Facteur Cheval Upends Dubai Turf, Lord North Off the Board

Facteur Cheval (green sleeves) defeats Namur (outside) | Erika Rasmussen

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After knocking on the door so many times–finishing second or third in four Group 1 events in his four most recent starts–Team Valor and Gary Barber's Facteur Cheval (Ire) (Ribchester {Ire}–Jawlaat {Ire}, by Shamardal) got one of his own in an ultra-competitive renewal of the $5-million G1 Dubai Turf at Meydan Racecourse on Saturday. Lord North (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}), winner of the Dubai Turf the last three years and seeking an historic four-peat, broke a bit awkwardly, but despite recovering quickly, finished off the board. The U.S. hope Catnip (Kitten's Joy) went wrong in late stretch, with rider Christophe Lemaire thrown hard to the ground and removed from his final mounts on the card after being taken to hospital. While he reportedly suffered a broken collar bone and rib, Catnip's injuries necessitated euthanization shortly after the race.

Under Maxime Guyon, who won this race in 2015 with Solow (Singspiel {Ire}), Facteur Cheval bided his time far back, midfield but in the clear, as Feb. 25 G2 Nakayama Kinen winner Matenro Sky (Jpn) (Maurice {Jpn}) went to the early lead with three-time Group 1 heroine Nashwa (GB) (Frankel {GB}) a close second. The field was cluttered up early with Japanese hope and multiple Group 1 scorer Do Deuce (Jpn) (Heart's Cry {Jpn}) unlucky and in receipt of a rough trip.

Facteur Cheval tipped out into the lane, hooking up with diminutive Japanese Group 1 heroine Namur (Jpn) (Harbinger {GB}), who commenced an even-wider run from even further back than the eventual winner. The two finished so close a photo was required to determine the gold medallist, who got there by a short head. Danon Beluga (Jpn) (Heart's Cry {Jpn}), runner-up in this event last year, finished third. The final time for the 1800 metres was 1:45.91.

“It's just amazing, I have no words,” said trainer Jerome Reynier, a graduate of the Godolphin Flying Start program. “I see a horse here that has been prepared the best way possible by [work rider] Gregory [Davignon] and it's just amazing, I can't believe it.

“I said to Maxime I've never seen this horse go backwards at the finish, he is always going forward and giving his best. I had no doubts about the distance and Maxime has given him a perfect ride; he had Lord North to follow and he switched off during the race.

“He switched him to the outside and then waited long enough to save something for the end and that's just amazing. I am so happy for all my team.”

Reynier also said Facteur Cheval would likely stay in Dubai, where he has reportedly thrived, and would possibly train up to the Apr. 28 G1 Queen Elizabeth II Cup at Sha Tin in Hong Hong.

The Dubai Turf winner won the first four starts of his career in France in 2022 before finishing that year with his first group score in the G3 Prix Perth at Saint-Cloud. Although he failed to visit the winner's circle in 2023, he was never worse than third and placed in four consecutive Group 1 events. He was last seen finishing second in the G1 Queen Elizabeth II S. at Ascot Oct. 21. The Dubai Turf victory marked the kickoff of his 2024 campaign.

With a fourth Dubai Turf not in the cards, Lord North appeared to exit his eighth-place finish well.

“He had a great spot, great cover,” said regular Dubai partner Frankie Dettori. “He travelled great into the straight, but he just didn't have the gears that he had in the past. We are all getting older, right?”

 

Pedigree Notes

Facteur Cheval is the first Group 1 winner for France's Ribchester, a resident of Darley's Haras du Logis, and one of nine black-type winners for the son of Iffraaj (GB) worldwide, which include two group winners in Australia. A four-time Group 1 winner himself between England and France, Ribchester also was third in the 2017 Dubai Turf. Facteur Cheval, one of 102 stakes winners out of a daughter of the late Shamardal, is a member of his sire's first crop.

The unraced Jawlaat, a Shadwell-consigned 18,000gns purchase in 2016 at Tattersalls February by McCracken Farms–breeder of Facteur Cheval–has a yearling colt by Sottsass (Fr). She is a half-sister to multiple group winner Tantheem (GB) (Teofilo {Ire}) and hails from the same family as Shadwell's multiple Group 1 winner Tamayuz (GB) (Nayef).

Jawlaat was a third-generation Shadwell-bred whose fifth dam, Allegretta (GB) (Lombard {Ger}), produced both 2000 G1 2000 winner King's Best (Kingmambo) and the immortal Urban Sea (Miswaki). The latter–herself winner of the 1993 G1 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe–is responsible for a breed-shaping dynasty, not least through her sons Galileo (Ire) and Sea The Stars (Ire).

Saturday, Meydan, Dubai
DUBAI TURF SPONSORED BY DP WORLD-G1, AED5,000,000, Meydan, 3-30, 3yo/up, 9fT, 1:45.91, gd.
1–FACTEUR CHEVAL (IRE), 126, g, 5, by Ribchester (Ire)
                1st Dam: Jawlaat (Ire), by Shamardal
                2nd Dam: Riqa (GB), by Dubawi (Ire)
                3rd Dam: Thamarat (GB), by Anabaa
1ST GROUP 1 BLACK TYPE. (145,000gns Wlg '19 TATFOA;
€120,000 Ylg '20 ARDEAY). O-Team Valor International & Gary
Barber; B-McCracken Farms (IRE); T-Jerome Reynier; J-Maxime
Guyon. $2,900,000. Lifetime Record: GSW & MG1SP-Fr, G1SP-
Eng, 14-6-4-3, $3,748,163. Click for the
   free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree. Werk Nick
   Rating: A+. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Namur (Jpn), 121, m, 5, Harbinger (GB)–Sambre Et Meuse
(Jpn), by Daiwa Major (Jpn). O-Carrot Farm Co Ltd; B-Northern
Farm (JPN); T-Tomokazo Takano. $1,000,000.
3–Danon Beluga (Jpn), 126, h, 5, Heart's Cry (Jpn)–Coasted, by
Tizway. 1ST GROUP 1 BLACK TYPE. (¥160,000,000 Wlg '19
JRHAJUL). O-Danox Co Ltd; B-Northern Farm (JPN); T-Noriyuki
Hori. $500,000.
Margins: SHD, 3/4, HF.
Also Ran: Measured Time (GB), Do Deuce (Jpn), Straight Arron, Calif (Ger), Lord North (Ire), Nashwa (GB), San Donato (Ire), Real World (Ire), Cairo (Ire), Voyage Bubble (Aus), Luxembourg (Ire), Matenro Sky (Jpn). Also Ran (DNF): Catnip.
Click for the ERA chart & video.

 

O-Team Valor International LLC and Gary Barber; B-McCracken Farms (Ire); T-Jerome Reynier.

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