Heart's Cry's Continuous Clinches The Leger For Ballydoyle

ContinuousGetty Images


The tale of success of Aidan O'Brien could be no better summed up than the title of the hero of Saturday's G1 Betfred St Leger at Doncaster, with Continuous (Jpn) (Heart's Cry {Jpn}–Fluff {Ire}, by Galileo {Ire}) the latest to excel for the Ballydoyle trainer who had surpassed the 4,000-winner landmark on Sunday. Coming of age when taking York's G2 Great Voltigeur S. in commanding fashion last month, the key member of Derrick Smith's four-strong contingent was sent off the 3-1 second favourite with the Frankie factor kicking in for Arrest (Ire) (Frankel {GB}).

Held up with two behind early in rear by a confident Ryan Moore, the relative of Saxon Warrior (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn}) proved the only member of the line-up with true acceleration as he cut through the pack to take control two out. Soon clear, he had 2 3/4 lengths to spare over the 11-4 favourite Arrest at the line, with the Royal runner Desert Hero (GB) (Sea The Stars {Ire}) half a length away in third.

O'Brien, who was registering a seventh Leger success, was suitably impressed to point to the ParisLongchamp feature at the beginning of next month. “We were not sure about the distance, but he has got it well and has a lot of class,” he said. “He does stay and he does handle soft ground–it will be down to the lads, the Arc is only in two weeks and we'll talk to Ryan and see what they want to do. There is every chance he could, he's a hardy horse and he could back up.”

Successful in the G3 Prix Thomas Bryon on testing ground at Saint-Cloud in September, Continuous was making his comeback when 1 1/2-lengths third in the G2 Dante S. at York in May and duly represented the stable in the G1 Prix du Jockey Club at Chantilly the following month. Perhaps feeling the renowned “bounce” when eighth in that 10 1/2-furlong Classic, he was closest to King Of Steel (Wootton Bassett {GB}) off an unsuitably slow pace days later in Royal Ascot's G2 King Edward VII S. prior to his comprehensive defeat of this race's long-time ante-post favourite Gregory (GB) (Golden Horn {GB}) in the Voltigeur.

This was impressive stuff, with his rapid move between the three and the two deciding the contest as he stamped his obvious superiority on affairs. Like the stable's past winners Milan (GB) and Kew Gardens (Ire) before him, he was able to dominate this Classic with his ability to turn it on when it matters and in a renewal that was wide-open simply because nothing had shown genuine Classic pace, here was the emphatic answer to the conundrum.

As ever, it was Moore who got to appreciate what that feels like and he said, “We cantered round to be honest. Over these trips, you want the horse to be taking you and I knew a long way out he was going well. He showed at York he had a turn of foot and because we went steady I was always happy. He's out of a Galileo mare, so I was always confident he'd stay and his sire, Heart's Cry, was the only horse who could beat Deep Impact in Japan so there was stamina there. He showed a really good turn of foot to put the race to bed and then just had a look around in the final furlong. He's a very genuine horse, he's getting better and has this great will to win and a lot of guts.”

There was no dream Classic finale for Dettori, who said of the runner-up, “I was actually getting excited between the three and the two and I thought I was going to win when I went by Gregory and then I looked over and saw Ryan and though 'ah, I'm not going to'.

“I think that was a really good Leger, you could almost compare it to the Capri, Stradivarius, Coronet year. I think the top three are pretty good. He was a bit gassy, but that's the way he is. He could be a force to be reckoned with next year over a mile and a half. It's been a good journey, it wasn't to be but I came close and I loved it.”

Desert Hero failed to provide the present King and Queen with Classic glory, but trainer William Haggas was far from despondent. “It's been a brilliant day and brilliant the King and the Queen have come, the crowd have embraced them, they seemed to have enjoyed it and they've been very enthusiastic,” he said. “I thought he ran a great race, he was just a little bit on it early and he really wants a mile and a half and a faster gallop. He's going to be a very, very nice horse.”

