Order Restored With Euro Quartet

Order Of Australia | racingfotos.com


LEXINGTON, KY–Everything must fall the right way, no doubt, to win any horse race, let alone one on the greatest of stages. There were many dominoes that fell that led to Order Of Australia (Ire) (Australia {GB}) getting a start in Saturday's GI Breeders' Cup Mile at Keeneland, and as the English and Irish Guineas winners Kameko (Ire) (Kitten's Joy) and Siskin (First Defence) toiled in behind, it was a dark horse-indeed, the longest shot in the field at 73-1-that burst from the pack in midstretch to lead home an Aidan O'Brien-trained trifecta from Circus Maximus (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) and Lope Y Fernandez (Fr) (Lope De Vega {Ire}). Given O'Brien's record at the Breeders' Cup, it is quite remarkable that the great trainer's three runners here were no shorter than 10-1. Even more surprising is that O'Brien had never before won the Mile, but he amended that record with aplomb on Saturday.

When Order Of Australia traveled across from Ireland last week, he wasn't even in the race, having been placed on the also eligibles list as the 15th horse in a maximum field of 14. Just hours after leading the Ballydoyle string through their first spin over the Keeneland dirt on Thursday, the 3-year-old was in the Mile with the scratch of William Haggas's One Master (GB) (Fastnet Rock {Aus}) after the 6-year-old mare had tied up.

Just a further few hours after that, Order Of Australia's plans changed again when his rider Christophe Soumillon tested positive for COVID-19, ruling him out of his two rides at the meeting. Soumillon's fellow Frenchman, the in-form Pierre-Charles Boudot, stepped up to deputise, and in fact the rising star rider was a huge beneficiary of others' misfortunes on Saturday due to the virus; Ioritz Mendizabal had ridden the James Fanshawe-trained Audarya (Fr) (Wootton Bassett {GB} to win the G1 Prix Jean Romanet in August and finish third behind Tarnawa (Ire) (Shamardal) in the G1 Prix de l'Opera, and had been set to travel to Kentucky to partner the 4-year-old filly in the GI Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf before a positive COVID test stopped him getting on the plane. Audarya and Boudot bested the six-time American Grade I winner and 3-1 favourite Rushing Fall (More Than Ready) at 12-1 in that mile and a quarter contest to make Fanshawe a perfect one-for-one at the meeting. Audarya and Order Of Australia were just Boudot's fourth and fifth mounts in Breeders' Cup races, and while he has been ascending the ranks in Europe for some time, he has assured his status as a world-class jockey.

“It's a dream come true,” Boudot said of his Breeders' Cup double. “It is only by chance to get these rides and I'm sorry for Ioritz Mendizabal and Christophe Soumillon. It's a difficult situation with COVID, but I was given two nice opportunities. I'm over the moon.”

Order Of Australia, fourth in the G1 Irish Derby and seventh in the G1 Prix du Jockey Club this spring, broke his maiden over the all-weather at Dundalk on Sept. 18. He is a three-quarter-brother to Iridessa (Ire) (Ruler of the World {Ire}), who made history of her own at last year's Breeders' Cup when making her trainer Joseph O'Brien the youngest-winning conditioner ever at the meeting in the Filly & Mare Turf.

Audarya had franked the form of the Aga Khan and Dermot Weld's Tarnawa, and that 4-year-old filly obliged four races later in the G1 Turf to make it three straight Group 1 wins. Tarnawa, remarkably, had been the second of Soumillon's two rides at the Breeders' Cup, and as Soumillon served his isolation in Lexington that ride was picked up by Colin Keane, who had come to Kentucky to ride Siskin in the Mile.

Another weighing room star inevitably on the minds of many after Tarnawa's victory was Pat Smullen, who served a long and successful tenure as stable jockey to Weld. Smullen retired from race riding in the spring of 2019 after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, and tragically passed away in September aged 43 following a courageous battle in which his courage and fundraising efforts were life-changing for many others.

Tarnawa led home an exacta of European-trained fillies in the Turf, with Ballydoyle's ever-reliable Magical (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) delivering once again to be second. She had filled the same spot behind Enable (GB) (Nathaniel {Ire}) in the 2018 edition of the same race at Churchill Downs.

It was the first win at the Breeders' Cup for Weld, and in fact that was a major theme on the day for the European contingent. It was another veteran Group 1-winning mare, the 4-year-old Glass Slippers (GB) (Dream Ahead), who got the ball rolling earlier in the day on Saturday for team Europe after a blank Friday, bursting from the pack in midstretch to give trainer Kevin Ryan and jockey Tom Eaves their first Breeders' Cup winner. It was also a fairytale result for Terry and Margaret Holdcroft's Bearstone Stud. The Shropshire nursery bred both Glass Slippers and her winning dam Night Gypsy (GB) (Mind Games {GB}), and while the Holdcrofts offer some of their small yearling crop at auction each year, Glass Slippers was one they held on to. She has validated that decision many times over, having won last year's G1 Prix de l'Abbaye as well as the G1 Flying Five S. in September. Glass Slippers was the first European-trained winner of the Turf Sprint, and Ryan was already putting a return trip to the 2021 Del Mar Breeders' Cup on the radar in the immediate aftermath of Saturday's race.

“Why not?” Terry said. “Kevin and Margaret [Holdcroft] are going to keep her in training. We don't get a lot of time with these horses. If everything goes right, we'd love to come back.”

Mark Pennell, stud manager of Bearstone Stud, said, “She's so cool. Wherever she travels, she just seems to thrive on it. There was something different about her today. She got very excited, pawing the ground and wanted to get on with it.

“It's just massive for everybody because we're not a massive breeding operation; we don't keep many horses to race. We lost the mare and decided that we were always going to keep that filly from a foal. She always looked like an athlete. I've worked with Terry and Margaret for 40 years and to get a horse like this at the end, it's been worthwhile. If you're persistent and keep trying, you'll get one. We kept her, and raced her, and broke her in at home–we've done absolutely everything with her and it's just been unbelievable. I can't tell you the number of messages I've had off people that have been in the racing industry for years; it's just been amazing. It's just phenomenal and she's really put us on the map.”

Audarya, likewise, was the first Breeders' Cup starter and winner for longtime Newmarket trainer James Fanshawe. The progressive bay has hit her best stride this year over a mile and a quarter, and she put an exclamation point on a stellar year for Coolmore's recruit Wootton Bassett (GB). The son of Iffraaj (GB) had long promised to explode into the major leagues, and he fulfilled expectations in major fashion in 2020. His 14 stakes winners this year is more than double what he has achieved any other season, and in addition to Audarya includes G1 Prix de l'Abbaye scorer Wooded (Fr), who bested Glass Slippers by a neck in her Abbaye defense at ParisLongchamp on Oct. 4.

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