Flying Artie's Asfoora Pounces Late to Secure Sixth King Charles for Australia

Asfoora | Megan Coggin

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Noor Elaine Farm's multiple pattern-race winner Asfoora (Aus) (Flying Artie {Aus}–Golden Child {Aus}, by I Am Invincible {Aus}), who placed twice in elite-level sprints Down Under, benefitted from a Oisin Murphy masterclass and pounced late to secure a sixth renewal for Australia in Tuesday's G1 King Charles III S., the rebranded King's Stand S., at Royal Ascot. It is a “Win and You're In” for the GI Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint in the autumn.

The Henry Dwyer-trained mare broke smartly and accepted a tow from Regional (GB) (Territories {Ire}), racing second in the smaller stands' side group, as GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint hero Big Evs (Ire) (Blue Point {Ire}) blitzed ahead on the far side. Drifting out of Regional's slipstream for a clear passage passing halfway, the 5-1 chance powered forward to eyeball Big Evs with 100 yards remaining and drew off late to prevail by a length as Regional overtook Big Evs for second in the dying strides.

“I am really struggling for words, funnily enough,” admitted the winning trainer after striking gold with his first runner at the Royal meeting. “We have come a long way from Ballarat, but it's been an amazing experience from start to finish. We've been so well looked after and we're so grateful for that. Chanel, who looks after this horse the whole time, has sacrificed a lot to be here, so I'm thrilled for her. It was a bit of an audacious plan. This time last year, or probably two years ago, I thought we were restricted in Australia and needed a few options over here. We couldn't travel her at that stage because she wasn't mentally sound enough. We took her to Perth last year for a race called the Quokka, an iconic Australian race, and it was more the travel that we wanted her to experience to see if she could come over here. She did it great, it was the making of her and here we are. We got a bit of stick from home for bringing her over because she wasn't seen as one of our better sprinters, but we were just so confident that she was really textbook wheelhouse five furlongs and she's proven that today. We just didn't have the races for her in Australia and she's proved she's up to it and I'm thrilled for everyone involved.”

Refelecting on a Northern Hemisphere debut fourth in last month's G2 Temple S. at Haydock, Dwyer continued, “We needed a lead-up run at Haydock, so she came over early. With the changing of seasons we wanted to be here before it was too cold in Australia and too warm over here. We came over in the nice interchange period and we needn't have worried. She settled in brilliantly and the proof was in the pudding today. I was incredibly lucky to have a couple of Group 1 winners in my first year, but it's been a bit of a dry spell since then in terms of Group 1s. This mare really deserved one, she's had so much go against her in the Group 1s she has run in in Australia. To get a Group 1 at home is great, but to get one at Royal Ascot is just amazing. We've got so many people here sharing it with us, but there is another group of 40 or 50 of my owners from home that would saw their left leg off to have a runner at Royal Ascot. It is an amazing experience.”

An ebullient Oisin Murphy was delighted with his 12th Royal Ascot winner and said, “I am thrilled for connections. It's very brave to come from Australia with a very good horse, taking in all the travel, and perform on the big day. I wasn't focusing on Big Evs, I was focusing on Regional, who gave me a perfect tow to halfway. She lugged a little bit right under pressure, looking for company, but how good was she at the line? It is hard to win Group 1 races and the King Charles III is a massive race, so I'm delighted. Royal Ascot day one, to win a Group 1, brilliant.”

Trainer Ed Bethell was conflicted in the wake of Regional's late-closing second. “Fair play to the Australians, they won fair and square,” he reasoned. “They got their horse in great nick here today and it is mixed emotions. It was tremendous really and I'm delighted for the horse, for Callum [Shepherd] and for these [Future Champions Racing Regional] guys, who have put their money into it. It is great to have syndicates like this. Another half-furlong and we might have got there, but that's horseracing and we can be nothing but proud of our horse. We will go up to six furlongs, because we are hitting the line good. I would imagine we will try and aim towards something like the [G1] July Cup [at Newmarket] now.”

November's Breeders' Cup meet at Del Mar is the ultimate goal for Big Evs this season and Mick Appleby appears set on taking the traditional sprinters' route in the interim. “He has run very well, he showed a lot of speed early on and the stiff finish just caught up with him in the last 100 yards,” the trainer said. “He's taking on the older horses, the best sprinters in the world, and he's held his own against them. He's only going to improve on that as he gets older. He is rapid and he's better on a quicker five, so we'll possibly go back to Goodwood [for the G2 King George S.], and then hopefully back to the Breeders' Cup.”

Pedigree Notes

Asfoora is the first of four foals and lone scorer produced by a granddaughter of the stakes-placed Hard Rider (NZ) (Maroof), herself the leading representative for the stakes-placed Mrs Clancy (NZ) (Shannon {NZ}). Hard Rider is the dam of five black-type performers headed by G3 Marsh Breeders' S. victrix Big Chill (Aus) (Artie Schiller), stakes-winning G3 W W Cockram S. third Hard Stride (Aus) (Street Sense) and the stakes-winning Utah Saints (Aus) (God's Own {Aus}). Asfoora hails from the family of Group 1 winners Art Success (NZ) (Pentire {GB}) and Hello Dolly (NZ) (Mi Preferido). Her younger siblings include a 2021 colt by Ilovethiscity and a 2022 colt by Dirty Work (Aus).

 

Tuesday, Ascot, Britain
KING CHARLES III S.-G1, £687,875, Ascot, 6-18, 3yo/up, 5fT, :58.60, g/f.
1–ASFOORA (AUS), 130, m, 6, by Flying Artie (Aus)
1st Dam: Golden Child (Aus), by I Am Invincible (Aus)
2nd Dam: Predestined (Aus), by King's Best
3rd Dam: Hard Rider (NZ), by Maroof
1ST GROUP 1 WIN. (24,000 RNA Ylg '20 MGMADE). O-Noor Elaine Farm Pty Ltd; B-Noor Elaine Farm (AUS); T-Henry Dwyer; J-Oisin Murphy. £390,094. Lifetime Record: MGSW & MG1SP-Aus, 20-9-2-2, $1,372,200. Werk Nick Rating: A+. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree, or the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree.
2–Regional (GB), 133, g, 6, Territories (Ire)–Favulusa (GB), by Dansili (GB). (35,000gns Wlg '18 TATFOA; 120,000gns Ylg '19 TATOCT; 3,500gns 3yo '21 TATTJU). O-Future Champions Racing Regional; B-Razza Del Sole Societa Agricola SRL (GB); T-Ed Bethell. £147,893.
3–Big Evs (Ire), 127, c, 3, Blue Point (Ire)–Hana Lina (GB), by Oasis Dream (GB). (50,000gns Ylg '22 TATOCT). O-RP Racing Ltd; B-Rabbah Bloodstock Ltd (IRE); T-Michael Appleby. £74,015.
Margins: 1, HF, SHD. Odds: 5.00, 6.00, 2.75.
Also Ran: Believing (Ire), Kerdos (Ire), Twilight Calls (GB), Makarova (GB), Emaraaty Ana (GB), Purosangue (GB), Diligent Harry (GB), Rogue Lightning (Ire), Kylian (Ire), Seven Questions (Ire), Valiant Force, Crimson Advocate, Vadream (GB), Equality (GB).

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