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The Weekly Wrap: Long May They Run

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Stormy Antarctic, the 2016 Craven winner, is still going strong three years on | Racing Post

By Emma Berry

Apologies for the tardy start of this weekly digest. It’s certainly not a case of taking the Newmarket resident’s view that the Flat only really begins today with the start of the Craven meeting, more that family matters rendered this correspondent a non-runner in the first fortnight of the season. Fortunately we have had the excellent Pat Smullen to give us his take on the racing scene, and his much-enjoyed weekly column will be back tomorrow.

Even ahead of today’s racing action, Newmarket’s Rowley Mile has already been the scene of plenty of activity this week, with around 120 breezers having been put under the spotlight yesterday morning ahead of the Tattersalls Craven Breeze-up Sale, which starts its two-day run later today. The 2-year-old sales are not universally loved but a good reminder that such auctions can offer more than just blink-and-you’ll-miss-’em juveniles was served by the admirable Stormy Antarctic (GB) (Stormy Atlantic) on Sunday.

Now six, the Ed Walker-trained gelding added the G3 Kalkmann Frujahrs-Meile at Dusseldorf to his record on his 2019 debut, extending his tally to seven wins and 11 places from 26 starts. Those victories, spread between Britain, France and Germany, include the G3 Craven S. of 2016—run, appropriately enough, during a sudden lightning storm—a year after he had been sold at the eponymous breeze-up sale by Grove Stud for 200,000gns. He was also beaten just a head by Johannes Vermeer (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) while aiming for Group 1 success at two in the Criterium International.

When interviewed for the TDN last summer, Walker said, “Stormy has kind of saved our bacon every year. He’s been a flag-bearer and a star.” He is unlikely to have revised his opinion of his stable favourite and the trainer deserves equal plaudits for keeping Stormy Antarctic in such good shape both physically and mentally.

The Wonder of Winx
While we are on the subject of longevity, the above statement of course applies to Chris Waller in his handling of Winx (Aus) (Street Cry {Ire}). There’s little left to say about Australia’s darling that hasn’t already been said, but alongside her legion of fans there are those who will continue to feel that her connections’ reluctance to travel beyond her home country means that we’ll never know how good she really was.

That debate is largely irrelevant, however. The true wonder of Winx is her extraordinary retention of form, soundness and will to win. In every racing stable in every jurisdiction there will be horses whose trainers feel that they’ve never really shown their true potential because they’ve been difficult to keep sound, or that they didn’t really have the heart for the job. In truth, those two things usually go hand in hand. A sound horse, free of aches and pains, is usually a happy horse, prepared to go out there and run as he or she was bred to do.

For those knocking Winx, it’s worth remembering that during her 33-race winning streak which lasted just shy of four years, an American Triple Crown winner has come and gone in just six—albeit brilliant, unbeaten—starts, not to mention countless other horses now being feted at stud whose race records don’t amount to a hill of beans in comparison to that of the great mare. Thanx, Winx.

Turgeon, too
The award for longstanding services to racing must however go to Turgeon (Caro {Ire}). There can be few, if any, stallions with a new crop of foals on the ground at the age of 33. That was the remarkable benchmark reached by the Haras du Mesnil stallion, who died last week. He will be missed terribly by Henri and Antonia Devin, who stood him for the entirety for his stud career, which began in 1994.

In the week before the Cheltenham Festival, at which the Mesnil team was represented by the Close Brothers Novices’ Chase winner A Plus Tard (Fr) (Kapgarde {Fr}) and G1 Queen Mother Champion Chase runner-up Politologue (Fr) (Poliglote {GB}), Antonia Devin was celebrating the arrival of a good filly foal by Turgeon but admitted that the stallion would for the first time not be covering this season.

Turgeon himself posted a new Festival winner this year in the form of Siruh Du Lac (Fr), while he features as broodmare sire not just of Politologue but also one of the stars of the season, La Bague Au Roi (Fr), a daughter of his Mesnil stud mate Doctor Dino (Fr).

