Charm Spirit's Shaquille Brilliant In The July Cup

ShaquilleGetty Images


There have been many super-sprinters that have won Newmarket's G1 July Cup, but probably none that have managed to do as much wrong as Shaquille (GB) (Charm Spirit {Ire}-Magic {Ire}, by Galileo {Ire}) as he placed himself among the very best in Saturday's renewal. Up in the air as the stalls opened and slowly away again as he had been in Royal Ascot's G1 Commonwealth Cup, Julie Camacho and Steve Brown's freakishly-talented 3-year-old was quickly telling Rossa Ryan that he wanted to assume top dog status. Lesser mortals would have had little left for the July Course's steep climb to the line having blown by the turbo-charged Art Power (Ire) (Dark Angel {Ire}) at halfway, but Martin Hughes's homebred occupies different territory to most.

Threatening at the business end was Kinross (GB) (Kingman {GB}), who had enjoyed a far more favourable trip and as a G1 Prix de la Foret winner had the stamina to make Shaquille pay for his early exertions, but the 5-2 joint-favourite simply dispelled that challenge for his closing act. At the line, he had 1 1/2 lengths to spare over the 28-1 outsider Run To Freedom (GB) (Muhaarar {GB}), another Henry Candy special who grabbed the silver medal from Kinross late on by a short head.

“He's some horse to do that and it was just an incredible performance taking on the older horses,” Ryan said. “I tried to settle him in behind, but he wasn't having it. I was out of control really and I had to make a move in the middle part of the race–I had no option. Nine times out ten that would be a disaster, but he has just got a lot of ability and that is the long and the short of it. I just let him blow out and grab his wind and he just went away. Two out, he kicked and he stayed going. I saw someone out of the corner of my eye and he kicked again for me at the half-furlong pole and picked up all the way to the line. He's something else.”


Shaquille, whose light was hidden under a bushel until his barnstorming all-the-way success in Newbury's Listed Carnarvon S. in May, has fast become the sprinting category's standard-setter and his impressive sectionals at Royal Ascot suggested he could be ultra-slick on this fast track. His scintillating 10.70 and 10.64 second and third-furlong splits took him past Art Power, who has made his trade by dominating the early parts of most of his races, as the other joint-favourite Little Big Bear (Ire) (No Nay Never) backed out quickly. Unrelenting thereafter with splits of 11.03 and 11.33, the damage was done and it was just a case of holding him together on the climb to the line.

“I just wish he'd do things right,” Camacho said after becoming the first female trainer to exceed £1million in prizemoney in a season. “I keep saying I wish he'd do everything right. He drives us mad. It is just nice that people in the north can have a bit of success, because there are some really good trainers in the north and if we can get the ammunition, we can do well with them. We will probably go to Haydock, although we will put him in at Deauville [for the G1 Prix Maurice de Gheest]. Steve will discuss it with Martin [Hughes]. I'm only a very small part. Steve plays a bigger part than I do.”

Brown said, “Oisin was quiet with him at Ascot, but Rossa chose to get close to the pace early and I thought we were doing too much from a fair way out, but to pick up from that you have to say he is a special athlete. He seems to be fluffing his lines a bit at the start. We hoped Ascot was an exception, but he's getting something in his mind–it's possibly the rug.”

“It has been a slow process,” Brown added. “You go back to last December and we were at a cold Wolverhampton on a Saturday night, I believe, so we didn't see the talent at this level immediately. All-Weather Championships day was a disaster and we were forced down a different route. At home, he is a lovely character, very laid-back and doesn't put a foot wrong but doesn't immediately show his talent. We would have three or four horses who would comfortably work better than him. At some point I wouldn't mind giving him a couple of quiet weeks to let him strengthen. He is still a baby, for all he is a talented one. We will have a chat over a cup of tea.”

Henry Candy said of Run To Freedom, “He's a very able horse and we knew he could do that, he showed it at Salisbury and when second behind Kinross in the Champions Sprint last year. You can never quite rely on him, which is why he starts at these ridiculous prices but the ability is there. I wouldn't be surprised if he was able to win one before the end of the year. We'll go to Haydock and we'll go to Ascot in October.”

Ralph Beckett has seven furlongs on the agenda for Kinross again for the immediate future. “I'm really pleased, it's a shade on the easy side for him going six here,” he said. “He'll go to Goodwood [for the G2 Lennox S.] and then probably York [for the G2 City Of York S.] and Longchamp [for the G1 Prix de la Foret] and then back to six for Ascot [for the G1 British Champions Sprint S.].”

Pedigree Notes
Shaquille is the third foal out of the unraced dam Magic (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}), a daughter of Cheveley Park Stud's top-class sprinter Danehurst (GB) (Danehill) whose eight black-type wins included the G2 Flying Five, G3 Premio Umbria, G3 Prix de Seine-et-Oise and G3 Cornwallis S. Also second in the G1 Golden Jubilee S. and third in this race in 2002, one of her other Galileos was the listed scorer Birch Grove (Ire).

Danehurst is kin to the G3 Prix Penelope winner Humouresque (GB) (Pivotal {GB}) and to the dam of this year's G3 Commonwealth Cup Trial S. runner-up The X O (Ire) (Zoffany {Ire}), while the family also includes the G1 Cheveley Park S., G2 Lowther S. and G3 Sirenia S.-winning European champion 2-year-old filly Hooray (GB) (Invincible Spirit {Ire}) and the G2 Cherry Hinton S. winner and G1 1000 Guineas third Dazzle (GB) (Gone West). Magic's yearling colt is by Cable Bay (Ire), while she also has a colt foal by Iffraaj (GB).

Saturday, Newmarket, Britain
PERTEMPS NETWORK JULY CUP-G1, £628,500, Newmarket, 7-15, 3yo/up, 6fT, 1:11.68, g/s.
1–SHAQUILLE (GB), 128, c, 3, by Charm Spirit (Ire)
     1st Dam: Magic (Ire), by Galileo (Ire)
     2nd Dam: Danehurst (GB), by Danehill
     3rd Dam: Miswaki Belle, by Miswaki
O-Hughes, Rawlings, O'Shaughnessy; B-Martin Hughes & Michael Kerr-Dineen (GB); T-Julie Camacho; J-Rossa Ryan. £356,422. Lifetime Record: 8-7-0-0, $1,006,040. Werk Nick Rating: B+. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree, or the free catalogue-style pedigree.
2–Run To Freedom (GB), 134, h, 5, Muhaarar (GB)–Twilight Mistress (GB), by Bin Ajwaad (Ire). O-Godfrey Wilson; B-Mrs C R D Wilson (GB); T-Henry Candy. £135,128.
3–Kinross (GB), 134, g, 6, Kingman (GB)–Ceilidh House (GB), by Selkirk. TDN Rising Star. O-Marc Chan; B-Lawn Stud (GB); T-Ralph Beckett. £67,627.
Margins: 1HF, SHD, 1 1/4. Odds: 2.50, 28.00, 4.00.
Also Ran: Art Power (Ire), Khaadem (Ire), Azure Blue (Ire), Vadream (GB), Little Big Bear (Ire). Scratched: Emaraaty Ana (GB).

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