Magnificent Seven To Relish On Sunday


Serpentine winning the Derby | Scoop Dyga

As if Saturday's action did not sate to the full, it is time to gorge while you can on Sunday with another seven top-level contests across Ireland, France and Germany. First up on the schedule is the delayed G1 Juddmonte Grand Prix de Paris for the 3-year-old Arc aspirants, which affords the opportunity to welcome back the shock G1 Epsom Derby hero Serpentine (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) for the first time since his authoritative success in the July 4 blue riband. It will be fascinating to see how he copes with the demands of this different track, but Christophe Soumillon knows it like the back of his hand and the latest Derby hero from Ballydoyle is in safe hands as he takes over from Emmet McNamara. The latter so memorably steered him to that jaw-dropping eclipse of the “form horses” at Epsom, which included Bjorn Nielsen's re-opposing English King (Fr) (Camelot {GB}) and fellow Rosegreen challenger Mogul (GB) (Galileo {Ire}), and which has subsequently been analysed inside out.

Serpentine's Epsom performance was simply that of a high-class galloper on a different level to his peers and Aidan O'Brien is happy to let him do the talking. “We always thought he was a very smart middle-distance horse and even though he only had one run at two which looked very ordinary, we were very happy with his work at home,” he explained. “He was a horse that was very relentless in his work and would go an even, strong gallop and would not surrender and that's the way he's always been. We had to give him a good break and he's done very well–physically he's really rounded off since then. It will be a run to get him started back and we'll see where we go after that.”

If there is a chance that Ryan Moore will be tempted off Love (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) for the main event in three weeks' time, it would only be for this colt despite the heroics of Magical (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) on Saturday. Another sensational display would put him in the reckoning for Coolmore's number one and his handler is keen to see what unfolds in this prestigious prize usually set for the July 14 public holiday. “Obviously a race like the Arc or something like that would be possible, but either way we're hoping we might have him for next year,” O'Brien added. “He's a solid horse and I wouldn't be fooled by what anyone thinks about Epsom–whatever race he runs in, if he makes the running you just need to go and follow him because he just doesn't come back. He's relentless and that's the way he is. I heard everyone saying about Epsom and him getting a clear lead and all that kind of stuff and he did, but I don't think there was anyone pulling or dragging too much to stay back off him.”

While not in Serpentine's league, 'TDN Rising Star' Mogul is highly-regarded and decent in his own right and has been slowly building to a crescendo this season. After the Derby, he went on to beat Highland Chief (Ire) (Gleneagles {Ire}) and English King in the G3 Gordon S. over this 12-furlong trip on Goodwood's tricky track on July 30, so it was a disappointment that he backtracked when only fourth as Highland Chief ran second in the G2 Great Voltigeur at York on Aug. 19. Gestut Schlenderhan's July 12 G1 Deutsches Derby winner In Swoop (Ire) (Adlerflug {Ger}) and Claudio Marzocco and Man Bun Lee's Aug. 8 G2 Prix Hocquart scorer Port Guillaume (Fr) (Le Havre {Ire}) add intrigue to a key trial for the Arc, but on the formbook Serpentine holds sway.

Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum's Arc prospects may lie with the still-unexposed 3-year-old filly Raabihah (Sea the Stars {Ire}), who tackles the G1 Qatar Prix Vermeille after a close-up fourth in the July 5 G1 Prix de Diane and subsequent success in the G3 Prix de Psyche at Deauville on Aug. 1. Susan Magnier and Linda Shanahan's July 18 G1 Irish Oaks heroine Even So (Ire) (Camelot {GB}) returns from her summer break after that Curragh Classic victory, while fellow Irish hopes rest with The Aga Khan's Tarnawa (Ire) (Shamardal), who enjoys prominence among the older fillies and mares after her emphatic success under a penalty on her seasonal bow in the G3 Give Thanks S. over this 12-furlong trip on Aug. 8.

