Breeders’ Cup at Del Mar: Is this Andre Fabre’s Best Horse Ever?

Horse Racing NAP of the Day: 13/8 Horse Racing Betting Tip This Wednesday + a £25 Risk Free BetAndre Fabre has hailed the unbeaten filly as probably one of the best he has ever trained – after just two races.

Owned by Juddmonte Stud, she is by Frankel and out of multiple American Grade One winner Emollient.

A winner over an extended seven furlongs at Deauville on debut, Raclette was hugely impressive in a conditions race at Chantilly last week and now has a Group One date in the Prix Marcel Boussac looming.

“She was very impressive last time out and she is probably one of the best fillies I have ever trained – she’s got everything,” said Fabre.

“She has acceleration, a wonderful temperament, so far she is doing everything right. We’ll go for the Boussac with her next.

“It is quite a big step going from a conditions race to a Group One, but she was way better than her opponents last time.

Is this Andre Fabre’s Best Horse Ever?

 

Breeders’ Cup News & Notes: Juvenile Turf Contender Mackinnon

A Del Mar meet with no fans? A horse racing unthinkable could become realityPost-race Notes from Del Mar Juvenile Turf Mackinnon, winner on closing day at Del Mar (9/6/21)

JUAN HERNANDEZ (Mackinnon, winner) – “Doug just basically told me to ride him with confidence. We were doing OK until we got to the far turn and I felt him get a little lazy on me. So when we went for home and he changed leads, I hit him left-handed with the stick on time and he jumped back into it. From there we just went on with it. He’s a nice horse and the way he finished out today, I think he’ll like to run on.”

O’NEILL (Mackinnon, winner) “He broke his maiden (here July 31) in a manner that we were hoping this day would come but you never know. So much credit to the owners being so patient and Juan (Hernandez) being so patient with this colt. I was a little bit concerned as the race unfolded. I knew that (Optimising) was the X-factor. I knew he was in from Europe and had been working well and had great connections and was in a great spot. But when Juan called on MacKinnon and he responded I started smiling. If he stays injury free the ($1 Million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf on November 5) is the goal.”


Del Mar Juvenile Turf – Del Mar 9/6/2021

FRACTIONS:  :23.13  :46.79  1:11.67  1:23.88  1:36.24

The stakes win was the fourth of the meet for rider Hernandez, but his first in the Del Mar Juvenile Turf. He now has 11 stakes wins at Del Mar.

The stakes win was the first of the meet for trainer O’Neill and his first in the Del Mar Juvenile Turf. He now has 40 stakes wins at Del Mar.

The winning owners ERJ Racing (professional hockey player Erik Johnson of Denver, CO) and Dave Kenney.

More News & Notes on the Breeders’ Cup at Del Mar

Breeders’ Cup Festival to Kick Off Nov. 1st in California

Breeders’ Cup, one of Thoroughbred horse racing’s most prestigious international events, announced today the lineup for the 2021 Breeders’ Cup Festival presented by PNC Bank. This week-long series of events and activations will run November 1-6, 2021, with events preceding and following the 38th annual horse racing World Championships which takes place on November 5-6, 2021, at the Del Mar racetrack. In partnership with Del Mar Village Association (DMVA) and sponsored by PNC Bank, the Festival will bring residents and visitors together to celebrate Breeders’ Cup while supporting local businesses and engaging with the community.

“In addition to featuring the greatest horse racing in the world, Breeders’ Cup showcases the host city’s best local food, entertainment and culture. We’re excited to be back at Del Mar for a second time, and we look forward to offering our fans a rich selection of events and activities through this year’s festival,” says Drew Fleming, Breeders’ Cup President and CEO. “There are no better partners than PNC Bank and the Del Mar Village Association to help bring this festival to life and we hope to see residents of San Diego County and beyond enjoying our Championship races and festival events, all while supporting local businesses.”

The week-long festival consists of a variety of community events leading up to Breeders’ Cup, the horse racing World Championships taking place at the Del Mar racetrack in November 2021 

The Breeders’ Cup Festival will run from Monday, November 1 to Saturday, November 6 and includes a variety of free and ticketed events. Confirmed event highlights are included below:

  • Rood & Riddle Breeders’ Cup Post-Position Draw (Monday, November 1): The official post-position draw determines the starting gate positions (number) of each horse in each Breeders’ Cup World Championships race.

    Location: Del Mar Racetrack (Paddock), 2260 Jimmy Durante, Del Mar

  • Del Mar Village Live Music (Tuesday, November 2 – Sunday, November 7): Local musicians will perform throughout Downtown Del Mar Village.

    Location: Del Mar Plaza Deck

  • Fashionable Fillies Goes West Benefiting The Jockey Club Safety Net Foundation (Wednesday, November 3): A fundraiser in collaboration with Del Mar Village Stores & Boutiques will be held at the Del Mar Plaza and its surrounding shops from 3-5 p.m. For more information, tickets and sponsorships please visit Tinyurl.com/GoesWest2021

    Location: Del Mar Plaza, 1555 Camino Del Mar, Del Mar

  • Edwin J. Gregson Foundation Gala (Wednesday, November 3): A celebration honoring champion trainer John Gosden will raise money to fund scholarships for children of backstretch employees. The event will take place at the Fairmont Grand Del Mar from 6-10 p.m. Visit www.gregsonfoundation.com or call (626) 447-2339 for more information. Please reserve seats early for this can’t-miss event, as seating is limited!

