American Owners Dreaming Of Royal Ascot With O'Brien's Do It With Style

Do It With Style |


Royal Ascot is calling for American owner Leonard Green and his son Jonathan after Do It With Style (Ire) (Ten Sovereigns {Ire}), named after the family's first Grade I winner from over 30 years ago, marked herself down as a top-notch prospect on debut for Donnacha O'Brien at the Curragh on Monday.

This is becoming a familiar success story for the Green family in Ireland who, frustrated with competing with the big guns in the sales ring back home in the States, decided to come up with a plan to concentrate on sourcing their talent elsewhere.

The link-up with O'Brien has been a natural fit and Jonathan Green is now planning a trip to the royal meeting with his family to see Do It With Style tackle the G3 Albany S. after Monday's stylish victory.

Green said, “This filly is actually named after our first Grade I winner in the States. We'd a Grade I winner called Do It With Style back in 1991 and we had been saving this name for the right kind of filly.

“When we bought this Ten Sovereigns filly, there was no discussion whatsoever, we knew she was the next one to have the Do It With Style moniker. I'm glad that she won but, internally, I'm really pleased that it looks as though she can carry the name on and hopefully be as successful as her previous namesake. That's the confidence that we had with her. If we're going to run this filly in the Albany, which I think is the plan, you will see us there in top hat and tails.”

Leonard and Jonathan Green | Fasig Tipton

The Green family need no introduction to international racing fans. Their colours were carried to victory in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Dirt at Keeneland last November by Wonder Wheel (Into Mischief) and the hope is that Do It With Style will eventually continue her career in America. However, Jonathan is eyeing some big-race riches in Europe along with O'Brien before that happens.

He said, “It looks like she can go on to bigger and better things. We'd like to think that she has the scope and the physical ability to cope with running here [in America] but Donnacha is going to map out a campaign for her in Europe until she shows us when it's time to possibly bring her over. We've had some success over the past few years with three-year-old fillies and won last year's Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies on dirt with Wonder Wheel. Hopefully Do It With Style will come over here for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf later in the year but a lot of things have to happen between now and then. The next big step will probably be Royal Ascot. That is what we are communicating about right now.”

He added, “The most important thing for us was to buy a filly who we thought had some substance and athleticism and certainly, when Donnacha came to us with his shortlist of yearlings from the Orby Sale last year, she was at the top of our list. We stretched a little bit for her, spending over $200,000, but we really felt like she had the substance and the pedigree that we look for in a filly.”

Do It With Style was picked up for €235,000 to be precise. She was sourced from Coulonces at the Goffs Orby last September when the dollar was trading particularly strong compared to the euro, which helped Green in his decision to stick his neck out for the filly.

“We're businessmen by practice. My Dad [Leonard] was a CPA for over 50 years and I am a financial planner for 30 years. The dollar to euro ratio was certainly in our favour at the time. We look to spend somewhere between $150,000 to $175,000 for well-bred fillies. That's the lane that we feel comfortable in. We stretched a little bit for this filly but she really ticked all the boxes for us, both physically and on breeding.”

The Greens had a multitude of different trainers to choose from when setting out to source fillies from Ireland. So, why Donnacha O'Brien?

“Donnacha is easy,” comes the reply. “He is a young trainer who has been groomed by his Dad [Aidan] to be one of the best trainers in the country if not the world. When I interviewed him a few years ago, we just really hit it off. He's a hard-working guy and I love the fact that he has such great knowledge, not only from being around horses all of his life, but from being a top-class rider himself. I think that gives a trainer a tremendous amount of insight into how a horse is going and how it's doing.”

He added, “It was a few years ago that we decided to look for other opportunities because the American market was extremely difficult to find a top horse. Unless you were willing to partner with some of the big farms, it really wasn't financially viable so we looked elsewhere. We sat down with Kim Valerio, who is our primary agent, and put together a game plan to try and buy some fillies overseas with the plan of bringing them over here. We've had some success. “Diabolic (Ire) was a Dark Angel (Ire) filly we bought in our first year and she did well. We also purchased Papillio (Ire) (Starspangledbanner {Aus}) who just won a Grade 2 at Keeneland. And now with this filly, we feel like we have a pretty good game plan with picking out young fillies who can compete overseas and here in America.”

Green admits that there is now heightened competition at the Goffs Orby Sale compared to when his family first dipped their toe in the Irish market but, through forging relationships with Coolmore and the O'Brien family, says he is hoping to continue to pick up a select amount of yearlings every year.

He said, “We felt like we were ahead of the curve three years ago by coming to Goffs and looking for our yearlings at the Orby Sale but, the last time we came over, there were 50 of us on the plane.

“People are recognising that there is tremendous value in Ireland and we love the fact that we have the opportunity to buy these fillies at Goffs or privately from the Magnier family and working with the O'Briens. Especially at Goffs, they look after us so well and roll out the red carpet every time we arrive. Charles O'Neill [CEO of Irish Thoroughbred Marketing] certainly makes us feel very comfortable there and we always love coming over to Goffs.”

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