Havana Grey's Vandeek Denies Ramatuelle In Morny Thriller

Vandeek (left) denies Ramatuelle (right) a 'WAYI' spot in the Breeders' Cup gate this November Scoop Dyga


Sunday's G1 Sumbe Prix Morny looked a deep one beforehand and it didn't disappoint as KHK Racing's Vandeek (GB) (Havana Grey {GB}–Mosa Mine {GB}, by Exceed And Excel {Aus}) reeled in Infinity Nine Horses' TDN Rising Star Ramatuelle (Justify) close home for the bragging rights at Deauville. As he had on his winning debut at Nottingham and the G2 Richmond S. at Goodwood, the Simon and Ed Crisford-trained 625,000gns Tatts Craven Breeze Up joint-topper travelled easily throughout with Andrea Atzeni notably still. Allowing the G3 Prix du Bois and G2 Prix Robert Papin winner Ramatuelle first run passing two out, the 9-2 shot was eating into that even-money favourite's advantage with every stride and ultimately outstayed her for a short-neck success, with Ballydoyle's G2 Coventry S.-winning TDN Rising Star River Tiber (Ire) (Wootton Bassett {GB}) closing to two lengths at the line.


“It was a huge display and a big performance,” Ed Crisford said of his cold, who has now earned a berth in the GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint in November. “I thought the filly's turn of foot was fantastic and I thought we weren't going to claw her back, but to be fair to him he's stuck to his guns and stuck his head down and he's a really high-quality colt. We were behind a few horses and I saw Andrea looking for a gap and he couldn't quite find one, but once he got out he's picked up really well in that ground and he's a proper horse with a big future, hopefully. He could go further in time, but I think he's got so much speed being by Havana Grey that we'll aim for the Middle Park and then take it from there.”

This was a top-class renewal of the Morny and there was never a question that the pace would not be strong and it could be a slowly-run tactical affair. The G2 July S. winner Jasour (GB) (Havana Grey {GB}) was electric from the gates, denying Thunder Blue (GB) (Blue Point {Ire}) who was acting as the pacemaker for the G2 Norfolk S. winner Valiant Force (Malibu Moon) the lead. That set it up for the smoother-travelling closers in behind, of which Vandeek was always the most striking from a visual standpoint and also on paper once the sectional times had been released.

Every horse was dragged into a speed test here, with such strong splits leading to halfway meaning that this was turning into one for the stayers. With the testing ground accentuating the stamina test, Ramatuelle was faster than Vandeek between three out and the furlong pole but she paid for that in the run to the line as the British raider clawed back the deficit and edge it late as she tired.

Ramatuelle's trainer Christopher Head was not downcast afterwards. “She ran a blinder again–it's amazing what this filly is capable of,” he said. “A small tiny filly among those gigantic colts! It was a great performance, there is no shame in losing. We will discuss the next race with all the partners, but she is in the Cheveley Park and the Lagardere.”

Aidan O'Brien was also delighted with the run of River Tiber following his well-documented training troubles. “He had a muscle pull behind a little over two weeks ago and I really didn't think he'd make it,” he said. “He just lacked a little bit of drive early, so he was back a long ways and Ryan had to give him a chance to loosen up. When he did, he came home very well so we were very happy with the run. We'll see how he is and then make a plan.”

Pedigree Notes

Vandeek, who becomes the first group 1 winner for his excellent sire, is a grandson of Baldemosa (Fr) (Lead On Time) whose half-sister is the G1 Prix Robert Papin heroine Balbonella (Fr) (Gay Mecene). Her trio of top-class performers are the G1 July Cup S. and G1 Prix Maurice de Gheest hero Anabaa, the GI Pimlico Special runner-up Key Of Luck and the G1 Poule d'Essai des Pouliches heroine Always Loyal (Zilzal).

Always Loyal is the second dam of the Hanshin Juvenile Fillies-winning champion Shonan Adela (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn}), while another of Balbonella's progeny was the G3 Prix de la Grotte-placed Country Belle (Seattle Slew) who was the dam of the G2 Gimcrack S.-winning sire Country Reel (Danzig). Also connected to the G1 Poule d'Essai des Pouliches runner-up Baine (Fr) by Country Reel, Mosa Mine's colt foal is by Starspangledbanner (Aus).

Sunday, Deauville, France
SUMBE PRIX MORNY-G1, €350,000, Deauville, 8-20, 2yo, c/f, 6fT, 1:09.84, vsf.
1–VANDEEK (GB), 126, c, 2, by Havana Grey (GB)
1st Dam: Mosa Mine (GB), by Exceed And Excel (Aus)
2nd Dam: Baldemosa (Fr), by Lead On Time
3rd Dam: Bamieres (Fr), by Riverman
1ST GROUP 1 WIN. (52,000gns Wlg '21 TADEWE; 42,000gns Ylg '22 TADEY; 625,000gns 2yo '23 TATBRE). O-KHK Racing; B-Maywood Stud (GB); T-Simon & Ed Crisford; J-Andrea Atzeni. €199,990. Lifetime Record: GSW-Eng, 3-2-0-0, €316,055. Werk Nick Rating: A+++ *Triple Plus*. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree, or the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree.
2–Ramatuelle, 122, f, 2, Justify–Raven's Lady (GB), by Raven's Pass. 1ST GROUP 1 BLACK TYPE. (€100,000 Ylg '22 ARQAUG). O-Infinity Nine Horses, Ecurie des Monceaux, Hollymount Stud France SC, Chun Wai Kwok, Arthur Hoyeau, Mme Ilse Smits & Clement Tropres; B-Yeguada Centurion SLU (KY); T-Christopher Head. €80,010.
3–River Tiber (Ire), 126, c, 2, Wootton Bassett (GB)–Transcendence (Ire), by Arcano (Ire). 1ST GROUP 1 BLACK TYPE. (480,000gns Ylg '22 TATOCT). O-Tabor, Smith, Magnier, Westerberg & Brant; B-Pier House Stud (IRE); T-Aidan O'Brien. €40,005.
Margins: SNK, 2, 2HF. Odds: 4.40, 1.00, 3.70.
Also Ran: Sacred Angel (Ire), Valiant Force, Sajir (Ire), Elite Status (GB), Jasour (GB), Thunder Blue (GB). Video, sponsored by FanDuel TV.

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