   Location: 5300 Grand Del Mar Ct, San Diego, CA 92130

  • DMTC Bing Crosby Season Opening Day VIP Viewing Party & Breeders’ “Cup” of Beer & Whiskey Wednesday (Wednesday, November 3): In celebration of Del Mar’s Bing Crosby Fall racing season Opening Day, Monarch Ocean Pub will hold a VIP viewing party from 12:30 – 5 p.m. and a barrel beer and whiskey tasting with small bites and live music from 6-9 p.m.

    Location: Monarch Ocean Pub, 1555 Camino Del Mar Suite 322, Del Mar

  • Festival Golf Tournament (Thursday, November 4): Highlighting one of the area’s most coveted golf courses, the Del Mar Country Club tournament will host up to 100 guests for a day of friendly competition.

    Location: Del Mar Country Club, 6001 Clubhouse Dr, Rancho Santa Fe, CA 92067

  • DMVA Breeders’ Cup VIP Welcome Party (Thursday, November 4): DMVA will host a Del Mar Village Breeders’ Cup kick-off event from 6-9 p.m. presented by PNC Bank with music, curated cocktails, ocean views and Del Mar flavors. Tickets are available by invite only.

    Location: Monarch Ocean Pub, 1555 Camino Del Mar Suite 322, Del Mar

Additional events throughout the 2021 Breeders’ Cup Festival include a poker tournament, a Tacos & Tequila Tuesday in Del Mar Village and daily Viewing Parties at Del Mar Village businesses with special Breeders’ Cup cocktails. There will be fundraisers including an event in support of the Thoroughbred Charities of America (TCA). Details for all events are being confirmed and will be available on the Breeders’ Cup Festival website, www.BreedersCupFestival.com, in the coming weeks.

In 2017, Breeders’ Cup and the accompanying festival drew thousands to the San Diego region, setting the highest recorded economic impact for the championship event with $97 million in economic benefits. “We are grateful to Breeders’ Cup for returning to Del Mar and the economic support it brings to our community,” says Craig Dado, Del Mar Thoroughbred Club CMO. “This is a milestone event for our city and we look forward to repeating 2017’s success.”

Breeders’ Cup tickets are still available for purchase online at BreedersCup.com/Tickets or by calling the ticketing office at 1-877-849-4287. Fans are required to purchase tickets in advance of the event.


ABOUT BREEDERS’ CUP

The Breeders’ Cup administers the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, Thoroughbred horse racing’s year-end Championships, as well as the Breeders’ Cup Challenge qualifying series, which provides automatic starting positions into the Championships races. The Breeders’ Cup is also a founding member of the Thoroughbred Safety Coalition, an organization composed of industry leaders committed to advancing safety measures in Thoroughbred racing and improving the well-being of equine and human athletes.

The 2021 Breeders’ Cup World Championships, consisting of 14 Championship races, is scheduled to be held on November 5-6 at Del Mar racetrack in Del Mar, California. The event will be televised live by the NBC Sports Group. Breeders’ Cup press releases appear on the Breeders’ Cup website, breederscup.com. You can also follow the Breeders’ Cup on social media.

About Del Mar Thoroughbred Club

Del Mar will present its 82nd year of racing with its Summer 2021 racing season running from July 16 – Labor Day, September 6. The Bing Crosby Fall Racing Season will run Wednesday, November 3 – Thanksgiving, November 28. The Del Mar Thoroughbred Club will host the Breeders’ Cup Horse Racing World Championships on November 5-6, 2021 for the second time in track history.  For more information, call 858-755-1141 or visit www.dmtc.com. You can follow Del Mar on Instagram and Twitter at @delmarracing or on Facebook @DelMarRaces.

About Del Mar Village

Del Mar is a quaint seaside village 20 minutes north of San Diego on the Southern California Coastline and 2 minutes from the renowned Del Mar Racetrack. Del Mar is rich with beauty, amenities, and history. Since the legendary days of Hollywood’s golden years, Del Mar has been the destination of choice for movie stars as well as those with a taste for fast horses, breathtaking vistas, stunning sandstone canyons, accessible pristine beaches, and award-winning cuisine with dazzling ocean views. The affluent and historic Del Mar Village offers a variety of unique mom and pop shops, spectacular ocean-view restaurants and charming beach-style hotels. For more information about the Del Mar Village, visit www.visitdelmarvillage.com.

Preview: G1 Prix Vermeille – Sunday morning Sept. 12

A Breeders’ Cup prep for Del Mar

The stand-out performer of the season, Snowfall has set records in both the G1 Epsom Oaks and the G1 Irish Oaks with impressive winning margins.

The G1 Prix Vermeille (run at 2400m) is the headline race on Arc Trials Day, and it has attracted the best fillies and mares in Europe. This race looks like being one of the 2021 highlights on the racing calendar globally. G1 Epsom Oaks (2400m) heroine Snowfall will take on G1 Prix de Diane (2100m) winner Joan of Arc in an exciting contest ahead of the G1 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (2400m)…

Burgarita
Burgarita remains unexposed compared to her opponents with only four starts. She impressed with a useful third in the G1 Prix de Diane (2100m) on her third outing and has since placed second in the G3 Prix Minerve (2500m) at Deauville. She is capable of featuring.

