British Racing News


The death of John Dunlop

John Dunlop

John Dunlop, one of the most successful British post-war trainers, has very sadly died at the age of 78.

Dunlop was an important conduit to the arrival of the Maktoum family into British racing and saddled over 3,500 winners from his base at Arundel.

Among those successes, Shirley Heights won the 1978 Derby and Erhaab gave Dunlop a second triumph in the Epsom Classic, in 1994, for one of his major patrons, Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum.

Other British Classic successes came in the 1,000 Guineas, thanks to Quick As Lightening (1980) and the brilliant Salsabil (1990), who also won the Oaks and Irish Derby. Circus Plume (1984) was another Oaks winner. A year after Salsabil’s Newmarket triumph, the grey filly Shadayid also won the 1,000 Guineas.

Dunlop landed the St Leger three times, with Moon Madness (1986), Silver Patriach (1997) and Millenary (2000).

Other notable horses included the New Zealand import Balmerino, who finished second to Alleged, in the 1977 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, the brilliant miler Posse, who placed in the 1980 2,000 Guineas before landing the St James’s Palace Stakes and Sussex Stakes, the 1983 Champion Sprinter Habibti, Irish 2,000 Guineas winner Wassl, Marju, who won the 1991 Craven Stakes and St James’s Palace Stakes, as well as finishing second in the Derby to Generous, but was blighted by injury, the outstanding miler Bahri (1995), who helped Dunlop to the Champion Trainer title and the top class Sakhee, whom Dunlop trained to finish second in the 2000 Derby, before he won the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe a year later, for Godolphin.

Dunlop was an important trainer for the Maktoums in the early 1980s and trained Sheikh Mohamed’s first ever racehorse Hatta, in 1977.

He was responsible for the Sheikh’s first ever runner in the Derby, Jalmood, who finished unplaced behind Golden Fleece in 1982. That same year, he trained the top class filly Awaasif in the famous maroon and white silks.

When the Sheik spent $10.2 million on the yearling Snaafi Dancer, the colt was entrusted to John Dunlop.

Dunlop retired from training in 2012 but enjoyed seeing his sons Ed and Harry follow in his footsteps with Group One successes.

Roaring Lion eclipses Saxon Warrior at Sandown

Roaring Lion hits the front in the Eclipse Stakes
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Roaring Lion made it two-two in his head to head contests with Saxon Warrior, as he landed the Coral Eclipse Stakes at Sandown Park.

The Derby winner Masar, sadly had to miss the race, having knocked a leg in a Friday gallop.

That left a field of seven horses.

The 2016 winner, Hawkbill, made his bid for glory, early down the home straight, as Forest Ranger, faded away.

However, the 2,000 Guineas winner, Saxon Warrior, travelled well in behind and hit the front.

Further back, Roaring Lion and Oisin Murphy, had to make a wide berth around the field, before closing.
Happily and Cliffs Of Moher momentarily threatened to get involved in the finish, but both were short of room.

Roaring Lion came to join his old adversary Saxon Warrior and the pair had the race to themselves in the final furlong.

Momentum carried Roaring Lion into the lead, but not for the first time, he began to hang and came across to join and bump Saxon Warrior, not once, but three times, carrying his rival across the track in the final strides.

A Stewards’ Enquiry was called, but the John Gosden trained Roaring Lion kept the race, with Saxon Warrior arguably a little unlucky in second, followed home by Ballydoyle stable mate Cliffs Of Moher, with Hawkbill fourth.

Roaring Lion had been defeated by Saxon Warrior in the Racing Post Trophy and the 2,000 Guineas, but finished ahead of the Aidan O’Brien runner when third in the Derby. Before then, he had impressed in the Dante Stakes at York, with 1 ¼ miles now looking his optimum trip.

A return to York for the Juddmonte International Stakes, could be next for the winner, while O’Brien hinted that Saxon Warrior could drop back to a mile in the future.

U S Navy Flag back to his best in the July Cup

U S Navy Flag (right) wins the July Cup from Brando (yellow silks)

U S Navy Flag, winner of last year’s Middle Park Stakes and Dewhurst Stakes, showed that a stiff six furlongs is his real niche, with an impressive victory in the Group One Darley July Cup, at Newmarket’s Moet and Chandon July Festival.

Fourteen went to post, with plenty of proven Group One form on display.

Ryan Moore had U S Navy Flag up with the early pace, as the field split, with Sands Of Mali leading a small group to the stands side, while the Australian challenger Redkirk Warrior, raced down the centre of the track.

The race still looked open with two furlongs to race, but U S Navy Flag pressed on, with Brando emerging from the pack.

However, the three year old had plenty in hand and pulled further clear on the uphill climb to the finish, to record his first win of what had been a disappointing season over a mile.

Brando came home second, with Fleet Review third and Sir Dancealot fourth.

This victory sealed a fourth July Cup for trainer Aidan O’Brien, previously successful with Stravinsky (1999), Mozart (2001) and Starspangledbanner (2010).

Alpha Centauri simply awesome in Falmouth Stakes

Alpha Centauri wins the Falmouth Stakes from Altyn Orda and Clemmie

Alpha Centauri stamped herself one of 2018’s leading lights with a dominant performance in the Group One Tattersalls Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket.

Seven went to post for this clash of the female mile generations, with Alpha Centauri the stand-out beforehand, after her demolition job in the Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot.

There was little pace from the gates and Colm O’Donoghue pressed on aboard Jessica Harrington’s imposing three year old.

In behind, Clemmie began to pick up, while Altyn Orda, next to the rails, continued to travel well.

However, when O’Donoghue asked his filly for more, she lengthened her stride and devoured the hill climb to the finish, pulling further clear in the manner of a special talent.

At the line, Alpha Centauri had 4 ½ lengths to spare over Altyn Orda, who ran a cracker for second, to hold off Clemmie, who hinted that she might now be coming back to her best.

Afterwards, connections hinted that a crack at the Breeders’ Cup Mile was a possibility.

Summary of the rest of the July Meeting

Wells Farrh Go wins the Bahrain Trophy
Image supplied by Goffs

The meeting got underway with St Leger aspirations on trial in the Group Three Bahrain Trophy, over one mile and five furlongs.

In the event, the Tim Easterby trained Wells Farrh Go came back to his best, appreciating the step up in trip, as he beat Loxley by two lengths.

“He’s got class, and that’s exactly what you have to have to win the Leger and he’s getting there, but we’ve had to wait for him to come right. He’s a proper horse,” said Easterby, who won the St Leger in 2002 with Bollin Eric.
“We were planning on heading to Goodwood next but we might chance our minds now and go to York for the Voltigeur.

“We did have Derby aspirations with him but he wasn’t ready, it’s alright saying the Derby and the Guineas are there, but if the horse isn’t ready for them you can’t go.”

Advertise wins the July Stakes
Image supplied by Goffs

In the Group Two Arqana July Stakes, Advertise proved a cut above his rivals.

The Martyn Meade trained son of Showcasing, had finished a length second to Calyx in the Coventry Stakes, winning the race on the far rail.

That undoubted touch of class was very much in evidence on the July Course, as Advertise smoothly came from the back of the field to take it up with a furlong to race.

Travelling well under Frankie Dettori, he comfortably put the race to bed, beating Konchek by two lengths, with Charming Kid taking third.

Afterwards, a delighted Meade commented: He said: “I was hoping he was going to win, that was the reason for being here, but I just loved the way he did it, it was fantastic and I loved it.

“The Dewhurst is a strong possibility now, but we’ve got plenty of options, which is a great position to be in. I don’t want to over-race him this year because, as I said, he’s a big horse and we want to think about his three-year-old career too.

“I think he should be a Guineas contender, looking through his pedigree I don’t see why not and at this stage I definitely consider that to be an option.”

