Guineas Winner Mawj Triumphant In QE II Challenge Cup

Mawj picked up the 500h Group win for trainer Saeed bin Suroor | Coady Photography

Flight delays kept one of Europe's leading jockeys, Oisin Murphy, from piloting Aspen Grove (Ire) (Justify) in last weekend's Woodbine's GI E. P. Taylor S. Thankfully for the connections of 'TDN Rising Star' Mawj (Ire) (Exceed and Excel {Aus}), he experienced no such issues this weekend–arriving in time to guide the G1 QIPCO 1000 Guineas S. winner to victory in Keeneland's GI Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup S.

Making her first start across the pond, the Irish-bred filly entered on a three-race win streak, having crossed the wire first in every start this calendar year culminating with her half-length win over Newmarket's straight mile in May's 1000 Guineas S. Despite being unraced since that spring effort, Mawj did little to dissuade the wagering public who dispatched her as the 6-5 favorite.

Away evenly, Mawj was guided out several paths off the rail over a turf course labeled as good and quickly had a neck in front of a pair of rivals to her inside passing the wire for the first time. Murphy left the rail open around the turn but guided his filly down in time to slam the door on Mission of Joy (Kitten's Joy) and gain a clear lead as the 3-year-old fillies began the backstretch run. 5-2 second choice Elusive Princess (Fr) (Martinborough {Jpn}) rated off the leader's heels in a group that stayed mostly intact through opening fractions in :23.26 and :47.72. Mawj maintained her advantage around the far turn but Elusive Princess made a run at her as the top flight straightened for the final furlong. Mission of Joy, undeterred and still with plenty of run, again made a move on the leader but was put away as the 'Rising Star' stretched out to secure the win over a fast-closing Lindy (Fr) (Le Havre {Ire}). The victory secured a historic 500th group win for trainer Godolphin trainer Saeed bin Suroor.

“Thank God,” said the winning trainer when asked about his result. “This is great (for me) to win 500 (grade and) group (races) and a Group 1 with the filly Mawj, a classic winner. To come to America, to Keeneland, to win is a great result for everybody.”

When asked about a next start in the either the GI FanDuel Breeders' Cup Mile against males or the GI Maker's Mark Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf at 1 1/4 miles, Suroor said: “It looks to me she has plenty of speed as a miler and she made it today nine furlongs. But we'll see. The mile might be the best for her, sure, but I want to decide closer to the race.”

“(Trainer) Saeed (bin Suroor) was delighted with her work at home and he asked me to sit on her last week just before she flew (to the U.S.) and she felt brilliant,” added Murphy. “She felt back to her best. We did quite quick sections (fractions) in the first half of the race, but she is a superstar filly. She found plenty. She's got a great heart and mind. I'm delighted to win for (owner) Godolphin and Saeed here; it's his 500th group winner, so for me to ride it for him means the world.”

Pedigree Note:

Modern Ideals (GB) has more than done her job in the paddocks, producing a pair of Grade/Group 1 winners already including GI Breeders' Cup Mile winner, Eclipse Champion and new Dalham Hall Stud resident Modern Games (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}) along with SW/MGSP Modern News (GB) (Shamardal). The dam herself is a half-sister to G1 Qatar Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere-Grand Criterium winner Ultra (Ire) (Manduro {Ger}) and GSW Synopsis (Ire) (In the Wings {GB}). Godolphin has retained the last two foals out of Modern Ideals: a 2-year-old Mastercraftsman (Ire) filly and a weanling full-sister to Modern Games.

Saturday, Keeneland
QUEEN ELIZABETH II CHALLENGE CUP S. PRESENTED BY DIXIANA-GI, $501,000, Keeneland, 10-14, 3yo, f, 1 1/8mT, 1:48.06, gd.
1–MAWJ (IRE), 121, f, 3, by Exceed And Excel (Aus)
1st Dam: Modern Ideals (GB), by New Approach (Ire)
2nd Dam: Epitome (Ire), by Nashwan
3rd Dam: Proskona, by Mr. Prospector
O/B-Godolphin (IRE); T-Saeed bin Suroor; J-Oisin Murphy. $294,500. Lifetime Record: G1SW-Eng, 9-6-1-1, $956,585. *1/2 to Modern News (GB) (Shamardal), SW & MGSP-Eng, MSP-UAE, $225,210; and Modern Games (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}), Hwt. 3yo-Eur & Eng at 7-9.5f, Ch. Turf Horse & MGISW-US, GISW-Can, G1SW-Eng & Fr, $3,571,418. Werk Nick Rating: A. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree or free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree.
2–Lindy (Fr), 121, f, 3, by Le Havre (Ire)
1st Dam: Llanita (GB) (SP-Fr, SP-USA, $135,802), by Rock of Gibraltar (Ire)
2nd Dam: Chill (Fr), by Verglas (Ire)
3rd Dam: Calithea (Ire), by Marju (Ire)
(€90,000 Ylg '21 ARAUG). O-Everest Racing; B-Ecurie La Vallee Martigny Earl (FR); T-Brendan P Walsh. $95,000.
3–Mission of Joy, 121, f, 3, by Kitten's Joy
1st Dam: Smart Mission, by Smart Strike
2nd Dam: Misty Mission, by Miswaki
3rd Dam: Hangin On a Star, by Vice Regent
1ST G1 BLACK-TYPE. ($32,000 Ylg '21 FTKOCT). O-RyZan Sun Racing LLC & Madaket Stables LLC; B-Sam-Son Farm (ON); T-H. Graham Motion. $47,500.
Margins: HF, HF, 1HF. Odds: 1.31, 5.72, 25.23.
Also Ran: Elusive Princess (Fr), Sounds of Heaven (GB), Liguria, Elounda Queen (Ire), Papilio (Ire), Freydis the Red (Fr). Scratched: Be Your Best (Ire), Heavenly Sunday, Prerequisite, Safeen. Click for the Equibase.com chart and the TJCIS.com PPs. VIDEO, sponsored by FanDuel TV.

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