Curragh Hosts Action-Packed Card

Ireland's Champions Weekend culminates with a stellar card at The Curragh, with the quartet of Group 1 contests kicked off by the Derrinstown Stud Flying Five S. Domestic hopes rest with Make a Challenge (Ire) (Invincible Spirit {Ire}), who seems to have run out of listed races to win in his native country but who has a thorn in his side in his July 19 G2 Sapphire S. conqueror A'Ali (Ire) (Society Rock {Ire}). Three fast fillies from the North of England line up in the Aug. 21 G1 Nunthorpe S. runner-up Que Amoro (Ire) (Es Que Love {Ire}), last year's G1 Prix de l'Abbaye de Longchamp heroine Glass Slippers (GB) (Dream Ahead) and Liberty Beach (GB) (Cable Bay {Ire}) who was second to A'Ali in the July 5 G3 Sandown Sprint S. Paul Mulrennan rides Que Amoro and is hoping she can back up her huge effort last time. “She's come out of York very well,” he said. “It was a hell of a run in the Nunthorpe–I've not seen many horses get Battaash off the bridle like she did, so it was a great effort. If she can reproduce that sort of performance this weekend, I think she's the one they've all got to beat.”

This season's key juveniles take in the G1 Moyglare Stud S. and G1 Goffs Vincent O'Brien National S., with John Oxley's 'TDN Rising Star' Pretty Gorgeous (Fr) (Lawman {Fr}) in pole position for the former after her success in the Aug. 22 course-and-distance G2 Debutante S on testing ground. She would be capping a golden week for Joseph O'Brien and holds Donnacha's Shale (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) and Aidan's Mother Earth (Ire) (Zoffany {Ire}) on that form. She has to do it all again, but her trainer is happy with her preparation for this feature. “I'm looking forward to running her–she's a very exciting filly,” the Piltown handler said. “She couldn't have been any more impressive last time in very heavy going. Obviously she handled that, but she's also won on better ground, so she's versatile ground-wise.” Shale had previously beaten Pretty Gorgeous on similar ground to this in the course-and-distance G3 Silver Flash S. on Aug. 6 and Donnacha is hoping that might make the difference. “It will be tough to beat Joseph's filly, but I'm hoping that on nicer ground we can get a bit closer and possibly even put it up to her,” he commented.

In the National, Ballydoyle's June 18 Listed Chesham S. and July 28 G2 Vintage S. winner Battleground (War Front) encounters Zhang Yuesheng's Aug. 9 G1 Phoenix S. hero Lucky Vega (Ire) (Lope de Vega {Ire}) and Godolphin's July 11 G2 Superlative S. scorer Master of the Seas (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}) in a fascinating tussle. Meeting them is Chantal Regalado-Gonzalez's 'TDN Rising Star' and Aug. 9 course-and-distance maiden winner Thunder Moon (Ire) (Zoffany {Ire}), Jim Bolger's Aug. 22 G2 Futurity S. winner Mac Swiney (Ire) (New Approach {Ire}) and the July 18 G2 Railway S. scorer Laws of Indices (Ire) (Power {GB}) in what promises to be a barnstormer.

Charlie Appleby won this in 2018 and also 12 months ago with a certain juvenile sensation and is keen on his latest contender. “Master of the Seas has been very professional on both his runs so far and won the Superlative S. in good style. It was always the plan to give him a break before heading to the National S. and we have been very pleased with his preparation,” he said. “Physically he has done well and this is hopefully a nice progression to the next level. He is a very different horse to Pinatubo, in terms of physique and obviously what they have both achieved going into the race. Pinatubo went into the National S. with four runs already under his belt, while Master of the Seas has only had the two starts and is a lighter-framed horse by Dubawi. Quorto was similar to Pinatubo in terms of his stature, but his form going into this race was pretty much the same as Master of the Seas, with him having won twice at Newmarket including the Superlative S. Hopefully we can continue our good record in the race.”

Lucky Vega's jockey Shane Foley said, “From day one he's always been a nice horse. He had a little hold-up after his maiden win, which meant it was a bit of a rush getting to the Railway S. He got beat in that, but improved no end for it and showed what he was capable of in the Phoenix. He's laid-back, so should have no problem going up to seven furlongs. Looking at it, it looks one of the races of the weekend, with Battleground and Master of the Seas.” Of Battleground, Aidan O'Brien said, “He's a big, powerful horse and has done very well physically since Goodwood and we're looking forward to running him. He's handled good ground and slowish ground.” Joseph O'Brien could be enjoying more success with Thunder Moon and he said of him, “Obviously it's a big step up in class from a maiden straight into a Group 1, but we didn't have many other options. He's in at the deep end, but couldn't have won his debut any easier.”