Best Solution leads Mirage Dancer at Newmarket

Goldolphin’s opening winner of what would prove a highly successful meeting, came courtesy of Best Solution, in the Group Two Princess Of Wales’s Arqana Racing Club Stakes.

The only three year old in the field, Raa Atoll, disputed the early lead with Mirage Dancer, with the latter going on, tracked by Barsanti and Laaraib.

With three furlongs to race, Laaraib joined the front pair, with Raa Atoll under pressure, while Best Solution and Pat Cosgrave began to close.

The race soon developed into a duel between Mirage Dancer and Best Solution, with the latter taking a clear lead, as Duretto stayed on.

As the line approached, Mirage Dancer began to close on the leader who got home by ½ a length, with Duretto a close third.

Winning trainer Saeed bin Suroor said: “He’s improved physically and has been working really well, and we’ll look at the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes or the Irish St Leger and we’ll see how he goes in the future.”

Naval Intelligence

Naval Intelligence provided Jane Chapple-Hyam with another big race winner in the Listed Edmondson Hall Solicitors Sir Henry Cecil Stakes.

The son of War Front maintained his unbeaten record with a second victory on the July Course, landing the spoils under John Egan, by 1 ½ lengths from Gabr, with Masaarr third.

The winning trainer said: “We’ve believed in this horse right from the start, we’ve made no secret of it, he’s done everything right. He’s got a lovely pedigree and although he might be small, he’s very good.

“We are thinking big, races like the Cox Plate and Arlington Million are on the radar next year. We are hoping that Winx isn’t around next year, then we can go for the Cox Plate, I would love that.”

Pretty Pollyanna storms home

Fillies took centre stage on the Friday afternoon, with Pretty Pollyanna routing her rivals in the Group Two Duchess of Cambridge Stakes.

La Pelosa was up with the early pace, along with Main Edition, while Pretty Pollyanna raced freely and without cover, through the first furlong.

Once on an even keel, Pretty Pollyanna carried Silvestre de Sousa to the front of the field with power and some authority.

As she gradually edged across to her right, she began to draw clear of her toiling rivals.

In behind, Frankie Dettori and Angel’s Hideaway began a run, but as the filly came under pressure, she drifted to her right and there was a concertina effect.

Main Edition became short of room and in turn she squeezed up La Pelosa, who was all but on the floor. It was a nasty moment, which impacted many of those closest to Pretty Pollyanna, who sailed serenely further clear. Dettori received a ten-day suspension for his part in the incident.

At the line, Michael Bell’s daughter of Oasis Dream was seven lengths clear of Angel’s Hideaway, with Chaleur staying on nicely for third, ahead of Gossamer Wings and La Pelosa.

The winner had been put in her place by Main Edition at Royal Ascot but has clearly come on a good deal since then and she was able to reverse that form in no uncertain terms.

Winning trainer Michael Bell said: “She’s been working very well and she’s clearly improved from Ascot. She’s a lovely filly with a fantastic temperament and I would like to say she can only improve, but she probably doesn’t need to improve.

“She was visually very impressive, although because of that scrimmaging in behind one or two might have finished a little bit closer. Either way it was a very good time and she has won very easily, so you can’t be less than very impressed with her.

“It’s all a learning curve for her, she has probably learned from being in a scrap at Ascot and she’s clearly improved a lot from that run, even though we have only done one piece of work with her.

“I thought she would run very well at Ascot and she did run well, I wasn’t sure how much she improved but clearly it’s a lot.

“She’s in the Lowther but she would carry a penalty so we’ll see, we’ve got plenty of options.”


Saturday’s racing commenced with the Group Two bet365 Superlative Stakes and a commanding performance from Godolphin’s Quorto, who emulated his sire Dubawi, in taking this race.

The Charlie Appleby-trained colt came into the contest as the least experienced of the seven runners, but with perhaps the most potential.

Aidan O’Brien’s Cape Of Good Hope cut out the running and stuck on gamely, as the field reached the uphill climb.

However, he had no answer to Quorto and William Buick, who came with a powerful run and went 3 ¼ lengths clear.

Cape Of Good Hope kept on for second, with Neverland Rock coming home third.

Winning trainer Charlie Appleby said: “We were confident today that he had come forward and the step up in trip was going to suit him.

“He’s shown some gears there and William has got off him and said he’s got a great racing mind.

“He travels sweetly in your hands and he picked up well when he hit the rising ground, so he’s an exciting horse for sure.

“Being by Dubawi, I think we’ll see more improvement as time goes on.

“The National Stakes at the Curragh looks his most likely target now, seven furlongs looks to be his trip for now, and a mile next year.”

Burnt Sugar

Burnt Sugar may have been slightly reluctant to go to post, but he came back fastest of all, to land the bet365 Bunbury Cup.

The good form of Roger Fell’s North Yorkshire stable was advertised by Burnt Sugar who burst through when the gap came, late on, to win under Paul Hanagan.

At the line, Burnt Sugar was ½ a length clear of the dead-heaters Shady McCoy and Spanish City.

Ginger Nut dunks rivals in the Weatherbys Super Sprinter

Ginger Nut wins the Weatherbys Super Sprint
Image supplied by Newbury Racecourse

Richard Hannon enjoyed a tremendous Weatherbys Super Sprint Day at Newbury, as the Wiltshire trainer recorded a big-race double with Ginger Nut and Yafta.

Hannon’s father Richard snr became synonymous with the £250,000 Weatherbys Super Sprint thanks to his record seven wins in the feature five-furlong contest for two-year-olds and Hannon jnr gained his second victory in the unique race with Ginger Nut. The winning time was 1m 1.85s on turf described as Good to Firm.

The Sir Prancealot filly, part-owned by Hannon alongside long-standing patrons Chris and Jenny Powell, was held up towards the rear of the maximum 25 runners by Harry Bentley and ran on strongly between runners to take the lead entering the final half-furlong.

Ginger Nut, who cost £23,000 as a yearling and therefore received a low weight, ran on well to beat Moojim (Bryan Smart/Graham Lee, drawn 22) by a neck, with Kinks (Mick Channon/Joe Fanning, drawn 10) finishing a half-length back in third after a troubled passage.

On The Stage (Ed Walker/Luke Morris, drawn 23) finished a further next back in fourth, while top-weight Little Kim (Karl Burke/Ben Curtis, 16) never threatened and came home 14th.

Hannon, who sent out European champion two-year-old filly Tiggy Wiggy to win the 2014 Weatherbys Super Sprint, said: “We were a little disappointed with Ginger Nut on the first few times she went to the races, when she went off a little bit too quick, but we tucked her in today.

“This was the plan from the moment we bought her. She didn’t have an owner, so Chris and Jenny came in and I said that she would be an ideal filly for the Weatherbys Super Sprint.

“I said that I would probably have a quarter-share and, the next thing I knew, Chris had put me down for a half-share, so it has backfired big-time on him!

“It’s great for Chris and Jenny, who are big supporters of ours and have horses with a lot of trainers. They are good investors and good people, which is what this race is all about. They have had their payday with a lovely, fast filly and it has all gone well.”

Harry Bentley commented: “I am really, really pleased with Ginger Nut. She has dug deep and travelled really well for me. It is very tactical in these sort of races and getting a run is of the utmost importance, but we got a nice run through and she did it well.

“Any jockey would agree that luck plays a massive importance in these races – things have to pan out and the gaps have to open. Luckily, I was following the right horses and we got there when it mattered.”

Yafta holds on in the Hackwood Stakes


Ultra-consistent three-year-old Yafta came out on top in a thrilling finish to the day’s big sprint, the £60,000 Group Three bet365 Hackwood Stakes over six furlongs.

The Hamdan Al Maktoum-owned grey colt, by Dark Angel and drawn one of the 10 participants, settled behind the leaders and ran on strongly to hit the front entering the final furlong before gamely seeing off the late challenge of Projection (Roger Charlton/Harry Bentley) for a head victory in 1m 11.19s, with a further neck back to Dream of Dreams (Sir Michael Stoute/Andrea Atzeni).