Arc winner Enable winning in France French

Enable winning in France

Philomene
Philomene has enjoyed a strong Classic campaign, finishing sixth in the G1 Poule d’Essai des Pouliches (1600m) before a second in the G1 Prix de Diane (2100m). She would need to step up from her recent fourth in the G2 Prix Guillaume d’Ornano (2000m) though. This will be her first attempt over the trip.

Teona
After a disappointing run in the G1 Epsom Oaks (2400m), Teona was dropped in class and impressed with a three and three-quarter length win in the Listed August Stakes (2290m) at Windsor. This is a considerably tougher task.

La Joconde
Despite finishing downfield in the G1 Irish Oaks (2400m), La Joconde showed a better level of form when third in the G1 Yorkshire Oaks (2370m) behind stablemate Snowfall. She is probably the weakest of the O’Brien quartet on form.

Joan of Arc
A beautifully bred full-sister to Group One winners Gleneagles, Happily and Marvellous, Joan of Arc was an eye catching winner of the G1 Prix de Diane (2100m). She did not perform up to expectations when third in the G1 Nassau Stakes (1980m) subsequently and may appreciate the return to a longer journey.

Snowfall
The stand-out performer of the season, Snowfall has set records in both the G1 Epsom Oaks (2400m) and the G1 Irish Oaks (2400m) with impressive winning margins. She was a comfortable three and a half-length winner when tried against the older mares in the G1 Yorkshire Oaks (2400m) and is the horse to beat.

Incarville
Winner of the G1 Prix Saint-Alary (2000m) at Longchamp in May, the French trained filly has been disappointing since. She was beaten less than two lengths when fifth in the G2 Prix de la Nonette (2000m) at Deauville and could plausibly improve for a longer trip.

Source: French PMU

Breeders’ Cup at Del Mar: Sunday’s G1 Prix du Moulin

Preview: G1 Prix du Moulin de Longchamp on Sunday, September 5

The Prix du Moulin is a Group One thoroughbred race for horses aged three years or older, over 1600m at Longchamp. First run in 1957, the event has been staged at the Parisienne venue since 1987. They have raced on the first Sunday in September since 1980 with a view to realigning the European mile division. The aim was to avoid a clash between the Group One contests of the Sussex Stakes, Prix Jacques le Marois and Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (all over 1600m). We look at this season’s line-up, which could include a Breeders’ Cup starter or two at Del Mar.

Lope Y Fernandez

Winner of a Listed event on seasonal reappearance, the Aidan O’Brien-trained four-year-old has contested four consecutive Group One events, including a well-held seventh dropping to 1300m in the G1 Prix Maurice de Gheest at Deauville last month. This extra distance is likely to help but needs to find something to reach the placings.

Victor Ludorum

A talented performer under the tutelage of André Fabre. Finding it hard to scale the heights at the top table since winning last year’s G1 Poule d’Essai des Poulains (1600m) with the Shamardal colt finishing downfield in the G1 Prix Jacques le Marois (1600m), nearly eight lengths behind the reopposing Poetic Flare. This looks a tough assignment.

Horse racing: Del Mar’s closing weekend includes 4 graded stakes racesOrder Of Australia

Last season’s shock G1 Breeders’ Cup Mile winner arrives after arguably a career-best performance. The Aidan O’Brien contender is likely first string and ran a good third in the Prix Jacques le Marois after setting a strong pace throughout. He thrives on a fast surface and could play a pivotal pace angle to the contest, with the chance of sneaking a place.

Baaeed

The William Haggas-trained Baaeed has swept all before him in four unbeaten starts, including an easy victory in the G3 Throughbred Stakes (1600m) at Goodwood in July. The son of Sea The Stars had already shown Group One potential prior to that effortless success, with an abundance of scope for progress. This is his toughest test to date, taking on proven Group One winners, but the manner of his victories indicates he rates a leading candidate on his first attempt at this level. He is the style angle versus the substance already showcased by his rivals, which should offer a fascinating conclusion to this epic encounter.

Novemba

Novemba was a Group Two winner in Germany earlier in the campaign. The Gleneagles filly was a fine fourth in the G1 Coronation Stakes (1600m) at Royal Ascot subsequently but has ground to make up with both Snow Lantern (second) and Coeursamba, who ran sixth in the G1 Prix Rothschild (1600m) in August, when Novemba was a well-beaten eleventh.

Snow Lantern

The G1 Falmouth Stakes (1600m) heroine Snow Lantern bids to give Richard Hannon a first win in the race. The daughter of Frankel brings strong form to the event, finishing ahead of a trio of subsequent Group 1 winners in the Newmarket showpiece including Mother Earth who subsequently won the Prix Rothschild, Alcohol Free scored in the G1 Sussex Stakes (1600m) and Lady Bowthorpe was successful in the G1 Prix Nassau (2000m). This track should suit her better than at Goodwood, when a luckless third in the aforementioned Sussex Stakes and she rates a major contender with her three-year-old fillies weight allowance.

Coeursamba

Coeursamba was a determined winner of the G1 Poule d’Essai des Pouliches (1600m) at this track prior to a pair of held efforts in subsequent Group One races. The Jean-Claude Rouget-trained three-year-old filly ran better than her finishing position of sixth suggests in the Prix Rothschild, when denied a clear run at a crucial point of the race. She can’t be ruled out for a placing with her age and sex weight allowance.

