Group 1 Prix L’Opera Next Weekend

French horse racing blurrfrom the French PMU

We look at the likely leading contenders for the Prix l’Opera on ‘Arc’ Day (4 October) at Longchamp.  [This is typically a major prep race for the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare turf.]

 

Fancy Blue

One of multiple Group One winners for first-season trainer Donnacha O’Brien in 2020, Fancy Blue returns to France for the first time since her G1 Prix de Diane (2100m) success in July. Out of a half-sister to High Chaparral, the three-year-old filly confirmed her authority in the division with a G1 victory in the Nassau Stakes (2000m) at Glorious Goodwood. She has since run with credit to place third in the G1 Matron Stakes (1600m) at Leopardstown and will appreciate a return to a longer distance.

Tawkeel 

One of the top three-year-old fillies in France, Tawkeel remains unbeaten in five racecourse starts. She broke through for a Group One success in the Prix Saint-Alary (2000m) in June and was given time to develop before returning with a victory in the G2 Prix de la Nonette (2000m) at Deauville in late August. The Teofilo filly is potentially still improving and seems to excel over this distance.

Peaceful 

Irish 1000 Guineas winner Peaceful was unable to uphold the form against long-term rival Fancy Blue in the G1 Prix de Diane (2100m) over the longer distance finishing a neck third. Trainer Aidan O’Brien gave the filly time off the track following her big efforts in the Classics and she returned with a fair second in the G1 Matron Stakes at Leopardstown (1600m) in early September. It was well-documented by connections that they expected Peaceful to improve for the run and play a major role once again.

Alpine Star

Full sister to multiple Group One winner Alpha CentauriAlpine Star upheld the family reputation when scoring in the G1 Coronation Stakes (1600m) at Royal Ascot in June. The filly started favourite for the G1 Prix de Diane (2100m) and was narrowly denied by Fancy Blue, placing second. She returned to France for an eye-catching second in the G1 Prix Jacques Le Marois (1600m) at Deauville in open company and the experience against older competition will stand her in good stead.

Nazeef

Nazeef has emerged as a top-class miler in 2020 and recorded her first Group One success in the Falmouth Stakes (1600m) at Newmarket in July. Her unbeaten run was ended when she placed third in the G1 Nassau Stakes (2000m) behind Fancy Blue and the filly has since been well-beaten in the G1 Prix Jean Romanet (2000m). Although yet to win over 2000m, connections seem confident that Nazeef does stay and can reverse her fortunes.

Tarnawa 

Tarnawa was a surprise winner of the G1 Prix Vermeille (2400m) at Longchamp and has been generally overlooked this season despite an excellent record in stakes races, with five wins and two placings from nine attempts. A multiple winner over 2000m, Tarnawa is a proven stayer compared to the rest of the field and may use that stamina to her advantage.

Cayenne Pepper 

Cayenne Pepper is a top-class performer who has been very consistent throughout the course of her career. Having finished second in the G1 Irish Oaks (2400m) and the G3 Give Thanks Stakes (2400m) behind Tarnawa, she broke through for her first victory of the season when recording a four-length success in the G2 Blandford Stakes (2000m). Cayenne Pepper is very capable of producing a big performance against these rivals and must not be dismissed.

The Surprising Starship Jubilee goes for Woodbine Mile Today

Attard knew he was getting a decent horse when he won a three-way-shake to acquire the undistinguished, four-year-old filly for $16,000 at Gulfstream Park. But little did he know that Starship Jubilee — under the training tutelage of his son, Kevin Attard — would be named Canada’s Horse of the Year in 2019, Canada’s older female turf champ for three straight years, and win multiple graded stakes, including the prestigious Grade 1 E.P Taylor Stakes.

That $16,000 has turned out to be one of the all-time great investments in Canadian horse racing.

“Honestly, at the time when we claimed her, we were just looking for a horse that we could bring back to Woodbine that would be competitive in around the level that we claimed her at,” Kevin Attard told the Toronto Sun on Tuesday. “When you’re claiming horses, you’re never thinking — especially at that price level ($16,000) — ‘I’m going to claim this horse and I’m going to turn him into a stake winner. Because it doesn’t happen. You’re just hoping that maybe you can improve the horse a little bit and, if it gets a little bit better, you’re able to grind off a couple of wins.”