Hannon added: “Yafta is a real gentleman and a lovely horse to have around. He is only three and has had some hard races – he has always finished first or second and ran the race of his life today.

“I think his trip is probably seven furlongs and he might be better with a bit of give in the ground. He is a lovely horse and I am delighted to have a winner while Sheikh Hamdan is here.”

Jim Crowley remarked: “Yafta hasn’t been out the first two all season and tries his best. It is lovely to get a nice win out of him.

“He does nothing wrong and is progressing all the time. I was a little bit concerned that the ground might be a bit quick for him today but he has handled it really well.

“The race set up nicely for him – he got a nice tow and a good passage – and he is such a dude of a horse, one of my favourites.”

Earlier on the card, Emotionless gained his first victory since taking the 2015 Champagne Stakes at Doncaster.

The Godolphin runner, on his first appearance since finishing second in a Group Three race at Meydan, Dubai, in January, found plenty in front for William Buick to beat the staying-on Desert Encounter, by two lengths, in 2m 4.84s.

Alex Merriam, assistant trainer to Charlie Appleby, said: “It was very nice to get back Emotionless on track. It has been a little while since he ran in the UK and Charlie has been very patient.

“Australia has been mentioned as possibly on the radar for him, although he has been off for a while and we will see how he comes out of the race before making a plan.”

William Buick commented: “Emotionless has always been a talented horse and he stays this trip, which is always a positive. He stretched nicely in front and really picked up – it’s nice to get him back.

“Charlie and the team have obviously done a great job and it would be lovely for Emotionless if he could go onwards and upwards from this. I am sure Sheikh Mohammed and Charlie will come up with a plan for him.”

Angel’s Hideaway storms to Princess Margaret successes

Angel’s Hideaway wins the Princess Margaret Stakes
Image supplied by Goffs

Angel’s Hideaway paid a big compliment to Pretty Pollyanna, as she romped away with the Group Three Princess Margaret Keeneland Stakes at Ascot.

There was drama at the start, as the once-raced Aquarius, reared up repeatedly before veering violently right and decanting Martin Dwyer on the turf.

Royal Intervention meanwhile, led the remainder of the field, tracked by Chapelli.

Racing to the furlong pole, Royal Intervention came under pressure, while Angel’s Hideaway and Rab Havlin, who had waited patiently in last, began to make smooth progress to the stands side.

The daughter of Dark Angel hit the front and shot clear with a furlong to race, drawing further clear in taking fashion.

At the line, Angel’s Hideaway was a comfortably 2 ½ lengths clear of Royal Intervention, who had no answer, with The Mackem Bullet a close third.

The John Gosden-trained Angel’s Hideaway, had been involved in that controversial incident in the Duchess Of Cambridge Stakes, which had resulted in Frankie Dettori missing this meeting through suspension.

Poet’s Word heads a Stoute one-two in the King George

Poet’s Word (right) beats Crystal Ocean in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes
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Poet’s Word backed up his Royal Ascot victory with a pulsating victory in the Group One King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes (Sponsored by Qipco) at Ascot.

The lamentable late defection of Cracksman (due to the going), left a field of seven and undoubtedly weakened the complexion of this race, with only two runners coming into the contest with winning form last time out.

Desert Encounder badly missed the break and was eight lengths down from the start.

Salouen, racing wide, disputed the lead with the only three year old, Rostropovich, with both racing keenly and several lengths clear of Crystal Ocean.

Rostropovich went on and passed the seven furlong pole with a length lead over Salouen, with Crystal Ocean and Coronet next and then Hydrangea, Poet’s Word and Desert Encounter.

As the field reached the home turn, Rostropovich, with his tongue hanging out, still led Saloluen, with Crystal Ocean closing but forced wide on the bend.

With two furlongs to race, Crystal Ocean and William Buick kicked on and went two lengths clear, with stable mate Poet’s Word, making stealthy progress from the back of the field.

The two joined forces in a Sir Michael Stoute head-to-head in the final furlong, in an enthralling encounter.

Inch by inch, James Doyle and Poet’s Word began to wear down Crystal Ocean on the inside.

The two flashed past the post together, with Poet’s Word just getting up and proving beyond all doubt that he stays a mile and a half just fine.

Miles back in third came Coronet, with Salouen just pipping Rostropovich for fourth.

Poet’s Word’s success gave Sir Michael Stoute a sixth victory in the King George.

Thundering Blue a last gasp winner

Thundering Blue
Image reproduced with the kind permission of Newmarket Racecourse

Thundering Blue finished late but to great effect as he pinched the Group Three Sky Bet York Stakes from Brorocco, in the final strides on the Knavesmire.

Elarqam was soon into his stride and took the field along, followed by Smart Call and Eugenio.

Turning into the home straight, Elarqam, stepping up in trip, continued to lead, against the inside rail.

Smart Call and Forest Ranger, both racing down the centre of the track, look threats, but Elarqam saw them off.

With a furlong to race, it looked as though Elarqam would hold on, but from further back, Brorocco and Thundering Blue began to wear down the long-time leader.

Both headed Elarqam close to the line and it was Thundering Blue and Fran Berry, who just got up from Brorocco, in a desperately tight finish.

The David Menusier-trained Thundering Blue had won three times last year and was competing at Pattern level for the first time.

Stradivarius makes it back to back Goodwood Cups

Stradivarius won his second Goodwood Cup
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Stradivarius retained his Group One Qatar Goodwood Cup crown with a tremendous half-length success over Jessica Harrington’s Torcedor in a thrilling renewal of the two-mile contest.

The four-year-old son of Sea The Stars is chasing the WH Stayers’ Million, a bonus of £1 million offered by Weatherbys Hamilton which goes to the horse who wins one of four prep races in May followed by the Group One Gold Cup at Royal Ascot, the Group One Qatar Goodwood Cup and the Group Two Weatherbys Hamilton Lonsdale Cup Stakes at York on August 24th.

Ridden by Andrea Atzeni for the second successive year, Stradivarius tracked the steady pace set by Torcedor throughout the two-mile event. However, despite the best efforts of Torcedor’s jockey Colm O’Donoghue, Stradivarius picked up well in the closing stages to master Jessica Harrington’s charge to score a shade comfortably. Idaho came home third.

Sadly the Queen’s runner Call To Mind suffered a career-ending tendon injury.

Reflecting on the success, Atzeni, who rode Stradivarius to victory in last year’s renewal, commented: “Stradivarius is a different horse compared to last year. I remember when I won on him last year, he was quite narrow.

“He has done a tremendous job as a four-year-old. I remember at York on his first run this year, I walked into the paddock and didn’t recognise him because of how well he had done.

“I am in a very lucky position to be here. Unfortunately, Frankie is suspended, but he has been very helpful. This is what it’s all about, these big days.
“Colm rode a very good race from the front. The only problem today was that I had to get around James Doyle’s horse, who pushed me wide, whereas Colm had a nice run up the rail. I felt I always had Colm covered, and the last thing I wanted to do today was give Stradivarius a hard race.

“He can only get better this fella. He is a very good four-year-old as he has shown already. He might even be better as a five-year-old but how much better can he get really? He has done nothing wrong so far. He is definitely the best stayer around.”

Gosden said of the Bjorn Nielsen-owned-and-bred Stradivarius: “We had a great horse race on Saturday in the King George, and another great horse race today – two really brave horses who both had a tough race at Royal Ascot [in the Gold Cup]. Colm [O’Donoghue, who rode Torcedor] rode a clever race in front today and did everything right, but our horse battled hard.

“The pace was a little stop-go, which you would expect at Goodwood when someone is in front and making the running to suit themselves, and to that extent we had work to do to get past him. With the Aga Khan’s horse [Vazirabad] not coming for this race, and Order Of St George absent too, Torcedor became the obvious danger, and when Jessie [Harrington] left him in at the six-day stage I thought ‘Oh, oh, we’re in for a battle’, but it proved to produce a fabulous race.

