Maurice de Gheest Glory For Dubawi’s Space Blues

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Space Blues | Scoop Dyga

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Godolphin had two livewires in a renewal of Deauville’s G1 LARC Prix Maurice de Gheest that looked well up to standard but also tough to call and it was the white cap of the second-string Space Blues (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}) that emerged on top in a thriller. Third in this 6 1/2-furlong feature 12 months ago, the Charlie Appleby representative had yet to win over this short a trip but gave all the right signals with the way he travelled through the seven-furlong G2 Lennox S. when registering a career-best success at the Qatar Goodwood Festival July 28. Upping his game again here, the TDN Rising Star was ridden with supreme confidence by William Buick and justified that faith with a late surge to overhaul Hello Youmzain (Fr) (Kodiac {GB}) and Lope Y Fernandez (Ire) (Lope de Vega {Ire}) in the final 50 metres. At the line, the 3/4-of-a-length margin to the former probably underestimated the superiority of the 9-2 shot, while the G1 Prix Jean Prat runner-up Lope Y Fernandez was a head away in third and Godolphin’s 11-10 favourite Earthlight (Ire) (Shamardal) surrendered his unbeaten record a further short neck behind in fourth. “Space Blues has everything–it’s amazing to see a turn of foot like that in a top sprint race,” Buick said. “Charlie told me that he was a better horse this year, which I felt as well at Goodwood in the Lennox. He is a very, very good horse and it is his first group 1, which he really deserves.”

Labelled a TDN Rising Star when off the mark on his sole juvenile start over an extended mile at Nottingham in November 2018, Space Blues spent the first part of last Spring being trained for middle-distances and when that failed was brought back to this trip to gain a confidence boost in a York handicap in May. Following up in the Listed Surrey S. at Epsom later that month, he was denied a head by Space Traveller (GB) (Bated Breath {GB}) when going too soon in Royal Ascot’s G3 Jersey S. in June and stepped up to be three-lengths second to Too Darn Hot (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}) in the G1 Prix Jean Prat over this course and distance in July. Again improving to be a close third in this, the bay was next seen flopping when seventh ridden too forward in the G3 Nad Al Sheba Turf Sprint over six furlongs at Meydan Mar. 7.

Returning to European action to deny the Haydock specialist Safe Voyage (Ire) (Fast Company {Ire}) in the June 7 Listed Spring Trophy there, he reaffirmed his aptitude for seven furlongs when taking the G3 Prix de la Porte Maillot at ParisLongchamp June 25 before his display of power in the Lennox. Anchored in rear early having broken fast here, he was hard against the stand’s rail with Buick finding an able target-horse in Hello Youmzain as Golden Horde (Ire) (Lethal Force {Ire}) led Earthlight away to his right. Comfortably in touch and notably keen for action, Space Blues was only let go after the two Royal Ascot-winning sprinters had begun their prolonged duel in front and while Lope Y Fernandez and Earthlight stayed on resolutely, the winning of the race was the superior acceleration of the British raider.

On this evidence, he would be more than a match for stablemate Pinatubo (Ire) (Shamardal) and it may be that Appleby will have to keep them apart from here. “We all know what Dubawi’s progeny can do as they get older and that’s true for most sprinters as well,” he commented. “His profile this year has been faultless. Every time he has stepped up in grade, he has been more impressive and a lot of credit goes to the team at home. Paolo [Sirigu], who rides him, does a fantastic job looking after him and he is a Christian of a horse. There isn’t a great amount of opportunities at group 1 level for a horse like Space Blues and I was keen to try and win one with him, because he deserves it. He is a lovely horse to have around and it is fantastic for the team. Most importantly, it is fantastic for His Highness Sheikh Mohammed and Godolphin.”

“It is hard to be on the front end at Deauville and the gallop was strong early doors. I felt that the race was always going to develop for a finisher and William’s instructions were to go out there and ride him to come home. He has given the horse a lovely ride. From halfway, William said he only needed for the gaps to appear and, thankfully, they came in time. We will look at bringing him back to France again for the G1 Prix de la Foret on Arc weekend [Oct. 4]. We will give him a well-deserved break first and then head to Longchamp.”

