Old Persian Far Too Classy for Northern Dancer Rivals

10th at WO , C$300kGI Northern Dancer S. (1 1/2m)Winner: Old Persian (GB), c, 4 by Dubawi (Ire)

Old Persian | Michael Burns


Godolphin’s Old Persian (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}) made 65 cents on the dollar look like an absolute gift, taking over at will in upper stretch before proving a much-the-best winner of Saturday’s GI Northern Dancer Turf at Woodbine. The race is the course-and-distance prep for next month’s GI Pattison Canadian International S.

A bit slow to begin from the inside stall, Old Persian and James Doyle mustered a bit of speed to be up into third turning down the side of the track as Cooler Mike (Giant Gizmo) opened up by the better part of 15 lengths in the opening six furlongs. The front-runner’s advantage was dwindling away rapidly as the field approached the half-mile marker, and Tiz A Slam (Tiznow)–winner of the GIII Singspiel S. and GII Nijinsky S. over the track and trip in his two most recent appearances–was the first to come calling for the lead inside the final three furlongs. But knowing full well that he was aboard a superior stayer, Doyle allowed Old Persian to claim Tiz A Slam in upper stretch and powered home to score as much the best as the heavy favorite. Nessy (Flower Alley), a full-brother to 2017 Canadian International romper Bullards Alley, was up late to take a photo for second, while Focus Group (Kitten’s Joy) just managed to touch Tiz A Slam out of third. Old Persian was providing James Doyle with a first North American Grade I victory.

Fifth in the 2018 G1 St Leger exactly one year ago Saturday, Old Persian had to call upon all his class to win the G2 Dubai City of Gold S. on seasonal debut Mar. 9, overcoming a world of traffic at the 300-meter mark to score by a nose. After besting the Heart’s Cry (Jpn) duo of Cheval Grand (Jpn) and Suave Richard (Jpn) in the G1 Dubai Sheema Classic Mar. 30, Old Persian was a low-odds seventh in the G1 Investec Coronation Cup over the tricky Epsom layout May 31 and was a latest third in the G1 Longines Grosser Preis von Berlin Aug. 11.

“He didn’t run great in the Coronation back at Epsom there after a good run in Dubai,” said Alex Merriam, assistant to trainer Charlie Appleby. “We were pleased enough with his run in Germany and I think the ground was a bit on the soft side for him there. But James gave him a nice ride today and it worked out well.”

Old Persian could yet make another appearance in Greater Toronto this season.

“Not quite sure at the minute,” offered Merriam. “I spoke to Charlie and he said we’ll go back to Europe, see how he is, see how he comes out of the race and make a plan from there. No immediate plans at the minute.”

Pedigree Notes:

The fifth North American Grade I winner and one of 41 worldwide top-level winners for his wildly successful sire, Old Persian is out of a full-sister to Royal Ascot Group 2 winner Silkwood (GB) and GSW Silent Honor (Ire) (Sunday Silence). The late MGSW & G1SP Permian (Ire) (Teofilo {Ire}) appears under his third dam. Old Persian’s broodmare sire defeated Sam-Son’s Chief Bearhart (Chief’s Crown) in the 1996 Canadian International before finishing second to Pilsudski (Ire) (Polish Precedent) in that year’s GI Breeders’ Cup Turf at Woodbine. Indian Petal’s current 3-year-old filly Chapelli (GB) (Poet’s Voice {GB}) was third in this year’s Listed Chelmer S. and she is the dam of the juvenile filly Renaissance Queen (GB) (Pivotal {GB}) and a yearling full-brother to Old Persian. She foaled a colt by Dubawi’s G1 2000 Guineas and G1 Lockinge S. winner Night of Thunder (Ire) this past Apr. 12.

Saturday, Woodbine
NORTHERN DANCER TURF S.-GI, C$304,200, Woodbine, 9-14, 3yo/up, 1 1/2mT, 2:27.78, gd.
1–OLD PERSIAN (GB), 126, c, 4, by Dubawi (Ire)
1st Dam: Indian Petal (GB), by Singspiel (Ire)
2nd Dam: Wood Vine, by Woodman
3rd Dam: Massaraat, by Nureyev
O/B-Godolphin (GB); T-Charles Appleby; J-James Doyle.
C$180,000. Lifetime Record: 16-9-1-2, $4,349,231.
2–Nessy, 119, g, 6, Flower Alley–Flower Forest, by Kris S.
O/B-Sierra Farm (KY); T-Ian R. Wilkes. C$60,000.
3–Focus Group, 123, h, 5, Kitten’s Joy–Cocktail Hour, by
Dynaformer. ($140,000 Ylg ’15 KEESEP). O-Klaravich Stables,
Inc. & William H. Lawrence; B-Dixiana Farms LLC (KY); T-Chad
C. Brown. C$33,000.
Margins: 2HF, NO, HD. Odds: 0.65, 23.15, 3.90.
Also Ran: Tiz a Slam, Sir Sahib, Cooler Mike. Click for the Equibase.com chart, the TJCIS.com PPs or the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree. VIDEO, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

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