tapit in each of the last two seasons and was bred to Curlin this spring. Third dam is Hall of Famer Serena’s Song (Rahy), who produced G1SW Sophisticat (Storm Cat) and three other graded winners. Sales History: $2,600,000 Wlg ’15 KEENOV. Lifetime Record: 8-3-0-2, $151,161. O-Magnier, Tabor or Smith; B-Dell Ridge Farm LLC Hill N Dale Equine Holdings (KY); T-Aidan P. O’Brien.

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Payne on a High With Ace Delivery

Sydney raider Ace High (Aus) (High Chaparral {Ire}) gave trainer David Payne a longed-for victory in Australia’s oldest Classic, the A$1.5 million G1 AAMI Victoria Derby, making a wide charge down the Flemington straight to lead home Sully (NZ) (Reliable Man {GB}), with Astoria (Aus) (Medaglia d’Oro) and Pissaro (Aus) (Pierro {Aus}) completing the minor places.

From a steady early pace, Weather With You (Aus) (Teofilo {Ire}) took up the running down the back stretch, cranking up the tempo to open up a clear lead rounding the turn until eventually being run down by Sully 300 metres from home. The grey–one of three Derby runners for Trent Busuttin and Natalie Young, didn’t hold his advantage for long, however, as Ace High rallied under a strong drive from Tye Angland to win going away by two lengths.

“I’ve always thought this was the right one,” said Payne, who has twice trained the runner-up of the VRC Derby, with Praecido (NZ) finishing second to Lion Tamer (NZ) in 2010 and Criterion (Aus) filling the same spot three years later.

The trainer continued, “He hasn’t had one hiccup, and that doesn’t usually happen, and he got a good draw so it just worked out perfectly.”

Ace High came into the race on the back of consecutive victories in the G3 Gloaming S. on Sep. 23, followed by his first top-level strike in the G1 Champion S. on Oct. 7.

“That’s why we didn’t run him in between as he’d had two hard races but he had fresh legs today and it worked out,” Payne explained. “I’ve always wanted to win a Group 1 at Flemington, especially at the Carnival as the atmosphere here is so fantastic. But I’m getting older and I thought it would never happen, but now it’s happened.”

Tye Angland was the man who helped to deliver the Classic success for Payne, but not before some consternation in the mid stages of a stop-start race. He said, “It’s obviously a big thrill but around the 800-metre mark I was thinking I was in trouble. It was just the pace of the race. I’ve said how well he relaxes but when you’re in a bunched field like that and they steady up, then they took off and it just fired my horse up. I couldn’t hold him any more so I let him roll into it, but I tried to hold onto to him to get the trip. He could go round again though, he’s pulled up really well.”

Payne is already looking ahead to a return to Victoria for the Spring Carnival next year, with the colt’s obvious staying potential making him a potential candidate for the 2018 G1 Emirates Melbourne Cup. “Why not–we can’t die wondering,” he said. “If he’s around then we’ll have a crack.”


Pedigree Notes…

High Chaparral died just a few months after his most recent Classic winner was born, the late Coolmore stallion having enjoyed notable success with his Australasian runners, which also include another VRC Derby winner, Monaco Consul (NZ).

Bred by Bruce Reid Racing, Ace High is the fourth foal of the unraced Redoute’s Choice (Aus) mare Come Sunday (Aus), a half-sister to the black-type winners That’s A Good Idea (Aus) (Flying Spur {Aus}) and Kneeling (Aus) (Encosta De Lago {Aus}). Come Sunday returned to High Chaparral in 2014 and has a 2-year-old filly by him, while her yearling colt is by Hallowed Crown (Aus). Click for the free Arion.co.nz catalogue-style pedigree.