Source: French PMU

Breeders’ Cup at Del Mar: Cox Has Two Pistols for $6M Classic

Trainer Brad Cox is holding two aces regarding the richest horse race in North America.

Defending Breeders’ Cup winners Essential Quality (Juvenile) and Knicks Go (Dirt Mile) are pointing to the $6 million Classic Nov. 6 at Del Mar in Southern California. Both come off Grade 1 victories at Saratoga in upstate New York, 5-year-old Knicks Go in the Whitney Stakes and champion 3-year-old Essential Quality in the $1.25-million Travers Stakes Saturday.

Knicks Go is ranked first and Essential Quality third in the newest National Thoroughbred Racing Association poll. Knicks Go, a 2020 Oaklawn allowance winner, is targeting the Grade 3 Lukas Classic Oct. 3 at Churchill Downs as his last prep for the Classic. Cox said he is unsure about Essential Quality’s next start before the Tapit colt takes on older horses in the Classic, which like the Travers is 10 furlongs.

“We’ll just let the dust settle and enjoy the victory for a little bit. I think that’s the right thing to do,” Cox said. “We’ll make a decision in a week or two weeks. The most important thing is watching him and how he trains.”

Winning the Travers by a neck over Midnight Bourbon, giving him an 8-0-1 record from nine starts, Essential Quality…  read the rest

Jam-packed Stakes card for Saturday’s Pacific Classic Day

Four Graded stakes, each eligible to be a card topper on a given day, instead will provide a first-rate “undercard” for Saturday’s Pacific Classic Day at Del Mar.

Topping the quartet are a pair of $300,000 offerings – the Grade I Del Mar Oaks for 3-year-old fillies and the Grade II Del Mar Handicap presented by The Japan Racing Association. The former is run at nine furlongs on grass, while the latter goes at a mile and three eighths on the green for 3-year-olds and up.

Inside Information: Del Mar Racing is back and better than everAlso on the agenda is another $300,000 Grade II special, the Del Mar Mile on the main track. The fourth stakes is the Grade III, $100,000 Torrey Pines Stakes for sophomore fillies traveling a mile on the dirt.

The Oaks has lured a field of nine including a pair of shippers: Head of Plains Partners’ Fluffy Socks in from New York and Yuesheng Zhang’s Soaring Sky aboard from her native Ireland.

The Del Mar Handicap will bring out 10 competitors and sets up for a clash of titans between two of the best grass route horses in the country in LNJ Foxwoods’ United and Donegal Racing, Bulger and Coneway’s Arklow.

Six will go hard and heavy at the classic flat mile in the Del Mar Mile and each and everyone of them is a major stakes winner. Their purse earnings got past the $5.4-million mark and they’re all seasoned racehorses eligible to fire a big shot Saturday.

In the Torrey Pines, seven will face the starter, each of them eyeing their first graded stakes score. The Fast Anna filly I’m So Anna has the most bragging rights in the group currently with a pair of Cal-bred stakes on her ledger and $289,740 in the bank.

Undercard for Pacific Classic Day

The “undercard” races will be run like this: Torrey Pines – 6th Race; Del Mar Mile – 7th Race; Del Mar Oaks – 9th Race; Del Mar Handicap – 11th Race. The TVG Pacific Classic is the day’s 10th Race.

The key prep race for the Del Mar Oaks is the Grade II, $150,000 San Clemente Stakes, run at Del Mar at a mile on the turf on July 24. The one, two, three finishers from the race — Kaleem Shah’s Madone, Dubb, Gevertz or Nentwig, et al’s Going Global and Slam Dunk Racing or Platts’ Tetragonal – are all back to try their luck in the more demanding and more lucrative Oaks.

The likely battle royale between United and Arklow in the Del Mar Handicap will be a fitting nitecap to a delicious day of racing. The pair of turf behemoths bring plenty of bragging rights to the race: United, a 6-year-old gelding by Giant’s Causeway, has won nine races and $1,675,549. He was second, beaten a head, in this race last year. Arklow also has won nine races, but his bankroll goes past his chief rival at $2,755,746. The long-winded stretch kicker shipped to Del Mar last fall and made short work of the Hollywood Turf Cup at a mile and a half. Both runners will have their regular riders – Flavien Prat on United and Florent Geroux on Arklow.

The Del Mar Handicap is a Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” Challenge race that guarantees the winner all expenses paid admission into the $4 million Breeders’ Cup Turf, which will be run at Del Mar on Saturday, November 6.

Source: Dmtc.com

Preview of Sunday’s G1 Prix Jacques Le Marois, the race won by Goldikova

French horse racing blurrGroup 1 Prix Jacques Le Marois – Sunday at Deauville, France

Sunday’s Prix Jacques le Marois is a Group One contest over the 1600m distance for colts and fillies aged three years or older at Deauville, with a prize pool of $1M. This race, which typically has Breeders’ Cup implications, was named after Jacques le Marois, who was President of the Deauville racecourse committee.

Three-year-olds have an excellent record in the Deauville carnival highlight. They are in receipt of 2.5kg from their older rivals, which has proved to be a notable advantage in recent years.