“It wasn’t quite the test of Ascot [where Stradivarius won the Gold Cup over an additional half a mile] but he got the job done. This is not a track where you want to give a rival too much rope, but all’s well that ends well. Congratulations to the second for making it such a fantastic race.

“They have long criticised chesnut horses with four white socks and a white face, or at least they did until The Minstrel came along in the 1970s and won Derbys and King Georges, and this horse is the same. He has a lot of heart and Andrea said he had the race under control in the last half a furlong.

“I’ve just ticked him over since Royal Ascot. He’s the most charming horse to be around – a real gentleman. He’s a little bit like a motorbike; he can go out there and do a little bit on his own or a bit in company. You press the button and off he goes, you flick the switch and he pulls up. He’s a lovely ride.”


Dark Vision with a bright future after Vintage success

Dark Vision impressed in the Group Two Qatar Vintage Stakes at Goodwood, under Silvestre De Sousa, showing he has a bright future.

He lengthened well under Silvestre De Sousa, beating Dunkerron and Confiding by 1 ¾ lengths and 1 ¼ lengths.

Johnston said of Dark Vision, who got away to a slow start in today’s race: “I never really thought that when I sent Dark Vision to Yarmouth that he would be coming to a Group Two race. Basically, when he is a massive horses and when he missed the break today I thought it was all over. I was just thinking that I have got to go home and teach this horse to come out of the stalls, and, at that stage, if he had come fourth, I would have said I had a really nice horse on my hands. I did not think until a furlong out that we had any chance of winning. He has obviously got a lot of ability, because he doesn’t know what he’s here for yet. Keeping the owners’ feet on the ground is the difficult thing at the moment. I haven’t thought ahead because we wanted to take little steps, but they can’t win races standing in their stable.

“Everybody thinks every winner of the Vintage Stakes is a potential Guineas horse, but this is the first race of the year which leads to thoughts of Newmarket next spring, and I’m not a great believer in planning for May while we have yet to reach August. This victory puts me in a fantastic mood.

“We had him [Dark Vision] and Victory Command entered in nursery handicaps and thought they would be good things, but we chose to take Victory Command to Ascot, and while I wasn’t sure about running Dark Vision in a Group Two race it proved to be the right decision.”

The two-year-old son of Dream Ahead was last entering the home straight, but made eyecatching headway in the final furlong towards the outside of the field to take the lead.

Dark Vision ran on strongly in the closing stages, with De Sousa effusive in his praise of the powerfully-built colt. He said: “I wanted to be with the leaders, or just behind them, but they went a bit quick early on and Dark Vision is such a big horse that he was slowly into stride.

“I got a shuffled back a bit further than a wanted but he has galloped out well from four furlongs out. I was always happy with what he was doing during the race.

“He is such a big horse and the other runner was half-trying to intimidate him. When he got his neck in there, he said “I’m going” and put the race to bed very quickly.

“Cantering down, he didn’t give me any feel at all – he never picked the bridle up – and he surprised me on the way back. I know he was favourite but needed to do a lot, when you look at the size of him on this track – it is such a sharp track, especially for two-year-olds over seven furlongs.

“Dark Vision did marvellous because he is such a big horse and he put the race to bed very quickly. He is a lovely horse and I am sure that he will improve.”

Alan King was thrilled by Dunkerron’s second-placed run, saying: “At the furlong pole, I thought we had it! That was smashing – I am really, really thrilled. Martin [Harley – jockey] said he was surprised with the way Dunkerron quickened between the two and the one [furlong pole]. I wished he had maybe held onto him for a little bit longer but…

“I think time will probably tell as to whether the winner is a proper horse.

“Dunkerron is in the Gimcrack and going back to six shouldn’t be a problem. He is in the Champagne [Stakes, Doncaster] as well. He will be going for those types of races.

“I don’t think for a minute we will go a yard beyond seven furlongs – it is new world for us.”

Sir Dancealot waltzes to Lennox victory

Sir Dancealot

The David Elsworth-trained Sir Dancealot, got up in the shadows of the post to land the Group Two Qatar Lennox Stakes at Glorious Goodwood.

The four-year-old son of Sir Prancealot endured a troubled passage throughout the home straight in the seven-furlong contest under Gerald Mosse, but once finding room a furlong from home, the bay gelding showed a tremendous turn of foot to score by a short-head from David O’Meara’s Suedois in second.

The David Simcock-trained Breton Rock, the 2017 winner, was head behind in third.

Newmarket trainer Elsworth said: “He got into more trouble than I get into down the pub on a Saturday night after I have had a few. Sir Dancealot would have been a very unlucky loser.

“I describe Sir Dancealot to the owners as like a tennis ball. He is bouncing up, going up, and I just wondered if he had reached the point of equilibrium – whether he had stopped or was even coming down. His level of form has been very good, which gave him a very good chance today.

“Four was a difficult draw for a horse who needs to be taken back a little bit and relaxed – he wants to do his running in the second half of the race. Gerald had a problem getting organised and everyone is trying to win. Whether the gaps materialise – a lot of good luck and good fortune is involved.

“We got lucky in the end but I feel he would have been an unlucky loser. We better be gracious in victory and say that it was a scramble.

“We had a crack at a Group One with him the other day and there are lots of races open to him. I put him in the Hungerford Stakes today.

“He is gelded now – he seemed to hang a little under pressure last year and, whether the gelding has helped because his undescended testicle seemed to cause him some discomfort. He is going very straight this year and I am sure it has helped him enormously.

“Winners give every trainer satisfaction and it’s nice to be associated with good horses.”

Masar ruled out for 2018

Masar wins the Derby from Dee Ex Bee (right) and Roaring Lion
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Godolphin have announced that Derby winner Masar, will not race again in 2018, but is expected to stay in training next year.

The son of New Approach was set to renew rivalries with Roaring Lion and Saxon Warrior, in the Coral Eclipse Stakes, but was a late absentee, having knocked himself on the gallops.

Trainer Charlie Appleby confirmed to Course-Specialist at the July Festival, that there were no immediate plans for Masar.

He subsequently stated: “The vet has seen a change in the soft-tissue damage to Masar’s off-fore, and after speaking to His Highness [Sheikh Mohammed], we have decided to call a halt to the colt’s season immediately.

“Sheikh Mohammed is keen for Masar to run again at four, and if we are to deliver on that the best option is to give him a long break.

“He’s going to be on the easy list for six to eight weeks in any case, and that leaves little time to prepare him properly for the big targets in the final months of this season.”

Setback rules Calyx out for the remainder of 2018

Calyx impresses at Royal Ascot
Image by www.healyracing.ieCalyx, the son of Kingman, who made such a huge impression when landing the Coventry Stakes, has suffered a setback and will not raced again this year.

The unbeaten John Gosden-trained colt had been set to contest the Prix Morny at Deauville, but plans have now been shelved.

Teddy Grimthorpe, racing manager to owner Khalid Abdullah, said the colt has been sidelined with a bone injury, stating: “Calyx has had a setback in training which will rule him out from running for the rest of this season. He is expected to make a full recovery and we will look forward to his three-year-old year.”

Gosden added: “The prognosis is extremely good for next year, but frustratingly not for races like the Morny, Middle Park or Dewhurst.”

Finian’s Oscar lost to colic

Finian’s Oscar
Image supplied by Tattersalls Ireland

Terribly sad news broke during July, of the death of smart novice chaser Finian’s Oscar.

The Colin Tizzard trained six year old, had suffered a bout of colic.

He tragically suffered complications whilst being treated and died of organ failure.

Finian’s Oscar had been a smart novice hurdler, landing the Grade One Tolworth Hurdle in January 2017.

Having missed Cheltenham, he added the Grade One Mersey Novices’ Hurdle at Aintree.