“I don't know about the Melbourne Cup, that's not my decision and it still needs to be discussed, but hopefully we'll make a decision quickly as we have to because he'll need to go into quarantine,” Haggas added. “He's had a race there and he's given his all, so I'm very proud of him. Tom [Marquand] didn't blame the trip, I don't think, he blamed the pace early which was a bit gentle for him but sensible in the conditions. He'll be better with a faster pace and then he can take his time. He ran a good race and he beat Chesspiece a fair way this time, it's probably a career-best so I can't complain. As for next year, a lot will depend on whether he goes for the Melbourne Cup, but he looks to me like a Hardwicke-King George horse.”


Pedigree Notes

Continous is the third foal out of Fluff, a Navan maiden winner for this stable on debut who is a full-sister to the G1 Moyglare Stud S., G2 Debutante S., G3 Silver Flash S. and Listed Chesham S.-winning champion 2-year-old filly Maybe (Ire) who was also third in the G1 1000 Guineas. She was responsible for the aforementioned Saxon Warrior, hero of the G1 2000 Guineas and G1 Racing Post Trophy and also of this year's G3 Gallinule S.-winning full-brother to that luminary, Drumroll (Ire).

The listed-winning second dam Sumora (Ire) (Danehill) also produced another Silver Flash scorer by Galileo in Promise To Be True, who was runner-up in the G1 Prix Marcel Boussac and third in the G1 Criterium International, while her third progeny by the Coolmore great was Barbados (Ire) who proved a useful stayer when second in the G2 Queen's Vase.

Sumora is kin to the G1 Oaks and G1 Preis der Diana heroine Dancing Rain (Ire) by Danehill's son Danehill Dancer (Ire), who in turn produced the dual Group 2 winner Magic Lily (GB) and the G1 Grand Prix de Paris-placed Jalmoud (GB) both by Galileo's New Approach (Ire). Also connected to the Derby hero and sire Dr Devious (Ire), the G1 Irish Oaks heroine Even So (Ire) (Camelot {GB}) and the G1 Takamatsunomiya Kinen-winning sire Suzuka Phoenix (Jpn) (Sunday Silence), Fluff's unraced 2-year-old filly by Lord Kanaloa (Jpn) is named Angelica Tree (Ire), while she also has a yearling colt and filly foal by Wootton Bassett (GB).

Saturday, Doncaster, Britain
BETFRED ST LEGER S.-G1, £743,000, Doncaster, 9-16, 3yo, c/f, 14f 115yT, 3:06.95, sf.
1–CONTINUOUS (JPN), 129, c, 3, by Heart's Cry (Jpn)
                1st Dam: Fluff (Ire), by Galileo (Ire)
                2nd Dam: Sumora (Ire), by Danehill
                3rd Dam: Rain Flower (Ire), by Indian Ridge (Ire)
   1ST GROUP 1 WIN. O-D Smith, Mrs J Magnier, M Tabor,
Westerberg; B-Wynatt & Chelston Ireland & Orpendale
Bloodstock (JPN); T-Aidan O'Brien; J-Ryan Moore. £421,355.
Lifetime Record: GSW-Fr, 7-4-1-1, $839,184. Werk Nick
   Rating: A. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree, or
   the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree.
2–Arrest (Ire), 129, c, 3, Frankel (GB)–Nisriyna (Ire), by Intikhab.
(€440,000 Wlg '20 GOFNOV). O-Juddmonte; B-Swordlestown
Little (IRE); T-John & Thady Gosden. £159,745.
3–Desert Hero (GB), 129, c, 3, Sea The Stars (Ire)–Desert Breeze
(GB), by Dubawi (Ire). 1ST GROUP 1 BLACK TYPE. TDN Rising
   Star. O-HM The King & HM The Queen; B-The Queen (GB);
T-William Haggas. £79,947.
Margins: 2 3/4, HF, HF. Odds: 3.00, 2.75, 6.00.
Also Ran: Tower of London (Ire), Gregory (GB), Chesspiece (GB), Middle Earth (GB), Denmark (GB), Alexandroupolis (Ire). VIDEO.


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