Seven three-year-olds have triumphed in the previous ten seasons, including a pair of three-year-old fillies. Three-year-old fillies hold the greatest edge receiving an additional 1.5kg weight allowance and those from that category to have won this prestigious prize include Immortal Verse (2011) and Alpha Centauri (2018).

Dual Group One winner Poetic Flare (Dawn Approach) looks to be the standout three-year-old, attempting to dethrone Palace Pier (Kingman) after his determined victory in this race last term. Another eyecatching contender is three-year-old filly Mother Earth (Zoffany), who won the G1 Prix Rothschild (1600m) over course and distance at the start of this month.

Palace Pier 

Winner of this race in 2020, Palace Pier has only been defeated once in his nine race career. He has been a comfortable winner of all three starts in 2021 including the G1 Queen Anne Stakes (1600m) at Royal Ascot and is the horse to beat again.

Victor Ludorum

Victor Ludorum was the G1 Poule d’Essai des Poulains (1600m) champion in 2020 and was back to winning ways when scoring by three lengths in the G3 Prix Messidor (1600m) at Chantilly on 18 July. His confidence will be boosted by that success, and he is very capable of a big performance at the top level.

Order of Australia

Order of Australia surprised many when out-running long odds to win the G1 Breeders’ Cup Mile (1600m) at Keeneland in November. He has not shown the same level of form since despite winning the G2 Minstrel Stakes (1400m) at the Curragh in July and would need to prove he can replicate.

Ecrivain

Fourth in the G1 Poule d’Essai des Poulains (1600m) in 2020, Ecrivan has always demonstrated a fair level of ability. He bounced back with a win in the G3 Prix Bertrand du Breuil (1600m) at Chantilly in late June but may struggle back in Group One company.

Alpine Star

Alpine Star is looking to emulate her half-sister Alpha Centauri, winner of the G1 Prix Jacques le Marois (1600m) in 2018. She defeated a good field of Classic fillies in the G1 Coronation Stakes (1600m) at Royal Ascot in 2020 and subsequently finished runner up in the G1 Prix de Diane (2100m) at Chantilly. She also finished second in last year’s renewal of this race.  She was a narrow second in the Listed Lyric Fillies’ Stakes (2050m) on reappearance at York in late July and is expected to improve for the run.

Poetic Flare  

Poetic Flare has demonstrated toughness and tenacity during his Classic campaign. He started with a success in the G1 2000 Guineas (1600m) at Newmarket before a sixth in the French equivalent and was narrowly defeated by his stable-mate Mac Swiney in the G1 Irish 2000 Guineas (1600m). There was a return to winning ways in the G1 St James’ Palace Stakes (1600m) at Royal Ascot and he produced another bold effort when second against the older horses in the G1 Sussex Stakes (1600m). The Dawn Approach colt can never be ignored at the top level.

Colosseo 

Unable to win since his juvenile debut in September 2020, Colosseo has produced some big efforts at the top level including a second in the G1 Poule d’Essai des Poulains (1600m). It would be a big ask to defeat the leading contenders.

Midtown 

Midtown took a considerable step up in class when third in the G1 Prix Jean Prat (1400m) and is open to further progression after only three starts. He is an unknown quantity in a field of experienced rivals.

Chindit

Winner of the G2 Vintage Stakes (1410m) at Glorious Goodwood as a juvenile, Chindit has struggled to break through at Group One level despite two solid fifths in G1 2000 Guineas (1600m) and G1 St James’ Palace Stakes (1600m). Improvement would be required.

Mother Earth  

Mother Earth continued to add further success to her glittering three-year-old CV, winning the G1 Prix Rothschild (1600m) at the start of the month. She has not finished out of the top three all year and cannot be ignored.

Past winners of the Prix Jacques Le Marois include: Palace Pier (2020), Alpha Centauri (2018), Ribchester (2016), Kingman (2014), Moonlight Cloud (2013), Excelebration (2012), Makfi (2010), Goldikova (2009), Manduro (2007), Dubawi (2005), Six Perfections (2003), Banks Hill (2002), Dubai Millennium (1999), Spinning World (1996 and 1997), East Of The Moon (1994), Sayyedati (1993), Miesque (1987/1988), Lianga (1975), Nonoalco (1974), Hula Dancer (1963), Pearl Cap (1931) and Sir Gallahad (1923).

Source: French PMU

Breeders Cup at Del Mar: French Group Summer Stakes

French horse racing blurrThe spring and summer French Classics have now been run and we have seen the best of the European three-year-olds in the G1 Grand Prix de Paris (2400m) and the G1 Prix Jean Prat (1400m) – so what have we learnt so far?

It has been a year of Irish domination so far with Ballydoyle trainer Aidan O’Brien picking up three of the four French Classics. It began with a historic first success in the G1 Poule d’Essai des Poulains (1600m) with St Mark’s Basilica. The Siyouni colt swerved the G1 2000 Guineas (1600m) at Newmarket (UK) and dominated the French equivalent two weeks later, comfortably winning by one and three-quarter lengths ahead of the Italian-trained Colosseo in second.

St Mark’s Basilica recorded the same winning margin a month later when taking the G1 Prix du Jockey Club (2100m) at Chantilly, easily beating the French-based Sealiway and Millebosc. Stable-mate Joan Of Arc had a harder task in the G1 Prix de Diane (2100m) against short-priced favourite Philomene from the André Fabre stable. A beautifully bred half-sister to multiple Group One winners, Joan Of Arc had to be driven hard to repel the late surge of Philomene but stayed on well and was eased close to home.