Nicolas de Chambure said of Hello Youmzain, “We’re delighted to see him back to his best. In the July Cup last time, he didn’t appreciate the ‘dip’ and once again he hit a flat spot around halfway and then found more. It’s a good result and we’re proud of him. We’ll follow the same program as last year, go for Haydock [for the G1 Sprint Cup] and then Ascot [for the G1 Qipco British Champions Sprint S.]. Next year, he will stand at Etreham.” Lisa-Jane Graffard said of Earthlight, “Mickael said he was a little bit flat in the last 100 yards, but it’s only his second run and that will help him improve his condition. He still has a very bright future, wherever he goes next, and we will take some time to reflect on everything.”

Space Blues is a half-brother to the four-times group-winning Shuruq (Elusive Quality), who is in turn the dam of the stakes-winning and GI American Oaks and GII Fair Grounds Oaks-placed Antoinette (Hard Spun). The dam is the G2 Challenge S. winner Miss Lucifer (Fr) (Noverre), a granddaughter of High Spirited (Ire) (Shirley Heights {GB}) who is a full-sister to the G1 Premio Roma heroine High Hawk (Ire) who produced the triple group 1 hero and leading sire In the Wings (GB) (Sadler’s Wells). High Spirited’s progeny include the G2 King Edward VII S. scorer Amfortas (Ire) (Caerleon) and the G3 Prix de Royaumont winner Legend Maker (Ire) (Sadler’s Wells) who was responsible for the G1 1000 Guineas heroine Virginia Waters (Kingmambo) and the G3 Gallinule S. scorer Alexander of Hales (Danehill). His full-sister Canterbury Lace produced the G1 Matron S. winner Chachamaidee (Ire) (Footstepsinthesand {GB}), who is in turn the dam of the G3 Pinnacle S. winner Klassique (GB) (Gaileo {Ire}). Miss Lucifer also has an as-yet unraced 3-year-old filly by Exceed and Excel (Aus) named Next Victory (Ire), a 2-year-old filly by Night of Thunder (Ire) named Beautiful Future (Ire) and a filly foal by Dark Angel (Ire).

Sunday, Deauville, France
LARC PRIX MAURICE DE GHEEST-G1, €230,000, Deauville, 8-9, 3yo/up, 6 1/2fT, 1:15.76, gd.
1–SPACE BLUES (IRE), 130, c, 4, by Dubawi (Ire)
                1st Dam: Miss Lucifer (Fr) (GSW-Eng, $193,403), by Noverre
                2nd Dam: Devil’s Imp (Ire), by Cadeaux Genereux (GB)
                3rd Dam: High Spirited (Ire), by Shirley Heights (GB)
1ST GROUP 1 WIN. O/B-Godolphin (IRE); T-Charlie Appleby; J-William Buick. €131,422. Lifetime Record: GSW-Eng, 13-7-3-1, €451,723. *1/2 to Shuruq (Elusive Quality), Hwt. Older Mare-UAE at 7-9.5f, MGSW-UAE, GSW-Tur & GSP-Eng, $658,709. Werk Nick Rating: A. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Hello Youmzain (Fr), 130, c, 4, Kodiac (GB)–Spasha (GB), by Shamardal. O-Haras d’Etreham & Cambridge Stud; B-Rabbah Bloodstock Ltd (FR); T-Kevin Ryan. €52,578.
3–Lope Y Fernandez (Ire), 126, c, 3, Lope de Vega (Ire)–Black Dahlia (GB), by Dansili (GB). (€900,000 Ylg ’18 ARAUG). O-Derrick Smith, Susan Magnier & Michael Tabor; B-SF Bloodstock LLC (IRE); T-Aidan O’Brien. €26,289.
Margins: 3/4, HD, SNK. Odds: 4.40, 17.00, 12.00.
Also Ran: Earthlight (Ire), Golden Horde (Ire), Wooded (Ire), Reshabar (Fr), Wichita (Ire), Spinning Memories (Ire), Roncey (Fr), Batwan (Fr). Click for the Racing Post result or the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree. Video, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

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