Seven Days: La Vie En Rose

Thank goodness for France. While Britain and Ireland mostly pause the serious Flat action in Grand National week, the French Classic trials rolled on with the return of racing at Longchamp on Sunday, which will be backed up by another strong card this coming Sunday.

It was hard not to be impressed by the seasonal debut of Jannah Rose (Ire) (Frankel {GB}), who has raced only twice for two wins, and looked a proper Classic prospect for Al Shira’aa Farms and Carlos Laffon-Parias when winning the G3 Prix Vanteaux.

When TDN spoke to Al Shira’aa’s manager Kieran Lalor back in February, the regard in which he held this three-parts-sister to the Group 2 winner Creggs Pipes (Ire) (Rip Van Winkle {Ire}) was clear and he recalled her purchase at the Goffs Orby Sale for €650,000.

“Jannah Rose was quite possibly one of the nicest yearlings I’ve ever seen at a sale,” he said. “She was a fantastic-looking individual, and she moved great. She was one horse I said to the boss, ‘We just have to own her, whatever it takes.’”

Lalor added, “She’s one we’ll be very excited about.”

The excitement levels have undoubtedly moved up a level following Sunday’s black-type victory, both for the Al Shira’aa team and for breeder John Hayes, who was in Paris to cheer on the daughter of his broodmare Sophie Germain (Ire) (Indian Ridge {Ire}).

On Monday, Lalor confirmed that Jannah Rose had come out of the race in good order and will now be aimed at the G1 Coolmore Prix Saint-Alary, which is run on the same card as both French Guineas on May 14, en route to the G1 Prix de Diane. While her dam Sophie Germain was unraced, as explained in a TDN feature of 2021, there are plenty of Classic heroes to be found deep in this family, which pedigree expert Hayes will no doubt have ascertained before purchasing the daughter of Indian Ridge as a foal in 2007. Jannah Rose’s grand-dam Nydrion (Critique) won the Oaks d’Italia, and the extended dynasty also includes Derby winners Never Say Die and High Chaparral (Ire), Kentucky Derby winners Swale and Genuine Risk, as well as Ravinella, who won the 1,000 Guineas and Poule d’Essai des Pouliches for Alec Head, the grandfather of Patricia Laffon-Parias, who is married to Jannah Rose’s trainer.

All of those named, along with many more horses of note, trace back to Lord Rosebery’s 1,000 Guineas winner and Oaks runner-up Chelandry (GB). Foaled in 1894, the influential mare was a member of the sole British crop of Goldfinch (GB), a son of the Triple Crown winner Ormonde (GB) who continued his stud career at Rancho del Paso in California and Kentucky’s Elmendorf Stud.

Rock On

A member of the Head dynasty also featured in the success of the other Classic trial winner on Sunday, when Christopher Head saddled Big Rock (Fr) (Rock Of Gibraltar {Ire}) to land the G3 Prix la Force in gutsy fashion.

Big Rock continues the burgeoning partnership between Head and owner-breeder Leopoldo Fernandez Pujals of Yeguada Centurion, who struck at the highest level last season with G1 Prix Marcel Boussac winner Blue Rose Cen (Ire) (Churchill {Ire}).

With Big Rock on course for the Prix du Jockey Club, Blue Rose Cen looks set to have her Classic aspirations put on trial in Sunday’s G3 Prix de la Grotte.

Big Rock’s unraced dam Hardiyna (Ire) (Sea The Stars {Ire}) was bought for €72,000 at Goffs when carrying him and, as her name implies, the fourth-generation Aga Khan-bred mare hails from the family which is also responsible for dual Derby winner Harzand (Ire), who is by the same sire as Hardiyna and is a half-brother to her Group 3-winning dam Harasiya (Ire) (Pivotal {GB}).

Yeguada Centurion is listed as the biggest owner in Head’s stable, with 10 horses in training there, including recent Chantilly winner Mr Melbourne Cen (Fr) (Kodiac {GB}) and Sabio Cen (Fr) (ZaraK {Fr}), who won last week’s Prix Tourbillon. 

Chappet Eyes Classic Prize

Fabrice Chappet generally has his horses pretty forward and he has made another good start to the season, saddling two stakes winners in the last week.

Good Guess (GB) (Kodiac {GB}), singled out by the trainer as a juvenile to follow last season, duly won his first two starts at two and was later Listed-placed at Deauville. The Cheveley Park Stud-bred colt, who races for Hisaaki Saito, stepped up another level when landing last Thursday’s G3 Prix Djebel, with the G1 Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere winner Belbek (Fr) (Showcasing {GB}) behind him in third. 

The grandson of 1,000 Guineas winner Russian Rhythm (Kingmambo) and relation to Irish Oaks winner Alydaress (Alydar) will now have his own shot at a Classic in the Poule d’Essai des Poulains.

On Sunday, Plesant Jane (Fr) (Pivotal {GB}) landed the biggest win of her career on the same turf that one of her most celebrated relatives, Alpinista (GB) (Frankel {GB}), won last year’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.