The only French victory in the Classics came in the G1 Poule d’Essai des Pouliches (1600m) when Couersamba out-ran long odds to beat the Aidan O’Brien trained G1 1000 Guineas (1600m) heroine Mother Earth. Couersamba was settled in mid-division and made good progress in the final 400m under jockey Cristian Demuro, recording a one and a quarter length winning margin.

The Irish sprang a surprise in the G1 Prix Jean Prat with Laws Of Indices improving from his fifth in the G1 Commonwealth Cup (1200m) at Royal Ascot. This Ken Condon trained colt seemed to appreciate the step up in distance and held on to win by a head from Joseph O’Brien’s Thunder Moon. Midtown finished the best of the home team in third.

Hurricane Lane backed up his eye catching G1 Irish Derby (2400m) success with an impressive six length win in the G1 Grand Prix de Paris (2400m). The top four at the finishing line were all trained in the UK or Ireland, with Baby Rider achieving the best finish of the French-trained contingent in fifth.

French 3yos

With the Classic generation now stepping into open company, it will be interesting to see how the three-year-olds fare against their older rivals. Over the shorter distances, the top sprinters are expected to come together in the G1 Prix Maurice de Gheest (1300m) at Deauville on 8 August. Connections of G1 Commonwealth Cup (1200m) first and second Campanelle and Dragon Symbol will be looking to confirm who is the best three-year-old sprinter after the original placings were reversed due to interference by Dragon Symbol. The colt has since proven he can race with the fastest horses in Europe, finishing second in the G1 July Cup (1200m) at Newmarket (UK). G1 Prix Jean Prat (1400m) winner Laws Of Indices is expected to join them and Jean-Claude Rouget indicated Prix Jean Prat fourth Valloria will try her luck over 1300m.

Looking towards the Autumn, three-year-olds dominate the betting for the G1 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (2400m) and Aidan O’Brien’s Snowfall continues to shorten at the head of the market. The filly set a new record for the largest winning distance in a UK Classic when defeating her nearest rival by sixteen lengths in the G1 Oaks (2400m) at Epsom Downs (UK) and has since won the Irish equivalent by eight and a half. With a three-year-old fillies weight allowance, she deserves her place as favourite for the Autumn showpiece. Hurricane Lane is well-fancied to go close after his performance over course and distance in the G1 Grand Prix de Paris (2400m) while G1 Derby (2400m) hero Adayar cannot be dismissed.

Although well-fancied in the betting for the G1 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, double Classic winner St Mark’s Basilica is expected to dominate the 2000m division for the remainder of the season. He comfortably beat the older horses by three and a half lengths in the G1 Eclipse (2000m) at Sandown Park in early July including 2020 G1 Prix du Jockey Club winner Mishriff. At this stage of the year, it is difficult to imagine who can beat the rising star of the 2021 season.

Source: French PMU

Sunday Morning’s G1 Prix de Diane, a Breeders’ Cup Prep

The Prix de Diane Longines, restricted to three-year-old fillies and run over 2,100 meters at Chantilly, consecrates the best French filly, if European one, each season. It’s a group one contest, which is the pinnacle of the horse racing grading system.

 

French horse racing blurrCHANTILLY: THE STATE OF THE GROUND

It is difficult to predict how the ground will ride at Chantilly on Sunday, June 20, 2021. After a heatwave lasting several days, thunderstorms are forecast from Thursday to Sunday, although there will be lulls in the weather. Marin Le Cour Grandmaison oversees the running of Chantilly racecourse and its training centre, and he explained: «On Wednesday morning, the ground rated 3.2 (good) on the penetrometer scale. We are in the same situation as we were before the Qatar Prix du Jockey-Club. Thunderstorms are forecast from Thursday morning onwards: and, for the moment, it is difficult to predict how the ground will ride on Sunday. It will really depend on the amount of rainfall, it’s quite random. The Chantilly track has been cared for in the same manner as before the Jockey-Club, so to anticipate the effect of the storms as much as possible. Given the very sandy nature of the soil the course drains [well], and the track hasn’t been used since the Jockey-Club; it has been mowed, rolled and aerated. The far running rail will remain in its usual place. It’s a really headache when it comes to anticipating how many millimetres of rain will fall on the course, and the storms will be the key determiner regarding the state of the ground. »

 

WHAT CONNECTIONS ARE SAYING

THE CHANTILLY TRAINING CENTRE (60)

  • Francis-Henri Graffard (the trainer of Sweet Lady and Es La Vida)

 «Sweet Lady has had a fair amount of time between races since the Poule d’Essai, which has done her good. I will be very happy to try her over a longer trip on Sunday. I think she will relish this – given her style of racing. Regarding the going, I just want it to be “safe” ground and not too firm, but if the thunderstorms and the rain materialize, it won’t bother me, on the contrary!