Saturday, Flemington, Australia
VICTORIA DERBY-G1, A$1,510,000 (US$1,155,675/£883,838/ €995,266), VRC, 11-04, 3yo, Open Set Weight, 2500mT, 2:37.55, gd.
1–ACE HIGH, 55.5, c, 3, by High Chaparral (Ire)
                1st Dam: Come Sunday, by Redoute’s Choice
                2nd Dam: Sunday Service, by Sunday Silence (USA)
                3rd Dam: Lady’s Delight (SAf), by Local Talent (USA)
(A$130,000 Ylg ’16 MM Gold Coast Yearling Sale).
O-Summertime Thoroughbreds (Mgr: J Cordina); B-Bruce Reid
Racing (NSW); T-David Payne; J-T Angland; A$910,000.
Lifetime Record: 12-4-1-0, A$1,408,375. Click for the
   eNicks report 5-cross pedigree. Werk Nick Rating: A+++.
   *Triple Plus*.
2–Sully (NZ), 55.5, g, 3, Reliable Man (GB)–Lady Winifred (NZ),
by Casual Lies (USA). (NZ$36,000 Ylg 2016 NZB National
Yearling Sale). O-K G Burgess A Kheir; B-G M Mrs G M
Hewson, Central, NZ; T-T Busuttin N Young; J-J Bowman;
3–Astoria, 55.5, c, 3, Medaglia d’Oro (USA)–Segue, by Ad
Valorem (USA). O-Godolphin; B-Darley NSW; T-James
Cummings; J-Damian Lane; A$135,000.
Margins: 2, HD, HF. Odds: 6.00, 6.50, 7.00.
Also Ran: Pissaro, Main Stage (NZ) , Aberro, Wolfe Tone (NZ) , Weather With You, Eshtiraak, Ocean’s Fourteen (NZ) , Tangled, Rockarral, Greycliffe (NZ) , Nothing Too Hard, Justice Faith, Johnny Vinko (NZ). Click for the Racing Post chart.

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Wonder Waller

With six of the 14 runners in the G1 Kennedy Mile, Chris Waller had the decks stacked in his favour and Sydney’s champion trainer notched not just another top-level win but was also responsible for three of the first four home, led by Shillelagh (NZ) (Savabeel {NZ}), who had missed out on a run in the G1 Myer Classic earlier in the day.

The 6-year-old mare stayed on strongly to overhaul her year-older stablemate Tom Melbourne (Ire) (Dylan Thomas {Ire}) after the OTI Racing representative had taken up the running from fellow Waller representative All Our Roads (NZ) (Road To Rock {Aus}), who faded to finish fourth. With a string of second-place finishes to his name, Tom Melbourne once again had to settle for the bridesmaid role but was nevertheless dogged in his pursuit of Shillelagh, chasing her all the way to the line to finish just a neck to the deficit. The pair drew three lengths clear of the Michael Kent-trained Wyndspelle (NZ) (Iffraaj {GB}) in third.

“I was very lucky to pick up the ride for Mr. Waller and the team,” said the trainer’s fellow New Zealander, jockey Michael Dee, who was notching his second Group 1 victory. “She’s been racing well and I was able to get on the back of the right horse and she took me right into the race and let down really well.”

Third behind Global Glamour (Aus) on her previous outing in the G2 Tristarc S., Shillelagh was recording her seventh victory and a second group win in 19 career starts.

Waller said, “Winning any race on Derby day is special and when it’s a Group 1 it’s fantastic. It doesn’t get any better than Derby day. Shillelagh’s a good horse and she’s gone to a new level this preparation. She came to me from New Zealand in good form and she had been trained just up the road from where I’m from.”


Pedigree Notes…

The mating of the unraced Trocair (Aus) (Flying Spur {Aus}) with Savabeel (NZ) had already produced the G2 Brisbane Cup winner Tullamore Dew (NZ), while Shillelagh’s younger sister Grazia (NZ) won the Listed Easter Classic earlier this season.

Trocair, a half-sister to G3 All American S. winner Our Nautique (NZ) (Pins), was sent to Pins herself and has a 3-year-old gelding by him named Sligo (NZ), while her sixth tryst with Savabeel the following fall led to a filly named French Success (NZ), who was sold for NZ$340,000 at Karaka this year. She also has an unnamed colt by Ocean Park (NZ). Click for the free Arion.co.nz catalogue-style pedigree.