Wesley Ward 2yo Competes Sunday in France

Frankie Dettori: Enable will have to bring her A-game to beat MagicalSource: French PMU

The top juveniles from France, UK and Ireland will clash at Deauville in the Group 1 Prix Morny on Sunday, the first two-year-old Group One of the season in France. Her Royal Majesty The Queen is represented by Tactical, who successfully stepped up from listed success at Royal Ascot with a victory in the Group Two July Stakes (1200m) at Newmarket. More Royal Ascot form is on offer with Group ThreeAlbany Stakes (1200m) heroine Dandalla and Group Two Queen Mary Stakes winner Campanelle taking on mixed sex company for the first time. Frankie Dettori has chosen to stay in France to ride the Wesley Ward trainer runner Campanelle instead of riding at the York Ebor Festival.

France is represented by Fabrice Chappet’s Acapulco Gold and Jane Soubagne’s Livachope. The former was a listed winner at Vichy over 1000m and steps up in class whilst Livachope was successful in the Group Three Prix Du Bois (1000m) at Longchamp. Trained in Ireland, Ventura Tormenta will be looking to bounce back after a below-par performance in Group One Phoenix Stakes at the Curragh and has already been victorious in France this season, winning the Group Two Prix Robert Papin (1000m) at Chantilly.

The other Group One on the Deauville card is the Prix Jean Romanet for fillies and mares aged four years and over. Although an open contest, it is interesting to note that John Gosden brings over Group One Falmouth Stakes (1600m) winner Nazeef to face a large field of French contenders. Dariyma and Romanciere re-oppose after finishing first and second in the Listed Prix de la Pepiniere at Chantilly and remain unexposed at Group One level.

William Hill to Close 119 Betting Shops as Covid-19 Has Crushed Profits

[UK Bookmaker] William Hill are to close another 119 betting shops as profits plunged at the bookmaker due to the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, the company is to repay £24.5 million in furlough funds to the government following what they described as a “robust recovery” in recent weeks since the return of mainstream sport and betting shops reopening.

Unveiling its financial results for the first six months of 2020, William Hill said net revenue had fallen by 32 per cent to £554.4m, while adjusted operating profit was down 85 per cent to £11.4m, although the bookmaker said that was ahead of expectations.

How Sol Kumin Turned A Labour Of Love Into The World’s Leading Horse Racing Business

Is Sol Kumin the ultimate “hobby-preneur”? Amid a 20-year career on Wall Street, including the launch of his own hedge fund business, Kumin only became interested in horse racing in 2014 when a friend persuaded him to take a stake in a thoroughbred. Six years later, the financier has built one of the world’s most successful racing stables, with a string of winners of prestigious races to his name.

“The racing has turned into a more commercial endeavour but it certainly didn’t start out that way,” reflects Kumin, who confesses he quickly got “hooked” following his initial foray into the sport. “Initially, it was a bit of a journey to understanding there was so much more to this sport; we bought more horses, did some research on how to do things a little differently, and over time it became a business.”

Make It a Trio. European Racehorse Stradivarius Wins Gold Cup at Royal Ascot Again

Stradivarius was on hand to produce a breathtaking performance to carve a niche for itself as the third horse to win three successive Gold Cups at Royal Ascot.

Frankie Dettori took his time on the ground which had been softened by rain and initially thought to be unfavorable for John Gosden’s exceptional superstar but eventually closed in on the leader and eventual runner-up Nayef Road. After successfully closing in, he went on to win by a whopping 10 lengths.

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There were doubts if he would be successful with the hat-trick of triumphs due to the downpour that continued till it was almost time for the race. However, Stradivarius, in black and yellow colors was bent on emerging victoriously.

The six-year-old who was released as the 4-5 favorite made the odds appear seemingly generous as he initially settled behind Nayef Road and Withhold before coasting into a winning position as Dettori brimmed with confidence.

Regardless, the odds proved to be well-placed as Dettori was able to applaud the achievement of passing the post in an isolated manner before coming up with his trademark flying dismount as he returned to the winner’s enclosure.

This was the case even as there were no crowds due to the social distancing procedures being deployed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The performance effectively meant that Stradivarius had matched the achievement of the race’s fellow gold hat-trick heroes in the past, namely, Yeats and Sagari. However, Yeats still stands alone after winning it four times in succession for Aidan O’Brien.

Dettori revealed how excited he was in an interview after the race. Dettori said:

“I’m so proud of the horse. He’s been a joy to be around. He’ll go down as one of the great stayers, like Yeats and Sagaro. Who knows, maybe we’ll try for for next year.”