 

The owner of Es La Vida wishes to tackle the Diane. The filly is fine so I agreed but with one proviso: it will have to rain! I believe that she’s better over 1,600m but is in good shape. »

 

  • Alain de Royer Dupré (the trainer of Khalidiya)

 

« We’ve had no problems with her preparation. The filly seems to be in really good shape. We have tried to bring her on in condition with her racing.  She is not far off her peak. She has benefited from a similar campaign to Daryaba (the winner of the Prix de Diane Longines in 1999) but they aren’t entirely similar fillies. Daryaba was a fairly laid back whereas Khalidiya is more on her toes and, therefore, far more reactive. To prepare for these big races, I find it easier to handle horses which have previously contested races in which they haven’t had to force their talent. She could have had some hard races in the prep races. Before she saw the racecourse, I really thought she was something special. She was one of my best fillies. Soft ground would be a big disadvantage. As her physique isn’t compatible when it comes to acting on muddy tracks. Good ground would be ideal. Ground which is too fast could also prove problematic. She is by Oasis Dream and his progeny aren’t reputed to be soft ground performers. Khalidiya takes after her mother, even if she has more speed than her. Let’s hope we get a good draw. »

 

  • David Smaga (the trainer of Incarville)

 

« Incarville has come out of the Saint-Alary in very good order. The filly worked the Tuesday  before last (June 8), which was a get to know exercise regarding Chantilly racecourse, and it was remarkable. Incarville’s coat has a real sheen and she’s very happy in herself. She is taking everything in her stride, and is in good spirits. If it were to rain on the big day, that would be fine by me! However, she has proved that all types of ground come alike to her. The other day it was quite soft. That doesn’t bother her at all, and can we same the same of some of the other runners…. »

 

  • Philippe Decouz (the trainer of Natsukashi)

 

Philippe Decouz said: «Antoine Griezmann is proud to have a runner at this level. He began his quest when it came to sourcing very good horses from the outset. To have a runner in the Prix de Diane Longines is very exciting for him. Natsukashi sealed her passage for the Prix de Diane and she has the profile for this type of race. We are anticipating that the race will attract a big field, and we aren’t going into the race as one of the leading fancies. However, we have the right to have a crack, especially given what she has achieved in just two starts. Antoine Griezmann has given me a free hand. He’s not someone who puts pressure on you. If he isn’t training [with the national team], he will, of course, be glued to television screen so he can watch his filly. He’s really into his racing! The filly was merely required to stretch her legs during her training on Tuesday morning. She’s in superb condition. In the wake of her first two outings, she has matured and improved physically. Regarding the ground, Natsukashi acted well on soft ground at ParisLongchamp. It didn’t seem to bother her. We will adapt our tactics according to the draw. »

 

THE DEAUVILLE TRAINING CENTRE (14)

 

  • Jean-Claude Rouget (the trainer of Coeursamba and Light Stars)

 

« It’s true that after the Poule d’Essai des Pouliches, that I had talked about the possibility of keeping Coeursamba to a mile, and a crack at the Coronation Stakes was mooted. However, on one hand, making travel arrangements is very complicated, and, on the other hand, she would have had to be supplemented. There would have been a significant cost factor to all of us, and we have to weigh this against the prize money on offer for Diane, even if you get placed. So we’ll try the step up in distance, knowing that the filly worked very well on Monday morning. If the 2,100m proves to be too far, we’ll still have the option of reverting to a mile without having devalued the filly. Cristian Demuro will ride her. Light Stars won the Prix Caravelle – Haras des Granges (L) in good style. She had previously disappointed us at Saint-Cloud for no apparent reason, but I noticed that a lot of horses ran badly that day. »

 

 

LA TESTE TRAINING CENTRE (33)

 

  • Christophe Ferland (the trainer of Cirona)

 

«All lights are flashing green! Cirona will, of course, be in the line-up. She is indifferent to the state of the ground. The forecast rainy spell will hold no terrors for her. »

 

THE CALAS-CABRIÈS TRAINING CENTRE (13)

 

  • Pauline Chehboub (the manager of the Haras de la Gousserie, the owner of Rougir)

 

«Rougir will be in the Prix de Diane Longines line-up. We are lucky to have a filly who can act on all types of ground. If the [forecast] storms were to render the track heavy, she would not be inconvenienced. As far as the longer trip is concerned, that shouldn’t be a problem. Normally, she should have done her last piece of work on Wednesday, but the mare is clearly ready. Franck Blondel is expected to ride Rougir. »

 

SPOTLIGHT ON THE FOREIGN CONTENDERS

 

  • Christoph Berglar (the owner of Amazing Grace)

 

«We think she has what it takes for this race. That’s it in a nutshell! I know that it’s a real challenge and that the opposition will be tough. Usually, I’m a cautious owner by nature. I never tend to overplay my hand. Amazing Grace didn’t have the best of races, and she wasn’t ridden to best advantage, at Hoppegarten (Berlin). Despite this, she won the Diana Trial (Group 2, 2,000m). That day, she made up six lengths, on a track which rated good, to win by three-quarters of a length from Noble Heidi. As a two-year-old, she had already shown a lot of quality over trips which were too sharp for her. In the Preis der Winterkonigin, the top race for two-year-old fillies in Germany, Amazing Grace finished very strongly. She has a lot of quality and we think she deserves to take her chance in the Prix de Diane. I think that she prefers strongly run races, where there is plenty of tempo. »

 

  • Henke Grewe (the trainer of Noble Heidi)

 

«She is a very good filly with good form lines. She needs soft ground and we are banking on the storms making an appearance at Chantilly this week. The distance is perfect for her. It will, of course, be a test. However, it’s a very exciting challenge for the whole team, including the owner and the jockey. She will be ridden by Andrasch Starke. »

 

THE KEY TALKING POINTS

 

  • Coeursamba is out to complete a difficult double

 

This year, a filly will attempt to complete the Emirates Poule d’Essai des Pouliches – Prix de Diane Longines double. In common with the Prix de Diane Longines, the Emirates Poule d’Essai des Pouliches is a classic race, which aims to determine the cream of the crop of a particular thoroughbred generation. The aim is simply to determine the best stallion prospects so as to ultimately improve the breed.

