Churchill's The Foxes Best In The Dante

The Foxes | Racingfotos.com

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There was as much uncertainty as to what would start favourite for Thursday's G2 Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Dante S. than what would emerge on top in York's time-honoured Derby trial, but in the end it was one of the benchmark horses The Foxes (Ire) (Churchill {Ire}–Tanaghum {GB}, by Darshaan {GB}) who held the bragging rights. King Power Racing's G2 Royal Lodge S. winner had been undone by Indestructible (Ire) (Kodiac {GB}) in the G3 Craven S. at Newmarket last month but appreciated this step up to an extended 10 furlongs and travelled sweetly under cover on the rail for Oisin Murphy throughout the early stages. Arriving on the front end passing the furlong pole, the Andrew Balding-trained 6-1 shot veered right but held the slow-starting White Birch (GB) (Ulysses {Ire}) to score by a neck, with 1 1/4 lengths back to the slightly unlucky 9-2 market-leader Passenger (Ulysses {Ire}) and Continuous (Jpn) (Heart's Cry {Jpn}) who shared third.

“He did a bit of meandering across the track, but he's a very good horse and it looked a deep Dante,” Balding said. “He's very professional, he was the most beautiful yearling and he's been a star to train so far. You'd have to think Epsom is the next step as long as you take the usual caveats into account, it comes close enough for example, but if he comes out of it well I think we'd have to give it a go. I think the main thing is he'd give himself every chance of staying because of his demeanour.”

The Foxes, whose juvenile form also included a maiden win at tricky Goodwood, has his trainer full of hope heading to the Blue Riband. “We've gone close in the Derby a few times, but I think he'd be the best chance we've had going there as both [runners-up] Hoo Ya Mal and Khalifa Sat were big prices,” he added. “His half-brother Bangkok went there after winning this well-fancied, but he ran poorly. We always thought he'd stay, but he was a real 10-furlong horse. I think he'll stay, as his dam got a mile and a half well.”

John Murphy's son and assistant George said of the G3 Ballysax S. winner White Birch, who was compromised by missing the break, “He ran a super race, quickened up really well and just bumped into one on the day, but we couldn't be happier with the run. He's a super mover and a big, powerful horse–ground doesn't seem to bother him. We'll take him home and see how he comes out of it, but I think he's more entitled to take his chance in the Derby now. If the owners are happy to go there and he comes out of it well, I think he definitely deserves a crack at it.”

Also set for Epsom is the unexposed Wood Ditton winner Passenger, who was stopped in his run inside the final two furlongs. After jockey Richard Kingscote stated, “It was my fault, I couldn't get him a run. It's very frustrating,” Sir Michael Stoute's assistant James Savage added, “It was a bit of a hard-luck story. He was in the stalls a long time, he jumped well and did everything brilliantly for a horse having only his second start after running on a straight mile at Newmarket. There are a lot of positives to be taken out of the race. It didn't happen for Richard up the straight, but that's just one of those things.”

The Niarchos Family's racing manager Alan Cooper also said of the third, who was the subject of a significant late gamble and who would need to be supplemented for the Derby at a cost of £85,000, “He's shown that he's a good horse on only his second start. Let's regroup. The family will follow Sir Michael's advice.”

Pedigree Notes
The Foxes is one of six black-type winners for Tanaghum including the G1 Al Maktoum Challenge Round 3 scorer Matterhorn (Ire) (Raven's Pass), the aforementioned G2 York S. winner Bangkok (Ire) (Australia {GB}) and the G3 Curragh Cup winner Tactic (GB) (Sadler's Wells). She is also the second dam of the four-times group 1-winning star miler and sire Ribchester (Ire), last year's G2 Vintage S. scorer Marbaan (GB) (Oasis Dream {GB}) and the G3 Ballycorus S. winner Convergence (Ire) (Cape Cross {Ire}).

Tanaghum is out of Mehthaaf (Nureyev), who captured the G1 Irish 1000 Guineas and is kin to Danzig's G1 July Cup hero and sire Elnadim and the Lyphard mare Only Seule, who went on to prove an important broodmare for the Wertheimers by producing the G1 Prix Maurice de Gheest and G1 Prix de la Foret heroine Occupandiste (Ire) (Kaldoun {Fr}) whose own progeny list is headed by the GI Arlington Million hero Mondialiste (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) and who is the second dam of Galileo's G1 Prix du Jockey Club-winning sire Intello (Ger). Tanaghum's yearling is a full-sister to The Foxes.

Thursday, York, Britain
AL BASTI EQUIWORLD DUBAI DANTE S.-G2, £192,250, York, 5-18, 3yo, 10f 56yT, 2:05.84, g/f.
1–THE FOXES (IRE), 128, c, 3, by Churchill (Ire)
1st Dam: Tanaghum (GB) (SP-Eng), by Darshaan (GB)
2nd Dam: Mehthaaf, by Nureyev
3rd Dam: Elle Seule, by Exclusive Native
(440,000gns Ylg '21 TATOCT). O-King Power Racing Co Ltd; B-Barronstown Stud (IRE); T-Andrew Balding; J-Oisin Murphy. £109,025. Lifetime Record: 6-3-1-0, $253,979. *Full to Perotan (Ire), SW-Ire; and 1/2 to Matterhorn (Ire) (Raven's Pass), G1SW-UAE, SW & MGSP-Eng, GSP-Ire, $780,089; Bangkok (Ire) (Australia {GB}), MGSW-Eng, SP-Qat, $926,107; Tactic (GB) (Sadler's Wells), GSW-Ire, SW & GSP-Eng, $142,213; Yaazy (Ire) (Teofilo {Ire}), SW & MGSP-Fr; and Zahoo (Ire) (Nayef), SP-Eng. Werk Nick Rating: A++. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree, or the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree.
2–White Birch (GB), 128, c, 3, Ulysses (Ire)–Diagnostic (GB), by Dutch Art (GB). (75,000gns Wlg '20 TATFOA; 48,000gns RNA Ylg '21 TATOCT). O-Mrs C C Regalado-Gonzalez; B-Cheveley Park Stud Ltd (GB); T-John Joseph Murphy. £41,334.
3(DH)–Continuous (Jpn), 128, c, 3, Heart's Cry (Jpn)–Fluff (Ire), by Galileo (Ire). O-Derrick Smith, Susan Magnier, Michael Tabor & Westerberg; B-Orpendale, Chelston & Wynatt (JPN); T-Aidan O'Brien. £20,686.
3(DH)–Passenger, 128, c, 3, Ulysses (Ire)–Dilmun, by War Front1ST BLACK TYPE; 1ST GROUP BLACK TYPE. O-Flaxman Stables Ireland Ltd; B-Flaxman Holdings Ltd (KY); T-Sir Michael Stoute. £20,686.
Margins: NK, 1 1/4, DHT. Odds: 6.00, 9.00, 6.00, 4.50.
Also Ran: Epictetus (Ire), Killybegs Warrior (Ire), Liberty Lane (Ire), Dear My Friend (GB). Scratched: King Of Steel.

 

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