Saturday, Flemington, Australia
CANTALA S.-G1, A$1,002,500 (US$767,261/ £586,740/€660,764), VRC, 11-04, Open Quality, 1600mT, 1:35.01, gd.
1–SHILLELAGH (NZ) , 52.0, m, 6, by Savabeel
             1st Dam: Trocair, by Flying Spur
             2nd Dam: French Tide (Can), by Dauphin Fabuleux (Can)
             3rd Dam: Miss Tidal Wave (Can), by Captain’s Gig (USA)
1ST GROUP 1 WIN. O-C R Grace Mrs S Grace; B-C R Grace,
Central, (NZ); T-C J Waller; J-M J Dee; A$602,500. Lifetime
Record: 19-7-2-1, A$850,320. *Full to Tullamore (NZ), GSW
G1SP-Aus, $661,589; and Grazia (NZ), SW-NZ. Werk Nick
   Rating: A+++. *Triple Plus*. Click for the
   eNicks report 5-cross pedigree.
2–Tom Melbourne (Ire), 53.5, g, 6, Dylan Thomas (Ire)
–Roshanak (Ire), by Spinning World (USA). (5,000gns ’12 Ylg
TAOOCT). O-O T I Racing (Mgr: T Henderson), Kiwiana, A Mrs
P Goodfellow, D Mrs D Miller, L Webb, Ms D McKeown, Ms
M Webb, W Bowker, J Higgins, Bobbin Along Uthmeyer
Racing; B-Mr D. Ledwith, (Ire); T-C J Waller; J-G Boss;
3–Wyndspelle (NZ), 52.0, c, 4, Iffraaj (GB)–Western Star (NZ),
by High Chaparral (Ire). (NZ$75,000 Ylg 2015 NZB National
Yearling Sale). O-Ms J M Campin, J R Frew, Mrs S E Hanna N
P Randles; B-Mrs S D Hart, Auckland, (NZ); T-M C Kent; J-Craig
Williams; A$90,000.
Margins: HD, 2 3/4, SHD. Odds: 11.00, 4.00, 40.00.
Also Ran: All Our Roads (NZ), Radipole (Ire), Omei Sword, Sovereign Nation, Tosen Stardom (Jpn), Sense of Occasion, Egg Tart, So Si Bon, Dibayani (Ire), Lucky Hussler, McCreery (GB).
Click for the Racing Post chart.

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Aveenu Malcainu Returns to Graded Action in Nashua

Aveenu Malcainu (Into Mischief) headlines the field of six juveniles in the GII Nashua S. Sunday at Aqueduct. The $150,000 OBS April purchase broke his maiden impressively July 28 at Saratoga and returned later in the meet to defeat state-breds in the Funny Cide S. Aug 25. The bay was put to the test in the GI Champagne S. Oct. 7, where he uncharacteristically was up on the lead through the first half-mile in a quick :45 4/5 before fading to seventh in a field that included multiple Breeders’ Cup starters.

Godolphin homebred Avery Island (Street Sense) will be tough if he runs back to his last start. After chasing the entire way in his debut sprinting Aug. 19 at Saratoga, the bay stretched out to 8 1/2 furlongs and won going away in gate-to-wire fashion by 5 1/4 lengths. The 79 Beyer Speed Figure that he produced is the best last-out figure in this field.

Besides Aveenu Malcainu, only Blue Ridge Scout (New Year’s Day) has beaten winners entering Sunday. The $40,000 Keeneland September buy graduated Aug. 12 in his second start over a muddy Laurel Park main track in an off the turfer. He finally got on the grass in the Laurel Futurity S. Sept. 16, but didn’t take to the surface, finishing seventh. Switched back to the main track last time out Oct. 15 in optional claiming company, he got the job done by a neck at 16-1.

An intriguing player is WinStar homebred Super Sermon (Super Saver), who seemed to enjoy added ground when stretched to a mile at Belmont Sept. 9. He bested a return graduate that day.


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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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Kodiac Sets New Juvenile Record

Tally-Ho Stud’s Kodiac (GB) (Danehill), already in possession of the UK juvenile winner’s mark of 44 set earlier this season in September, broke Sunday Silence (Halo)’s juvenile winners world record, when Statehood (Ire) saluted at Lingfield.  Snapped up for 200,000gns as a weanling by John Ferguson at the Tattersalls December Foal Sale in 2015, the Godolphin runner was the 52nd winner from Kodiac’s eighth crop. Charlie Appleby’s charge held on to take the seven-furlong feature by a neck.

The late Japanese-based Sunday Silence set the previous mark of 51 in 2004. Kodiac equaled the Shadai stallion’s mark on Nov. 1, when Overcoming (Ire) scored at second asking over seven furlongs at Dundalk Wednesday for the China Horse Club and Ger Lyons.

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