He added: “Even with no crowd I’m quite emotional. A very proud moment.

 

“I was worried about the rain. They were talking up the Martyn Meade horse (Technician) a lot. It was a concern. He actually really surprised me, because he went through it like a hot knife through butter. I had everybody covered. I was surprised I didn’t have anyone to challenge me.

“It’s always that scary moment when you get to the furlong marker – will he pick up or not – but he did and he stretched away by 10. Amazing.

“We purposely all stayed wide on the fresh ground. That helped a little bit, but nevertheless it was still very soft. It just shows what a fighter and how versatile he is. It’s all about Stradivarius today. He’s a wonderful horse.

“You’re never on the bridle in the Gold Cup a furlong out. Usually everybody labours by the three, so it was an amazing feeling and a fantastic performance. The horse deserves it. I’m very proud of him.”

Gosden added: “I’m very proud he’s won three and particularly proud for the man who’s done it, Bjorn Nielsen, the owner-breeder – he’s passionate about breeding and keeps trying to breed a Derby winner, but he’s got a very good Cup horse. For him it is profoundly fulfilling and it’s just a pity he can’t be here today.

“It’s down to Bjorn whether we come back for a fourth. We might just look towards the Goodwood Cup next, he’s won three of them already, then we might take a pull as there is talk of running in an Arc. He ran brilliantly in the Coronation Cup, so an Arc on Autumn ground isn’t out of the question.”

Little Racetrack expecting big business out of the gates from online horse betting

So, what betting handle total will Edmonton’s Century Mile hit next Sunday when the track reopens with no fans onsite?

I’m putting the over-under at a million dollars.

You should know that the average handle for thoroughbred racing in the inaugural season at Century Mile last year was $172,422 and the high was $838,429 for the Canadian Derby.

A million dollars?

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The key appears to be something called HPIbet.com.

If the Edmonton track can replicate the phenomenal success story of Assiniboia Downs in Winnipeg, it’ll be a bigger story than whatever stories the horses and jockeys managed to write on the track in the 10-race card being put together to launch the season during the pandemic.

More about Century Downs:

News that Queen’s Plate will run on this Date

North America’s oldest continuously run horse race [the Queen’s Plate] was originally scheduled to take place on June 27 but was postponed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The history of The Queen’s Plate is so rich and the fact that it’s been held every year since the inaugural race in 1860 is remarkable,” said Woodbine Entertainment CEO Jim Lawson. “We are honoured to be able to continue this rich history in face of adversity by hosting the race for the 161st consecutive year.”

Woodbine and Horse racing Return June 6

The Associated Press

Horse racing is back on at Woodbine Racetrack in Toronto, but without fans.

The track’s thoroughbred season will open June 6. The pandemic forced Woodbine to postpone its scheduled April 18 start.

Harness racing, suspended in March, is to resume June 5 at Woodbine Mohawk Park.

Wager on WoodbineMark Casse, one of North America’s top trainers, says the reopening is crucial.

“We have many horses that we’ve targeted for this meet that haven’t done anything,” he said. “But this is even more important for the owners and trainers who’ve been up there since December and haven’t been able to run.”

Casse has won both the Preakness and Belmont Stakes as well as five Breeders’ Cup races. He has been named Canada’s top thoroughbred trainer an unprecedented 11 times.

UK Horse Racing Set to Return in Early June

According to TimeForm (UK)

The 2000 Guineas remains in its slot on June 6, with the 1000 Guineas 24 hours later, although all plans remain subject the Government giving sport clearance to resume behind closed doors.

royal ascot paddockRoyal Ascot is also still set for its scheduled position of June 16-20, although “some changes to the order of races” at the meeting are likely, details of which “will be confirmed as soon as possible”.

The Derby and Oaks will be scheduled for July 4, with the Eclipse moved back a day to the Sunday (July 5). The BHA said that “under these circumstances, the Eclipse would be restricted to four-years-old and upwards”.

The 10-furlong Classic Trial, the Snowdrop Stakes over a mile and the six-furlong Pavilion Stakes, which often serves as a trial for the Commonwealth Cup, will all be run between June 3 and 4 under the revised timetable.

June 5 is also set to be a bumper day of action with the Lingfield Derby and Oaks Trials and Group One Coronation Cup programmed alongside the Abernant, Brigadier Gerard and …