Free Wind Survives Middleton Enquiry



George Strawbridge's 5-year-old mare Free Wind (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}–Alive Alive Oh {GB}, by Duke Of Marmalade {Ire}), seen out just once since 2021, was fit and raring to go for Thursday's G2 Al Basti Equiworld Dubai Middleton Fillies' S. at York and collected a fourth straight pattern-race rosette with a narrow victory in the extended 10-furlong contest.

The April-foaled bay, whose resume also features wins in the G3 Prix Minerve, G2 Park Hill S. and G2 Lancashire Oaks, was settled off a sedate pace in sixth until turning for home. Making eyecatching progress on the bridle once into the straight, the 6-5 favourite assumed control passing the quarter-mile marker and kept on strongly, despite edging right in the closing stages, to withstand the persistent threat of last term's Listed Lingfield Oaks Trial victrix Rogue Millennium (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}) by a neck. The Knavesmire's stewards were called into action in the immediate aftermath, but allowed the finishing order to remain unchanged.

“She [nearly] got put through the rails at Haydock [in the Lancashire Oaks last year] and won despite that near fatal accident,” reflected John Gosden after notching a fourth win in the contest. “She has come back from a nasty injury and 10 months off and it was a long way for her to come back, physically and mentally. She's done that and showed a great attitude, so we couldn't be more pleased with her. She was running way below her [optimum] trip today. She wasn't originally in the race, but [owner] Mr [George] Strawbridge is over from America to see Epictetus run in the Dante and we thought we'd supplement Free Wind and run her, too. She's done great as this trip is a bit sharp for her. She's won a Park Hill over a mile-and-six furlongs, which is a slightly different ball game, and we're very clear that we're going a mile-and-a-half next time. She's in the [G2] Hardwicke [at Royal Ascot] and that would be a strong possibility at this stage.”

Rogue Millennium holds a special place in Tom Clover's heart and the Newmarket-based conditioner was delighted by the performance of his stable star. “She ran a lovely race and Jack [Mitchell] gave her a lovely ride,” he said. “He followed Frankie the whole way and she takes a step forward with each run. She ran well in France and ran well in the Magnolia at Kempton, when she didn't get a clear run. She didn't have a clear run in France either. She's a really lovely filly, she's improved from three to four and was well sourced by the [Rogues Gallery] team. It's great to have a high-class filly of this nature and it would be lovely to win a Group race with her this year. The obvious targets would either be the [G3] Hoppings [S. at Newcastle] or the [G1] Pretty Polly in Ireland, so we'll see.”

Pedigree Notes
Free Wind, one of her late sire's 242 pattern-race winners, is the second of four foals and one of two scorers for multiple stakes-winning G3 Dance Design S. placegetter Alive Alive Oh (GB) (Duke of Marmalade {Ire}), herself half to G3 Fukushima Kinen and G3 Tanabata Sho victor Crescendo Love (Jpn) (Stay Gold {Jpn}). Alive Alive Oh is also kin to the dam of the dual stakes-placed Soldier's Minute (GB) (Raven's Pass). The April-foaled bay's second dam Higher Love (Ire) (Sadler's Wells), who was runner-up in the Listed Cheshire Oaks, is out of Listed Lingfield Oaks Trial runner-up Dollar Bird (Ire) (Kris {GB}), herself a half-sister to G2 King Edward VII S.-winning sire Amfortas (Ire) (Caerleon) and to the dam of G1 1000 Guineas heroine Virginia Waters (Kingmambo) and G1SP sires Chevalier (Ire) (Danehill) and Alexander of Hales (Danehill). Alive Alive Oh has a 2-year-old full-brother to Free Wind yet to come.

Thursday, York, Britain
AL BASTI EQUIWORLD DUBAI MIDDLETON FILLIES' S.-G2, £154,800, York, 5-18, 4yo/up, f, 10f 56yT, 2:10.06, g/f.
1–FREE WIND (IRE), 128, m, 5, by Galileo (Ire)
1st Dam: Alive Alive Oh (GB) (SW & GSP-Ire), by Duke Of Marmalade (Ire)
2nd Dam: Higher Love (Ire), by Sadler's Wells
3rd Dam: Dollar Bird (Ire), by Kris (GB)
(325,000gns Ylg '19 TATOCT). O-George Strawbridge; B-Mrs Sue Ann Foley (IRE); T-John & Thady Gosden; J-Lanfranco Dettori. £87,787. Lifetime Record: GSW-Fr, 8-6-1-0, $348,472. Werk Nick Rating: A+. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree, or the free catalogue-style pedigree.
2–Rogue Millennium (Ire), 128, f, 4, Dubawi (Ire)–Hawaafez (GB), by Nayef. (35,000gns 2yo '21 TATMA). O-The Rogues Gallery; B-Shadwell Estate Company Ltd (IRE); T-Tom Clover. £33,282.
3–Poptronic (GB), 128, f, 4, Nathaniel (Ire)–Alpine Dream (Ire), by Dream Ahead. O/B-David & Yvonne Blunt (GB); T-Karl Burke. £16,656.
Margins: HF, 2 3/4, 1 3/4. Odds: 1.20, 20.00, 25.00.
Also Ran: State Occasion (GB), Stay Alert (GB), Sea Silk Road (Ire), Aristia (Ire). Scratched: Toskana Belle (Fr).


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