A stayer in every sense of the word, Turgeon met his end peacefully in the place that had been his home for a quarter of a century, but his name will be remembered for many years to come.

More Power To The Champion
Silvestre de Sousa claimed his second jockeys’ championship last year on the same day he met King Power Racing’s Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha to discuss a retainer for the owner’s horses this season. A week later, Srivaddhanaprabha, a major investor in racehorses in recent years, was killed in a helicopter crash while leaving the ground of his Leicester City Football Club.

His family’s decision to continue racing the team of horses which had been assembled for him by Alastair Donald has been rewarded so far this season with a terrific strike-rate for King Power Racing and de Sousa, and, with a number of Classic prospects under their ownership, it will be hoped that greater success is yet to come.

On Saturday, Fox Chairman (Ire), a Kingman (GB) half-brother to Group 1 winner La Collina (Ire), was the impressive four-length winner of a Newbury maiden, following up the previous day’s success at the same track, and also for trainer Andrew Balding, of Happy Power (Ire) (Dark Angel {Ire}). The same team also has today’s European Free H. runner Shine So Bright (GB) (Oasis Dream {GB}), who holds a 2000 Guineas entry, as well as the portentously named King Power (GB), a Frankel (GB) half-sister to Oaks winner Talent (GB) (New Approach {GB}), who is entered for that same Classic.

On Saturday morning, de Sousa was spotted in Sir Michael Stoute’s string aboard last season’s maiden winner Queen Power (Ire) (Shamardal), the sister to Australian Group 2 winner Puissance De Lune (Ire). She too has potential Classic engagements.

Fine and Dandy
A good run last season for Ballyhane Stud’s Dandy Man (Ire) shows no sign of abating. In consecutive weekends he has been represented by Classic trial winners Lady Kaya (Ire) and Dandhu (GB), while Godolphin’s La Pelosa (Ire), a graduate of last year’s Tattersalls Craven Breeze-up Sale from the Tally-Ho Stud draft and subsequent winner of the GI Natalma S. at Woodbine, has entries in the Irish and French Guineas.

Chatez (Ire) gilded the lily at Newbury on Saturday, winning the valuable Spring Cup after Dandhu had triumphed in the G3 Fred Darling S. for the redoubtable veterans David Elsworth and Gerald Mosse. These results have combined to leave Dandy Man out in front in the British and Irish sires’ table at this early stage of the season, ahead of Dark Angel (Ire) and Kodiac (GB). Five of his offspring are catalogued to sell at Tattersalls this week.

Success no Accident
As the G1 Queen Anne S. winner Accidental Agent (GB) (Delegator {GB}) nears his seasonal return, perhaps in the G1 Al Shaqab Lockinge S., his owner-breeder Gaie Johnson Houghton will have been buoyed by more success for the family via G3 Greenham S. winner Mohaather (GB). The son of Showcasing (GB) is a half-brother to Accidental Agent’s dam Roodle (GB) (Xaar {GB}) and was the final foal of his listed-placed dam Roodeye (GB) (Inchinor {GB}) and was sold to Shadwell as a yearling for 110,000gns. Two of his three victories have come at Group 3 level at Newbury and he is now around 12/1 for the 2000 Guineas to give trainer Marcus Tregoning a second Classic after the Derby victory of Sir Percy (GB) in 2006.

Five generations of this particular equine family, which descends from the foundation mare Sirnelta (GB), have raced for the Johnson Houghtons. The breeder’s daughter Eve trains not just Accidental Agent but also his half-sisters, Madame Tantzy (GB) (Champs Elysees {GB}) and Roodica (GB) (Due Diligence).

The 3-year-old Madame Tantzy made her debut at Newbury on the same day that Mohaather won the G3 Horris Hill S. last October. Though she was down the field when again appearing on the same card as her relation on Saturday in the G3 Fred Darling S., she became a winner last month at Kempton. The siblings’ dam, one of two mares owned by Johnson Houghton, is booked to be covered by Showcasing this season.

 

 

 

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