Last season, much was expected of him over fences, but his season proved disappointing for long periods and even saw him revert to hurdles at one point.

However, he looked a different proposition and back to his brilliant best, when winning the Grade One Manifesto Novices’ Chase at Aintree in April.

His final start came at Punchestown, where he was controversially carried out by Al Boum Photo, approaching the last fence.

“He was out in the field showing signs of colic, but it was more than just colic,” said Tizzard.

“They operated on him, but a couple of days later he had major organ failure and died.

“Obviously horses do get colic, but to get this type is rare. He went to the best place in England to be treated, but they still couldn’t save him. It’s very sad.”

Puffin Billy retired

Puffin Billy heads to Sandown Park and a possible clash with Coneygree
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Puffin Billy, one of Course-Specialist’s favourite jumps horses of recent years, has been retired from racing.

The ten year old was masterfully handled by Oliver Sherwood and signalled a revival in the fortunes of Rhonehurst, with a fantastic novice hurdle campaign in 2012/2013.

He won his first four starts under rules, notably landing the Grade Two Kennel Gate Novices’ Hurdle at Ascot – and ended up running fifth to Champagne Fever, Jezki and My Tent Or Yours in a vintage renewal of the Supreme Novices’ Hurdle.

However, injuries and colic kept Billy off the track sporadically, although he still retained his ability and fighting qualities.

He returned to the track in the autumn of 2014 as a novice chaser, running third at Exeter, before beating Killala Quay by 8 lengths at Ascot, in November.

That November was a glorious period for the yard, as Billy’s next door neighbour, Many Clouds, won the Hennessy Gold Cup. He would of course go on to add the Grand National the following April.

A month after his maiden chase victory, Billy had us all aghast, as he turned somersault, after an horrific fall at Ascot. Winded, he lay on the turf for some time before gradually clambering back to hie feet.

But happier times followed over fences; a confidence-boosting victory at Leicester, in February 2015, proved the platform for bigger success.

Billy by this time had a huge following because of his fragilities but also his style of running, wearing his heart on his sleeve, every bit as much as his illustrious stablemate.

That quality was never better personified than in his epic victory at Ascot in late March of 2015, when he battled back and simply refused to give in, defeating Thomas Crapper by a short head.

The following month Puffin Billy headed to the Scottish Grand National meeting at Ayr, again becoming embroiled in a titanic fight and beating future Grand National runner-up The Last Samuri by a neck.

Sadly further injury niggles intervened with Billy’s burgeoning chasing career and kept him off the track for two years.

His final start saw him pull up in the Grade One Liverpool Hurdle of April 2017.

Further injuries prevented him from racing again and the decision was made to retire this fabulous warrior.

Commenting on Facebook, Oliver Sherwood paid tribute to Puffin Billy, stating:

“He ran sixteen times and won half of those including several listed races.

Billy was such a brave, honest racehorse but most of all he’s a lovely horse to do anything with…. you would never come across a kinder soul.

Whilst in full training early last winter he picked up a niggly injury just below his front joint, we gave him every chance but it took a long time to settle down.

He was never lame but after much discussion, his owner Tim Syder and myself decided to retire him and we began looking for the right home for him.

Billy will be much missed but he is going to have a lovely life of hacking and hunting with Nikki and Simon (Ellis) in the beautiful north east countryside and as he’s only ten, hopefully for many years to come.

We wish them Good luck with him and we know they will keep us all posted.”


Irish Racing News

Urban Fox too quick for Pretty Polly rivals

Urban Fox wins the Pretty Polly Stakes
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Urban Fox took the step up in trip with aplomb as she ran out a ready winner of the Group One Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh.

The four year old filly joined William Haggas for this campaign and took control in the final quarter of a mile, as the Oaks winner, Forever Together, found little under pressure.

At the line, Urban Fox and Danny Tudhope had three lengths to spare over the disappointing three years old, who was nearly beaten to second by stable mate Athena.

Turret Rocks on top in the Meld Stakes

Turret Rocks won the Meld Stakes
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Turret Rocks came back to her best to head a determined Deauville in the Group Three Meld Stakes at Leopardstown.

Deauville took the field along from Turret Rocks, but appeared to come under pressure on the home bend.

In behind, the Derby fifth Hazarpour, began to close, under Frankie Dettori.

However, Hazarpour struggled to get on terms with the front pair, with Deauville stubbornly repelling Turret Rocks.

The Jim Bolger trained mare was nothing if not tenacious though and Kevin Manning forced her head in front right on the line, with Deauville a gallant second.

Hazarpour’s run petered out disappointingly and he only just held off Curly for third.

Marie’s Diamond sparkles in the Anglesey Stakes

Marie’s Diamond beats Viadera in the Anglesey Stakes
Image supplied by Goffs

Marie’s Diamond confirmed his solid form and experience to land the Group Three Jebel Ali Racecourse and Stables Anglesey Stakes at the Curragh.

Fantasy took the field along and after a couple of furlongs, held a five length lead over Marie’s Diamond.

With three furlongs to race, Fantasy was further clear, with plenty of rivals under pressure.

However, Marie’s Diamond and Viadera cut the leader down approaching the furlong pole.

It was Marie’s Diamond and James Doyle, who powered into the lead late on and comfortably held Viadera at bay by about ½ a length.

Just Wonderful, last in the early stages, stayed on for third, shaping as if she would appreciate further.

The Mark Johnston trained Marie’s Diamond, a son of Footstepsinthesand, had run a close second to Van Beethoven, in the Group Two Railway Stakes, on his previous start.

Larchmont Lad back on song in the Minstrel Stakes

Larchmont Lad
Image reproduced with the kind permission of Newmarket Racecourse

Larchmont Lad ended a long losing streak and headed a David O’Meara one-two in the Group 2 Friarstown Stud Minstrel Stakes.

Seven lined-up for this seven furlong contest.

Larchmont Lad was quickly into stride and set the tempo from St Patrick’s Day.

The front pair continued to bowl along, with Smash Williams tucked in behind in third and then So Beloved.

Larchmont Lad was pushed along with two furlongs to race, but found more to lead St Patrick’s Day.

The leader moved two lengths clear at the furlong pole under James Doyle and while stable mate So Beloved gave chase, the four year old won comfortably.

Fas ran a mighty race for third, with Smash Williams fourth.

Sea Of Class captures the Irish Oaks

Sea Of Class wins the Darley Irish Oaks
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Sea Of Class was delivered late to inch out Forever Together in the Group One Darley Irish Oaks.

A field of seven contested the fourth Irish Classic of the year, with Epsom winner Forever Together, one of three Aidan O’Brien representatives.

Bye Bye Baby was rushed up into the lead from Romiyna and Forever Together, with Magic Wand settled in fourth.

Settling down, Bye Bye Baby continued to set the pace, with Forever Together moving second on the outside and travelling smoothly. Romiyna ran third, with Magic Wand fourth and then Tissiak and Mary Tudor, while Sea of Class ran last.

Turning for home, Forever Together edged into the lead and was asked for her effort a long way from home by Donnacha O’Brien.

With a furlong to run, Forever Together held the call, with Mary Tudor chasing. However, the grey’s stamina petered out as Sea Of Class began her run down the wide outside.

James Doyle, already inspired by a double on the card, came with a wet sail on the English-trained challenger.

In the dying strides, Sea of Class got up to deny Forever Together a big Oaks double, with Mary Tudor third and Bye Bye Baby fourth.

The William Haggas trained daughter of Sea The Stars, had finished a narrow second on her racecourse debut, at Newmarket’s Craven Meeting. She had subsequently won back to back Listed contests, but was taking this step up in class in her stride.

Havana Grey back on song in the Sapphire

Havana Grey

The Karl Burke trained Havana Grey, came back to his best juvenile form, as he ran out a convincing winner of the Group Two Sapphire Stakes at the Curragh.

Seven went to post for this five furlong contest.

