Elzaam's Champers Elysees Swoops In the Matron

Champers Elysees | racingfotos.com


Rapidly-progressive in 2020, Fitzwilliam Racing's Champers Elysees (Ire) (Elzaam {Aus}) sealed her upwardly mobile status with an authoritative success in Leopardstown's G1 Coolmore America 'Justify' Matron S. on Saturday. Providing Johnny Murtagh with a breakthrough first top-level success, the July 28 Listed Corrib Fillies S. and Sept. 2 G3 Fairy Bridge S. winner had plenty to do turning for home but produced an impressive flourish to cut down Peaceful (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) 100 yards from the line. Soon clear under Colin Keane, the 9-2 shot had 1 1/4 lengths to spare over that G1 Irish 1000 Guineas winner at the line, with Peaceful 1 1/2 lengths ahead of the 9-4 favourite Fancy Blue (Ire) (Deep Impact {Jpn}) in third. “The plan was to be third or thereabouts early on, but there was plenty of pace on early doors and I was happy with where I was,” jockey Colin Keane said. “I had to sit and suffer, but they came back to me turning into the straight and she has a very good turn of foot. I thought she was a good winner at the line. I remember being disappointed walking away from the Curragh one day when she beat me in a handicap, but it's amazing when these fillies start to progress where they can end up. Johnny Murtagh is a fellow Meath man and was one of my idols growing up, so it's great to do this for him.”

That Curragh handicap that Keane referred to is the seven-furlong one June 12 that marked the seasonal debut of Champers Elysees off a mark of 86, having gone into winter quarters on the back of a runner-up finish in Naas's “Birdcatcher” nursery over that trip in October. Taking the Corrib by seven lengths at the Galway festival, the bay followed up in the Fairy Bridge over another half a furlong at Gowran Park to earn this tilt but as impressive as those performances were there was little suggestion she could deal out such a beating to two Classic winners in Peaceful and Fancy Blue and several other talented distaffers. Qatar Racing's July 1 G3 Derrinstown Stud Fillies S. winner and Aug. 2 G1 Prix Rothschild third Know It All (GB) (Lord Kanaloa {Jpn}) was fourth, framing an almost-perfect picture for Murtagh.

“Group 1s are hard to come by, so it's a marvellous day and just shows you need a bit of luck and to be in the right place at the right time,” her trainer said. “Earlier in the year, she was almost sold and had passed all the tests but it fell through as she was judged a bad trotter. She is well able to gallop and they went a good pace all the way. It was a good even pace and she has that very good turn of foot. She can go on most going, but when they have that turn of foot I always find they prefer better ground than soft. She has a great heart and wants to win. Know It All maybe just got outstayed in the last half a furlong, but to be first and fourth is amazing. I was sick of everyone saying you'd had a great career as a jockey, that was in the past, it's the here and now I'm worried about. It's been a brilliant year, but to win a group one on Champions Weekend means everything. This is not for Johnny Murtagh, this is for the whole team and this end result makes all the work worthwhile.”

Champers Elysees could have at least one other outing this year according to her trainer. “This was always a good filly and the amount she has improved is unbelievable,” he added. “She's improved a lot physically and has started to realise she's good. She's won a handicap, listed race, group Three and now a group one. When these fillies start improving there's no stopping them and this race was always the plan. The Breeders' Cup Mile is an option, the mile around there would suit her down to the ground as she's quick and has a great turn of foot. There is also the [G1] Sun Chariot at Newmarket.”

Champers Elysees' dam La Cuvee (GB) (Mark of Esteem {Ire}) is a daughter of the G3 Goldene Peitsche-winning German champion Premiere Cuvee (GB) (Formidable), who was also second in the G3 Prix du Gros-Chene. She produced the Listed Fern Hill S. winner Cask (GB) (Be My Chief) and She Bat (GB) (Batshoof {GB}), who took the G3 Premio Sergio Cumani before throwing four black-type performers of her own including the G2 Premio Regina Elena (Italian 1000 Guineas) third She Basic (Ire) (Desert Prince {Ire}). Premiere Cuvee is a half-sister to another Fern Hill winner in Fizzed (GB) (Efisio {GB}) who was also runner-up in the G2 Prix d'Astarte and her full-sister Swizzle (GB), who produced the G3 Premio Parioli scorer Al Rep (Ire) (Trade Fair {GB}). Also connected to the G1 Prix Jean Prat-winning sire Dick Turpin (Ire) (Arakan), the dam has the unraced 2-year-old colt Performance Plus (Ire) (Alhebayeb {Ire}) and a yearling colt by Mehmas (Ire) who is catalogued to sell in next Monday's session of the Tattersalls Ireland September Yearling Sale.

Saturday, Leopardstown, Ireland
COOLMORE AMERICA 'JUSTIFY' MATRON S.-G1, €250,000, Leopardstown, 9-12, 3yo/up, f, 8fT, 1:39.77, gd.
1–CHAMPERS ELYSEES (IRE), 128, f, 3, by Elzaam (Aus)
1st Dam: La Cuvee (GB), by Mark of Esteem (Ire)
2nd Dam: Premiere Cuvee (GB), by Formidable
3rd Dam: Clicquot (Ire), by Bold Lad (Ire)
1ST GROUP 1 WIN. (€12,500 Wlg '17 TATFBR; €28,000 Ylg '18 TIRSEP; €95,000 RNA 2yo '19 GOFHIT). O-Fitzwilliam Racing; B-Karl Bowen (IRE); T-Johnny Murtagh; J-Colin Keane. €150,000. Lifetime Record: 9-5-2-1, $305,753. Werk Nick Rating: C. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Peaceful (Ire), 128, f, 3, Galileo (Ire)–Missvinski, by Stravinsky. O-Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith & Susan Magnier; B-Coolmore (IRE); T-Aidan O'Brien. €50,000.
3–Fancy Blue (Ire), 128, f, 3, Deep Impact (Jpn)–Chenchikova (Ire), by Sadler's Wells. O-Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith & Susan Magnier; B-Coolmore (IRE); T-Donnacha O'Brien. €25,000.
Margins: 1 1/4, 1HF, HD. Odds: 4.50, 2.74, 2.25.
Also Ran: Know It All (GB), Albigna (Ire), Valeria Messalina (Ire), So Wonderful, Lady Wannabe (Ire), New York Girl (Ire), Wilds Dreams (Arg), Love Locket (Ire). Click for the Racing Post result or the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree.

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