The 4-year-old’s victory in the EBF-sponsored Listed Prix Zarkava brought her tally of wins to three, and she is the sole winner so far for her dam Jane The Star (Fr) (Sea The Stars {Ire}), both of whom were bred by and race for Rashit Shaykhutdinov. Grand-dam Jane Eyre (GB) (Sadler’s Wells), a half-sister to Alpinista’s dam Alwilda (GB) (Hernando {Fr}) raced just once for Aidan O’Brien after topping the Goffs Orby Sale of 2007 at €2.4 million when sold by her breeders Kirsten Rausing and Sonia Rogers.

Honour and Glory

While we await the Craven meeting, William Haggas and his team have been keeping us entertained with further Group 1 exploits in Sydney. This has given rise to the trainer considering operating a satellite yard in Australia. 

The very idea should make local trainers quake, for Haggas has targeted The Championships is Sydney with a sniper’s precision. Dubai Honour (Ire) (Pride Of Dubai {Aus}) followed Addeybb (Ire) (Pivotal {GB}) in landing the Group 1 double of the Ranvet S. and the Longines Queen Elizabeth S., and the 5-year-old looks likely to take in the G1 QEII Cup  in Hong Kong at the end of the month on his way home. Protagonist (Fr) (Wootton Bassett {GB}) and Young Rascal (Fr) (Intello {Ger}) have also landed Australian group races for Haggas.

There has been only disappointment so far this year for the former Haggas trainee Alenquer (Fr) (Adlerflug {Ger}), who won last year’s G1 Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh and left Newmarket for Mike Moroney’s stable following a ninth-place finish in the Arc. The 5-year-old has finished last in both his Australian starts to date, including behind his former stable-mate Dubai Honour on Saturday.

Alcohol Free (Ire) (No Nay Never), who topped last year’s Tattersalls December Sale at 5.4 million gns when sold to Yulong Investments, was also underwhelming in her Australian debut when tenth in the G1 Sydney Queen of the Turf S. for Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott. A Group 1 winner at two, three and four for Andrew Balding, Alcohol Free ‘won’ her barrier trial at Randwick on 21 March after arriving in Australia, having spent the winter in light exercise in Newmarket.

It was good to see New Zealand breeding to the fore on the second day of Sydney’s Championships with the G1 Sydney Cup going to the Ciaron Maher and David Eustace-trained Explosive Jack (NZ). The winner two years ago of both the Australian Derby and South Australian Derby, the 5-year-old Explosive Jack is by the globetrotting Jakkalberry (Ire), who was trained by Marco Botti to win the American St Leger and G2 Dubai City of Gold. The son of Storming Home (GB) was also third in the G1 Melbourne Cup and G1 Dubai Sheema Classic before standing at Novara Park Stud in New Zealand, where he died in 2018 from a gut infection.

Pennyweka (NZ) and her Rich Hill Stud-based sire Satono Aladdin (Jpn) were previously mentioned in a recent instalment of Seven Days, and since then Jim Wallace’s homebred stable star has added victory in G1 Australian Oaks to her G1 New Zealand Oaks victory. That notable double was most recently achieved by NZ Horse of the Year Bonneval (NZ) (Makfi {GB}) in 2017.

Calyx and Blue Point Off The Mark

In France last week Calyx (GB) joined his stud-mate Magna Grecia (Ire) as another of this year’s freshmen to have notched their first winner. His daughter Classic Flower (GB), bred by Petches Farm, is one of three runners for the son of Kingman (GB) and scored on debut for trainer Patrice Cottier at Salon-Provence.

Joining the party at Kempton on Monday was Darley’s Blue Point (Ire), whose son Action Point (Ire), trained by Archie Watson, became his first winner from two runners to date.

An Extra Special Coronation?

As most people who followed the racing interests of Queen Elizabeth II will recall, the Derby loomed large in the preparations for her coronation in 1953, with Aureole (GB), bred by her father King George VI, one of the leading fancies for Epsom that same week and ultimately finishing second to Pinza (GB).

Now the prospect of the King and Queen Consort having a runner in a Classic on their coronation day edged a step closer on Monday when Slipofthepen (GB) (Night Of Thunder {Ire}) remained unbeaten in two starts. 

It is a long shot, but not impossible, that he will head to Newmarket for the 2,000 Guineas, with co-trainer John Gosden appearing to prefer the option of the Heron S. on May 16 before a possible tilt at the St James’s Palace S. at Royal Ascot. Either way, on the available evidence, Slipofthepen looks a special colt.

For those hoping to see the Royal Studs continue to in the long term, it was encouraging to read the comments of the King and Queen Consort’s racing manager John Warren after Slipofthepen won at Kempton.
He said of a possible Guineas run, “As far as the owners are concerned they won’t be able to think of anything else but the coronation but they would never prevent the horse participating if we recommended that is where he ought to go.

“It would be an added bonus and they would watch after the event. The King has had very good osmosis in tuning into the bloodstock side of The Queen’s life.

“He has always said when he had the responsibility of taking the bloodstock portfolio on he would take it seriously and he has, wonderfully supported by the Queen Consort at the same time. It is a wonderful thing for racing they have both taken such an interest.”


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