Last year's G1 Irish Derby hero Sovereign (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) heads the protagonists for the G1 Comer Group International Irish St Leger, having run 5 1/2-lengths second to Enable (GB) (Nathaniel {Ire}) in the G1 King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Qipco S. at Ascot on July 25. That form is probably good enough to issue revenge on Lloyd Williams's Twilight Payment (Ire) (Teofilo {Ire}), who probably caught him out when he was back in third needing the outing on his seasonal bow in the G3 Vintage Crop S. over this course and distance on June 27. Added to the mix is Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum's Aug. 22 Ebor H. winner Fujaira Prince (Ire) (Pivotal {GB}) and last year's winner Search For a Song (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}), who has taken time to come to herself this year but showed positive signs last time when third over an inadequate 10-furlong trip in the G1 Tattersalls Gold Cup here on July 26.

The 10-furlong G2 Moyglare “Jewels” Blandford S. sees Ballydoyle's indomitable Magic Wand (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) return to the scene of her emphatic win in the G2 Lanwades Stud S. over a mile on June 13. Aidan O'Brien said, “It's a nice race to break her into the autumn–she'll probably go on her travels after this. We're not sure how far we can go. We think we can go to Hong Kong and America, but we have to do the quarantine beforehand. They would be the two big ones on her agenda.” Jessie Harrington's Group 1-placed duo One Voice (Ire) (Poet's Voice {GB}) and Cayenne Pepper (Ire) (Australia {GB}) and Peter Brant's July 19 G2 Kilboy Estate S. winner Lemista (Ire) (Raven's Pass) are other protagonists in a strong renewal.

Stradivarius Shortens Up In Foy

Of the other group races in evidence on Sunday, the most interesting is ParisLongchamp's G2 Qatar Prix Foy, where Bjorn Nielsen's Stradivarius (Ire) (Sea the Stars {Ire}) begins his Arc odyssey dropping back to the 12-furlong trip over which he was third as Anthony Van Dyck (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) was second in the G1 Coronation Cup at Newmarket on June 5. John Gosden is looking forward to seeing him back over the trip. “He's sharpened up as a stronger, more powerful horse,” he commented. “He's not what I call a big, one-paced staying type at all–he's got a lot of speed this horse, so we're looking forward to running him over a mile and a half. He's in good form and I'm very happy with him. He's worked nicely.”

“We don't know how the race will be run–these French trials can just be run from the head of the straight,” the Clarehaven handler added. “We'll leave it to Frankie, but we couldn't be more pleased with the horse. We have trained him to sharpen him a bit, but he's wanted to and let us do it. He has sharpened in his work, which was very much the plan, but we haven't done anything dramatically different because he rather likes the way he's been trained.”

Godolphin's G1 Prix Morny and G1 Middle Park S. hero Earthlight (Ire) (Shamardal) takes centre stage in the seven-furlong G3 Qatar Prix du Pin at ParisLongchamp, adding another dimension to a day of top-class action from start to finish. That he is a bit-player on the day speaks volumes about the quality of the racing throughout the afternoon and a win here would restore confidence after a first career defeat when fourth in the Maurice de Gheest and put him on the right track ahead of the autumn. Godolphin's Lisa-Jane Graffard said, “Earthlight is in excellent form and both the track and trip should suit him.”

The G1 Longines Grosser Preis von Baden features Barney Roy (GB) (Excelebration {Ire}), who bids for a second top-level success in this country after the 10-furlong G1 Grosser Dallmayr-Preis at Munich on July 26. He renews rivalry with Stall Salzburg's Quest The Moon (Ger) (Sea the Moon {Ger}), who was a neck back in second on that occasion, while Darius Racing's Donjah (Ger) (Teofilo {Ire}) looks to supplement her latest win in Cologne's G1 Preis von Europa over this 12-furlong trip on Aug. 15. Charlie Appleby said of Barney Roy, “We were pleased with Barney Roy's first start over a mile and a half in the Preis von Europa, when the soft ground wasn't to his liking. Looking at the forecast for this weekend, it looks as though it will be a good, sound surface for him. His preparation has gone well and he is coming up against a similar group to that he faced last time, so we are hopeful of another decent performance.”

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