From the gates, the habitual front-runner Caspian Prince, was soon into his stride, contesting the lead with Havana Grey.

Colin Keane soon had Caspian Prince in front, in a group of five horses, with Havana Grey to the centre of the track.

With 1 ½ furlong to race, PJ McDonald and Havana Grey kicked on into the lead and went a couple of lengths clear.

Caspian Prince kept on stoutly for second, with Mabs Cross completing a sweep of the places for the British runners.

Magical scores in the Kilboy


Magical proved a cut above her rivals with an all the way win in the Group Two Kilboy Estate Stakes.

A field of seven fillies lined-up for this nine-furlong contest, with six of the field trained by Aidan or Joseph O’Brien.

Magical cut out the running from Broadway and I’m So Fancy.

Reaching the home turn, Ryan Moore and Happily continued to lead but the cards had yet to be played.

Straightening up, Magical kicked on, with I’m So Fancy giving chase.

But Magical kept up the gallop and her pursuers were never able to strike a blow.

At the line, the Aidan O’Brien trained Magical was perhaps two lengths clear and a comfortable winner from I’m So Fancy, with Broadway and Ship Of Dreams next. September, on her first start of 2018, was always towards the rear and finished last.

Skitter Scatter lands a surprise at Leopardstown

Skitter Scatter (centre) won at Leopardstown
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Skitter Scatter upset some lofty reputations but was a decisive winner of the Group Three Jockey Club of Turkey Silver Flash Stakes at Leopardstown.

Six juvenile fillies went to post for this seven furlong contest.

From the gates it was Sparkle’n’joy who broke best, but Goddess was soon moved into a clear lead by Ryan Moore.

Goddess bowled along in front, with Skitter Scatter keeping close company.

Approaching the home bend, Goddess travelled well to the inside, but Skitter Scatter pressed on and went a couple of lengths clear.

In behind, nothing really emerged as a serious threat and Skitter Scatter and Ronan Whelan, reached the line comfortable winner.

Moravia won a fine scrap for second, with Secret Thoughts claiming third, ahead of Sparkle’n’joy.

The highly-regarded Goddess, so impressive on her previous start, bombed out to finish last, adding further evidence to the suggestion that some of Aidan O’Brien’s runners might have a bug.

The Patrick Prendergast trained Skitter Scatter, a daughter of Scat Daddy, had run well when second to So Perfect in the Group Three Grangecon Stud Stakes on her prior start.

Anthony Van Dyck hugely impressive in the Tyros Stakes

Anthony Van Dyck looked a colt of the highest order as he pulverised his rivals in the Group Three Japan Racing Association Tyros Stakes at Leopardstown.

A field of five colts lined-up for this seven furlong contest with a rich pedigree, having been won in recent years by the likes of King Of Kings, Teofilo, New Approach, Rip Van Winkle, Cape Blanco, Zoffany, Gleneagles, Churchill and The Pentagon.

At the break, it was Copia Verborum who went on from Anthony Van Dyck and Invasion Day.

Copia Verborum set a strong gallop and led by four lengths from Anthony Van Dyck.

Straightening up for home, Copia Verborum was still clear, but gradually Anthony Van Dyck closed him down, hitting the front inside the final furlong and storming clear.

At the line, Anthony Van Dyck and Ryan Moore were a hugely impressive seven lengths clear of Bold Approach, in a performance that extended Aidan O’Brien’s winning streak in this race to five.

Le Coudray passes away

The hugely talented hurdler and chaser Le Coudray, has died, at the age of 24.

Owned by JP McManus, the dual Grade One winner passed away at his owner’s Martinstown Stud, in County Limerick.

A winner five times over hurdles in France, Le Coudray beat the top class Limestone Lad on his Irish debut and was later second to Anzum, in the Stayer’s Hurdle, at the Cheltenham Festival.

His Grade 1 wins over fences came in the Drinmore Novice Chase at Fairyhouse and the Denny Gold Medal Novice Chase at Leopardstown, a track where he also ran with great distinction, when second to Best Mate in the 2003 Ericsson Chase and second to Florida Pearl in the following year’s Hennessy Gold Cup.

Frank Berry, McManus’s racing manager, said: “Le Coudray has passed away at Martinstown where he spent his retirement. At his best, he was a good horse over hurdles and fences and gave us some very good days.”


International Racing News

Waldgeist triumphs in the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud

Waldgeist continued his progression as a four-year old, with a narrow victory in the Group One Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud.

Oriental Eagle made a spirited bid to kick clear in the home straight, but was soon joined by Salouen, as Waldgeist and Cloth Of Stars began their runs.

With just under two furlongs to race, the six runners were virtually in a line, fanned out across the track.

But it was Salouen who pressed on, challenged to the centre of the track by the filly Coronet. Between the pair, Waldgeist joined issue.

In a desperately tight finish, the Andre Fabre trained Waldgeist got his nose in front of Coronet, with Salouen third.

Intellogent lands the Prix Jean Prat

A cracking renewal of the Group One Prix Jean Prat went the way of Intellogent at Deauville.

Hey Gaman led early on, while Christophe Soumillon took Ancient Spirit to the far rail and ploughed a lone furrow.

Ancient Spirit just about led overall from Wusool, who led the rest of the field down the centre of the track.

The lone runner came under strong pressure and Wusool went back to the front temporarily, but was passed by Intellogent inside the final furlong.

Meanwhile, the white-faced Godolphin colt, Cascadian, began to make progress on the stands rail.

However, Intellogent and Pierre-Charles Boudot had enough in hand to just hold on, with Gustav Klimt a never nearer third, ahead of Wusool.

French Guineas winner Olmedo proved a bitter disappointment.

Kew Gardens swoops late for Grand Prix de Paris success

Kew Gardens wins the Grand Prix de Paris
Image supplied by Goffs

Irish raider Kew Gardens landed by far his biggest success to date, as he prevailed by 1 ¼ length in the €600,000 Group One Juddmonte Grand Prix de Paris, on Bastille Day at ParisLongchamp.

The Aidan O’Brien trained son of Galileo, had disappointed in the Derby, before successfully stepping up in trip to win the Queen’s Vase at Royal Ascot.

However, the drop down in trip here, proved no problem, for a colt who looks to be on the upgrade now.

Stablemate Nelson cut out much of the running, going several lengths clear, before fading in the straight.

Momentarily it looked a wide-open race, but Kew Gardens and Ryan Moore quickened down the outside to pass Neufbosc and land this prestigious prize.

O’Brien, said: “We are very happy. We came here to see if he could go on King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes (at the end of the month at Ascot). It was the idea from the start: Royal Ascot first, a recall over 1 ½ mile in the Grand Prix de Paris and then think of the King George according to the result. His rider Ryan Moore took his time. We will now think about going to Ascot or not. Kew Gardens is a beautiful colt, who moves very well and needs good ground. That’s why Ascot could please him. He’s easy to ride, well in his head, and he made 2,800m at Royal Ascot.”

The runner-up, Neufbosc, came with a threatening run to the inside, but was unable to hold off the late surge of Kew Gardens.

Neufbosc is owned by his breeder, leading French owner Gérard Agustin-Normand, winner of the race in 2016 with Mont Ormel, also trained by the Swedish handler.

She said: “I am very proud of my colt. He gave everything today. It is for this kind of emotions that we wake up in the morning. I thought he could pull it off but I can’t say I am disappointed because he tried his best. We have seen the best of Neufbosc today. He should now be aimed at the Qatar Prix Niel on his way to the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.”

Gyllen well on top in the Prix Eugene Adam

Gyllen continued Godolphin’s fine week with a resounding victory in the Group two Prix Eugene Adam at Maisons-Laffitte.

Just the five went to post for this 1 ¼ mile contest.

At the break, Moonlightchampagne swerved violently and all but lost his jockey, losing many lengths.