 

Coeursamba won at Paris-Longchamp on 16 May over 1,600 metres (1m). On Sunday, she will tackle the 2,100 metres trip for the first time: which represents a major challenge because, like any athlete, each thoroughbred’s optimum trip is determined by his/her genetic makeup. At a first glance, this is a mile (1,600 metres) in the case of Coeursamba. However, her trainer, Jean-Claude Rouget, who conditions the filly at the Deauville training centre, thinks that she can stay a little further. This isn’t the first time he has achieved this: having trained both Avenir Certain (2014) and La Cressonnière (2016) to complete the classic double.

 

  • His Highness Aga Khan seeks his eighth win

 

If there is one man who is particularly symptomatic with success in the Prix de Diane, it is His Highness the Aga Khan. The Aga Khan has won the race a record seven times. His prior wins were recorded by Shemaka (1993), Vereva (1997), Zainta (1998), Daryaba (1999), Zarkava (2008), Sarafina (2010) and Valyra (2012). Apart from the latter, all of these fillies were trained by his trusted handler, Alain de Royer-Dupré. This professional, whose stables nestle in the heart of the Chantilly forest, will saddle Khalidiya this year. She is one of the least experienced fillies in the field: having only raced twice, which entailed a second place on her debut at ParisLongchamp on 18 April, and was followed by a victory, also at Paris-Longchamp, in a ‘maiden’ race, which is restricted to horses that have never won a race. It’s a daring gamble, but Alain de Royer-Dupré is a dab hand when it comes to preparing his fillies to bridge this gap! Daryaba, to cite just one example, began her career with a debut second as a three-year-old in April, which was the springboard to her landing a maiden race three weeks later followed by the Prix de Diane Longines!

 

  • A first ‘goal’ for Antoine Griezmann ?

 

Antoine Griezmann, one of the strikers of the French national football team, is fully immersed in ‘Les Bleus’ Euro 2021 campaign. However, he is about to undergo an intense moment emotionally thanks to the sport of horse racing!  As his filly Natsukashi is due to come under orders in the Prix de Diane Longines. Antoine Griezmann loves racing, a passion he inherited from his father, and he decided to become an owner in 2017. He has even embraced the role as ambassador for the Pari-Mutuel [French Tote] this year!

 

He entrusted Natsukashi to the care of a young trainer, Philippe Decouz, and the latter set up shop at the Chazey-sur-Ain training centre, in the Lyon region, in 2011. It’s also from where the Griezmann family originates. Since the start of the New Year, the trainer has chosen to base part of his string at Chantilly (Oise) – to the north of Paris. Chantilly revels in the role of being France’s biggest thoroughbred training centre, and one which is both renowned and admired the world over.

 

It’s in this particularly pleasant environment that is being fine-tuned for the classic. Despite not being among the favourites, a case can be made for Natsukashi, who has only raced twice to date (for a win and a second). As she is coming off a second in the Prix de la Seine, won by Burgarita, and the latter is one of the leading fancies for Sunday’s feature.

 

  • Making way for the young generation!

 

The Prix de Diane Longines constitutes a dream race for every professional. The “mere” fact of having a filly worthy of being entered in such a race is a feat in itself. Christopher Head, 34, is about to live this dream, thanks to Sibila Spain, and the latter has been supplemented (connections paid the sum of €66,000 of adding filly to the race as she didn’t feature among the original entries which closed on 17 February). In common with his father, Freddy Head, and his aunt, Christiane Head, two legends of the French training world, young Christopher chose to base himself at Chantilly (Oise). That was in 2018. Chantilly is the main thoroughbred training centre in France. It spans several communes (Chantilly, Lamorlaye, Gouvieux, Coye-la-Forêt and Avilly-Saint-Léonard) and extends to a total of 1,900 hectares.

 

  • Aidan O’Brien, at last?

 Aidan O’Brien is without doubt one of the most successful trainers in the world. The Irishman, works for Coolmore, one of the superpowers of the racing world, but he has yet to win the Prix de Diane Longines. The same was true prior to this year’s Qatar Prix du Jockey-Club, in which he finally broke the ice year via St Mark’s Basilica. On Sunday he will be represented by Joan of Arc, a remarkable filly and a prior classic winner, having already landed the Irish 1,000 Guineas: the equivalent of our Poule d’Essai des Pouliches. She will be ridden, in common with St Mark’s Basilica, by the Basque jockey Ioritz Mendizabal.

 

Ironically, it was another O’Brien who claimed Prix de Diane Longines success as a trainer last year: in the form of Aidan’s young son Donnacha (Fancy Blue), with O’Brien Snr having to settle for a close third with Peaceful on that occasion.