Native American went into the lead and set a good tempo, moving a couple of lengths clear of Louis D’Or and Crossed Baton, with Gyllen settled in fourth.

Native American continued to lead as the field turned for home, with Crossed Baton looking a danger to his outside, while Gyllen nipped through to the inside.

As the leader gave way, Gyllen went on, with Crossed Baton unable to respond. Further back, Native American appeared to slip and fell, in a nasty incident.

But the Andre Fabre-trained Gyllen and jockey Mickael Barzalona, had this race well sewn up and passed the line comfortable winners from Crossed Baton, with Lousi D’Or a disappointing third.

Inns Of Court impressive

Inns Of Court was much too good for his rivals as he stormed to victory in the Group Three Prix De-Ris Orangis at Maisons-Laffitte.

Cheikeljack was well away with Signs Of Blessing and Presidency.

Signs Of Blessing, the former Prix Maurice De Gheest winner, continued to lead from Presidency.

Racing to the two fuirlong pole, Presidency went on, but Inns Of Court powered down the stands rail and shot clear in the final furlong for a hugely impressive victory and a Group double for Godolphin and trainer Andre Fabre.

Signora Cabello strikes again

Signora Cabello, the Queen Mary Stakes winner, completed a four-timer with a hard-fought victory in the Group Two Darley Prix Robert Papin at Maisons-Laffitte.

Five juveniles lined-up for this 5 ½ furlong contest on good to soft going.

At the break it was Pocket Dynamo who went on from Signora Cabello and Simply Striking.

Pocket Dynamo continued to lead at halfway, with Signora Cabello, soon taking it up.

With a furlong to run, True Mason joined the front pair, while Sexy Metro finished strongly to the outside.

But the John Quinn trained Signora Cabello, responded well for Frankie Dettori and stretched her neck out to land the spoils narrowly from Sexy Metro, with True Mason just holding on for third, having looked short of room.

Japanese raider Geniale wins at Maisons-Laffittte

Geniale made most of the running and showed plenty of class to land the Group Three Prix Messidor.

With Emmaus a non-runner, four horses went to post for this mile contest.

Geniale went into the early lead, with Jimmy Two Times racing freely to the outside.
Yutaka Take continued to set the tempo aboard the Japanese runner Geniale.

With two furlongs to race, Geniale was asked for his effort and at full extent, with Jimmy Two Times heading the leader.

However, in the final half a furlong, Geniale battled back gamely under a hands and heels ride and won a touch snugly from Jimmy Two Times, the pair pulling clear.

Geniale, trained by Mikio Matsunaga, is another son of Deep Impact.

Beyond Reason lands Deauville Group Three

Beyond Reason

Beyond Reason held on by the skin of her teeth to land the Group Three Prix Six Perfections at Deauville.

The unbeaten Spirit Of Brittany, went into what appeared a decisive lead, early in the home straight, with Tony Piccone and Beyond Reason, giving chase, but appearing one-paced.

However, the Australia filly gradually began to claw back the leader and was on terms before the furlong pole.

In behind, the once-raced Devant was also closing, as Beyond Reason hit the front.

Devant challenged to the inside and came to join Beyond Reason on the line in a tight finish. But the Charlie Appleby-trained filly prevailed, with Spirit Of Brittany well held back in third.

Homerique boosts Laurens with Prix de Psyche win

Homerique wins the Prix de Psyche
Image supplied by France Galop; copyright ScoopDyga

Homerique was allowed to dictate from the front and ground her way to victory in the Group Three Prix de Psyche.

Seven three year old fillies lined-up for this ten furlong contest.

From the start it was Lady Athena who went on, but was soon joined by the Prix de Diane-placed Homerique.

Settling down, Homerique and Pierre-Charles Boudot led from Impertinente and Lady Athena.

Homerique took the field into the home straight, with the Wertheimer pair of Impertinente and Soustraction challenging.

But Homerique found more and whilst Mascha finished to good effect on the inside, she was the best part of a length down at the line, with Impertinente third.

The Francis-Henri Graffard-trained Homerique had finished a close third to Laurens at Chantilly.

Comedy laughs at rivals

Comedy landed the Prix De Cabourg
Image supplied by Goffs

Comedy was allowed to dominate as she ran out a ready winner of the Group Three Darley Prix De Cabourg at Deauville.

Six juveniles went to post for this six furlong contest, with four coming across the Channel from the UK.
At the break, it was Comedy who went on from the Italian challenger Wind Test, with Glory Fighter next.

Comedy continued to set the pace against the stands rails, while Wind Test and Glory Fighter had a barging match.

With a furlong to race, Comedy still held the call, with We Go, racing wider, trying to challenge.

However, Comedy responded well for Ben Curtis and lengthened in the final furlong, drawing clear for an impressive victory by about 1 ½ lengths. Kodyanna grabbed second from We Go.

The Karl Burke-trained Comedy, a daughter of Dandy Man, was completing a hat-trick of victories.


With You powers to victory in the Prix Rothschild

With You struck a blow for the Classic generation with a decisive win in the Group One Darley Prix Rothschild at Deauville.

The first major race of the 2018 Deauville Festival attracted a field of eleven fillies and mares over the straight mile.

At the off it was With You who went on from Hunaina, but with two furlongs covered, Crown Walk, next to the rails, went on.

The front pair set a decent tempo, tracked by Hunaina, as they passed the three furlong pole, with Crown Walk still leading.

Crown Walk came under pressure with a furlong to race and With You went on, with Rosa Imperial finishing well to the outside.

But With You and Aurelien Lemaitre kept on impressively to win by about 2 ½ lengths, with the Godolphin pair of Rosa Imperial and Crown Walk in a tight finish for second.

The Freddy Head trained With You, a daughter of Dansili, was dropping in trip after twice finishing behind Laurens, earlier in the season.

German Group One success for Benbatl

Image reproduced with the kind permission of Newmarket Racecourse

Godolphin’s fine run of form continued as Benbatl landed the Group One Grosser Dallmayr Preis – Bayerisches Zuchtrennen in Munich, under Oisin Murphy.

A commanding performance saw Benbatl see off fellow British challenger Stormy Antarctic, by a clear cut 2 ¾ lengths, with Va Bank a further two lengths back in third.
Winning trainer Saeed Bin Suroor, said: “He travelled strongly and Oisin kept him at the front. It was an easy win for him.
“The ground at Royal Ascot was too firm for him. In Germany the ground is nice as they have had some rain in the last couple of days. I also think a mile and a quarter is maybe the best trip for him.
“We’ll keep the options open for him. He could go for the Juddmonte at York or the Irish Champion. Later in the year we could think about taking him to Australia. We’ll discuss the options with Sheikh Mohammed.”

Sistercharlie wins the Diana Stakes

Sistercharlie left it until the last stride, to steal victory in the Grade One Diana Stakes at Saratoga’s big summer meeting.

Ultra Brat had taken command down the home stretch and appeared to have repelled her challengers.

However, the ex-French trained Sistercharlie, found more for the urgings of John Velazquez in the final strides to inch ahead and give Chad Brown another big race win, with the stable also saddling the third home, A Raving Beauty.

Monomoy Girl again in the American Oaks

Monomoy Girl is much the best in the Central Bank Ashland Stakes
Source: Keeneland Photo

The brilliant Monomoy Girl, confirmed herself one of the biggest stars of American racing, with a determined victory in the Grade One Coaching Club American Oaks, at Saratoga.

There was an even break but Monomoy Girl went on, with Gio Game for company.

Heading down the back stretch, Monomoy Girl continued to lead by a half length from Gio Game and Midnight Bisou.

The leader extended her advantage as they approached the far turn.

Heading to the final bend, it was still all Monomoy Girl, but she was under pressure, with Midnight Bisou threatening.

However, Monomoy Girl once again lengthened her stride for Florent Geroux, in most willing fashion and stretched three lengths clear of Midnioght Bisou, with Chocolate Martini third.

Already the winner of the Kentucky Oaks and Acorn Stakes, Monomoy Girl was making it eight wins from nine career starts and four Grade One victories.

Imperial Hint powers to Vanderbilt glory

Imperial Hint proved far too good for his rivals in the Grade One Alfred G. Vanderbilt Handicap at Saratoga.

Seven lined-up for this six furlong race and from the gates it was Done Deal and Mr. Crow who disputed the lead from Switzerland.

Settling down, Switzerland, next to the inside rail, took the lead up from Done Deal and Mr. Crow, with Imperial Hint next.

On the top of the bend, Imperial Hint, racing four wide, joined the leaders and straightening up, he powered clear under a hands and heels ride.

Imperial Hint cruised several lengths clear with no effort at all and passed the post a very easy 3 ¾ length winner, easing down.

Warrior’s Club came home second, with Sweetontheladies third.

Dead-heat in a Bowling Green thriller

Channel Maker and Glorious Empire couldn’t be separated in a thrilling finish to the Grade Two Bowling Green Stakes.

Glorious Empire took the field along from Hi Happy and Manitoulin and that was the order with a circuit to race.

Glorious Empire took the field into the back stretch and continued to travel well, with Hi Happy in pursuit.

At the top of the stretch, Glorious Empire extended his lead, as Channel Maker moved up on the outside.

Into the home stretch, Glorious Empire moved four lengths clear, but Channel Maker began to close, with Sadler’s Joy and Bigger Picture right on their heels, as the long-time leader folded.

At the line, it was desperately close and a dead-heat was called, with Sadler’s Joy ½ a length down in third.

Tenfold takes the Jim Dandy

Tenfold got the verdict in a tight, tactical affair for the Grade Two Jim Dandy Stakes at Saratoga.

Just five horses went to post for this nine furlong contest.

At the break it was Flameaway and Tenfold who led from Reride and Sporting Chance, while Vino Rosso raced a remote last.

Down the back stretch, the front two continued to fight for supremacy, with Flameaway still in front.

The front two held a reduced advantage at the top of the stretch, with Reride on their heels. Sadly Sporting Chance appeared to go wrong and was pulled up, while Vino Rosso was still miles behind.

Into the home stretch, Tenfold went on from Flameaway, although he wandered around the track, threatening to lose all momentum. Against the inside rails, Flameaway kept on, but Ricardo Santana Jr. managed to straighten the errant Tenfold to get up by ¾ of a length.

Vino Rosso finished like a train and was just a head back in third.

Triple Crown hero Justify retired

Justify, the latest American Triple Crown winner, has been retired from racing, after sustaining an injury.

The unbeaten son of Scat Daddy became the first horse to win the Kentucky Derby without having raced at two, since Apollo, in 1882, as he powered clear in the home stretch to defeat Good Magic by 2 ½ lengths.

Having won in the slop at Churchill Downs, Justify won the Preakness Stakes in similarly messy conditions and fog, just holding off the late challenge of Bravazo, by a diminishing ½ a length.

With some doubting his fortitude and stamina in the Belmont Stakes, Justify proved a cut above his rivals, Gronkowski by 1 ¾ lengths to complete the Triple Crown.

The China Horse Club-owned colt arrived in Del Mar in early July, but it soon became apparent that he would not be racing in Southern California, as he had picked up an injury – which sadly would end his racing career.

“Justify had some filling in his ankle, and he is just not responding quick enough for a fall campaign,” said trainer Bob Baffert. “We all wanted to see Justify run again, but ultimately it is my responsibility to make sure he is perfect. Without 60-90 days, I can’t be definite.”

“He is an incredible horse and we are very disappointed he can’t run again,” said WinStar Farm owner Kenny Troutt. “All things happen for a reason, and we are blessed to have raced him to be the 13th Triple Crown winner in history.”

Jockey Mike Smith added: “Like everyone else, I am disappointed he won’t run again, but I am thankful he came into my life. There was never a time when I rode him that I felt like I was going to get beat. There was no horse who could run with him without sacrificing themselves, and there was no horse who could come get him. He truly is a gift from God.”

Good Magic makes hay in the Haskell

Good Magic
Photo by Casey Phillips/Eclipse Sportswire/Breeders Cup

With Triple Crown rival Justify retired, Good Magic stepped up to the plate to help fill the void left, in the Grade One Haskell Invitational Stakes at Monmouth Park.

A field of seven three year olds contested this nine furlong race on the dirt.

The race got underway, with Roaming Union and Navy Commander taking the field past the winning post with a circuit to race.

Into the first turn, Roaming Union led, with Good Magic, racing wide, in second.

As the field headed down the back, Roaming Union led Good Magic and Bravazo, with Golden Brown stalking in fourth, ahead of Lone Sailor.

Good Magic moved on under Jose Ortiz, on the top bend, moving a couple of lengths clear of Bravazo as he turned for home.

The gap increased to an emphatic four lengths as Good Magic powered home in impressive fashion.

At the line, Chad Brown’s star was three lengths ahead of Bravazo, with Lone Sailor taking third.

Lady Aurelia retired

Lady Aurelia storms home in the 2017 King’s Stand Stakes with another stellar performance
Image by

Dual Royal Ascot winner Lady Aurelia, has been retired from racing.

The Wes Ward trained daughter of Scat Daddy, made a huge impression in Europe during 2016, when a devastating winner of the Queen Mary Stakes. She followed-up with success in the Group One Prix Morny.

However, her two year old career ended with a disappointing defeat behind Brave Anna, in the Group One Cheveley Park Stakes, where she reportedly bled.

Lady Aurelia was back to her brilliant best at Royal Ascot, in 2017. In the Group One King’s Stand Stakes, she simply blew the field away.

But she met with a narrow defeat at the hands of Marsha, when edged out in the Group One Nunthorpe Stakes at York, with Frankie Dettori celebrating, having thought he had won the race.

She disappointed when unplaced at the Breeders’ Cup last autumn, but ran with promise to finish second in the Listed Giant’s Causeway, at Keeneland, this spring.

That was her prep race for another shot at the King’s Stand Stakes, but the old fire was missing this June, as she finished down the field.

Owner Stonestreet Farm’s bloodstock adviser John Moynihan said: “She’s sound and doing well. Peter and [Stonestreet owner] Barbara [Banke] just decided it was time. She’s been great to everybody. She retires as one of the great ones that’s for sure.”

Ward added: “I was probably a bit selfish and lobbied to keep her going. She’s so sound – kicking in her stall, feeling so good. I still felt there was more running in her. I wanted to keep her running, and I thought a race at Keeneland – if she could have rebounded, she would have been set up for Breeders’ Cup. But I wholeheartedly stand by the owners’ decision.”

Prix de Diane winner Senga dies

Senga wins the Prix de Diane LONGINES from Sistercharlie and Terrakova
Image supplied by France Galop; Copyright ScoopDyga

The 2017 Prix de Diane heroine Senga, has tragically died at the age of just four.

The daughter of Blame, raced in the Niarchos silks and her pedigree was steeped in the finest bloodlines from that dynasty, with her third dam being the brilliant Coup De Genie.

Senga landed the Group Three Prix De La Grotte in the spring of 2017, but her big moment came with victory in the Group One Prix de Diane at Chantilly, where she beat the smart Sistercharlie and Terrakova.

Speaking to Jour de Galop the Niarchos’ racing manager Alan Cooper said: “She was in foal to Galileo. It’s a real tragedy as the Niarchos family has been developing this family for a long time.”

Course-Specialist launches weekly blog

Course-Specialist will shortly launch a weekly blog, looking at the past week’s action and the highlights of the coming week.

The blog will give opinion but not tips – and will highlight horses who have run with promise and can be noted for future improvement.

Available exclusively via email, every Monday morning, you can sign-up and subscribe here, to receive the blog, which costs £5 a month, £25 for six months or £40 a year.