Seven Days: Jumping Back to the Flat

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Yes, I know. It's a bit early for this, isn't it? We usually have a strict No-Seven-Days rule until the week after the Brocklesby but this winter has dragged on and on and I just can't wait any longer.
We have the small matter of the Cheltenham Festival to get through this week, and we'll be giving it our full attention, but as we have counted down the days to the 'The Roar' it has been impossible to ignore the sneaky French getting their Turf season underway with a couple of Listed races at Saint-Cloud. And what better way to usher the Flat back in than with last season's Poule d'Essai des Poulains winner Marhaba Ya Sanafi (Ire) exhibiting that he retains plenty of zest for racing with his victory in the Listed Prix Altipan? We may see him back in action as soon as the G3 Prix Edmond Blanc on Easter Monday as he gears up for a tilt at the G1 Prix d'Ispahan.
Marhaba Ya Sanafa's sire Muhaarar (GB) is now ensconced in his new home of Haras de Petit Tellier and has already been represented this year by the G2 1351 Turf Sprint winner Annaf (Ire) on Saudi Cup night.
On the subject of returning Classic winners, Serpentine (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) won Saturday's Listed Randwick City S. for Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott to claim his first stakes success since that extraordinary romp in the 'Covid' Derby at Epsom in 2020. It's almost unheard of for a Derby winner still to be in training at the age of seven, let alone to have been gelded.

Flags Flying High for Zoffany

Coolmore lost Zoffany (Ire) three years ago when he succumbed to liver failure at the age of just 13 ahead of the start of the 2021 covering season. Members of his final crop are now three, and they include the Jerome Reynier-trained Fun With Flags (Ire), who kept Classic hopes intact for her owner Erika Gilliar by claiming her third successive victory in the Listed Prix Rose de Mai.
Out of the Galileo (Ire) mare Marie Celeste (Ire), Fun With Flags was bred by Sonia Rogers from a family which has been at Airlie Stud for three generations and traces back to Rough Shod (GB) (Gold Bridge {Fr}) through her celebrated daughter Thong (Nantallah). The latter is in turn the dam of Special (Forli), whose offspring include Nureyev (Northern Dancer) and Sadler's Wells's dam Fairy Bridge (Bold Reason).
With entries in the Poule d'Essai des Pouliches and Prix de Diane, Fun With Flags is one to follow as she attempts to become a Classic winner from her sire's farewell crop. She would be the first for her prolific trainer Reynier, who is currently behind only reigning champion Jean-Claude Rouget in the French trainers' table.

Listed Double for Scott at Home and Away

On Thursday it was a Dandy Man (Ire) gelding out of a Dark Angel (Ire) mare out in front in the Listed Spring Cup at Lingfield and 24 hours later the reverse of that cross was seen to good effect at Chantilly in the Listed Prix Maurice Cauillault.
Watch My Tracer (Ire) was the Dandy Man three-year-old in question, and he set up a thrilling 24 hours for his trainer George Scott and owners Victorious Racing with his debut success of the year, which was followed the next day by the triumph of Isle Of Jura (GB) (New Approach {Ire}) in the King's Cup in Bahrain.
That second Listed win was hailed by Scott as “the highlight of my career to date, miles ahead of anything else”, and it is easy to see why he would be walking on air after the winter campaign his four-year-old has had in Bahrain. Having won twice at Newmarket and Newbury last summer in for his Bahraini owners, Isle Of Jura travelled to the Gulf to compete in Bahrain's lucrative turf series and he has been a near-unstoppable force there, winning four of his five starts, including two Listed races, and finishing second, beaten a short-head, on his only other run. Pattern company back in Europe now beckons for the Godolphin-bred gelding, who is a full-brother to the treble Australian Group 1 winner Cascadian (GB).
The aforementioned Prix Maurice Cauillault was yet another strike for Jerome Reynier, trainer of the easy winner Darlinghurst (Ire), who was bred by Yeomanstown Stud and, as noted, is by their kingpin Dark Angel. It was the second stakes winner of the day for the 19-year-old stallion after Godolphin's Real World (Ire) landed the Listed Al Methaq Mile in Bahrain.

Donworth Goes Dutch

There is nothing like seeing the Chateau de Chantilly in the backdrop of races to make one feel that life is again worth living and, though Friday's card was on the Polytrack, it provided plenty of interesting pointers for the season ahead.
There won't be many Dutch-bred stakes winners this year (or ever), but Tim Donworth, once of the parish of Roundhill but now a fully assimilated French dweller, saddled the Listed Prix Montenica Skylight Brochard (Hol) who may remain unique in that regard this year.
“I think he's probably the only Thoroughbred who's been bred in Holland in the last couple of years,” Donworth told TDN. “It's worked out great. His breeders happened upon the mare, they'd never had a horse before and they've now bred this horse.”
The son of Mehmas (Ire) was bred by his owner Jill Brochard and is a full-brother to eight-time winner The Covex Kid (Ire). Their dam is Fonseca (Ire), by the late Red Clubs (Ire) who has a notable record as a broodmare sire despite his having stood for only three seasons before dying at the age of seven. His daughters have produced the Group 1 winners Lucky Sweynesse (NZ), Snow Lantern (GB) and Lezoo (GB), as well as the useful sire and Group 2 winner Ardad (Ire), Group 3 winner Spycatcher (Ire), last season's Lincoln winner Migration (Ire) and the Listed-winning half-siblings Arthur Kitt (GB) and Eartha Kitt (GB).

Like Mother, Like Son

Perhaps the largest scribble in the notebook from Friday in Chantilly was the name Dolayli (Fr) after the running of the Prix Darshaan. The Aga Khan Studs-bred son of Siyouni (Fr) and Group 1 winner Dolniya (Fr) (Azamour {Ire}) has won six of his eight starts, including all three of his runs this year for Francis Graffard. It is a rare Aga Khan runner that remains in training at five, but Dolayli may well repay his owner further as he is aimed at classier assignments through the spring and summer. His trainer told the Jour de Galop that he is looking at the G2 Prix d'Harcourt and considering the Ganay and perhaps even the Ispahan as potential Group 1 targets. Dolayli had the G1 Hong Kong Vase winner Junko (GB) (Intello {Ger}) five lengths behind him in second as the latter winds up for a shot at the G1 Dubai Sheema Classic later this month.
It seems scarcely believable that it is nine years since Dolayli's dam Dolniya took the Sheema Classic herself after she too had won the Prix Darshaan, each time beating Flintshire (GB). She is now the dam of three black-type offspring, including Group 3 winner Dilawar (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}) and Listed-placed Dolia (Fr) (Invincible Spirit {Ire}). Her current two-year-old is an unnamed Frankel (GB) colt who is also assigned to Graffard.

Heating Up

Darley's second-season sire Too Darn Hot (GB) has four colts and two fillies entered for the 2,000 and 1,000 Guineas in May, and he may well have a Classic hope even farther afield following the victory on Sunday of Etes Vous Prets in the G2 Hochi Hai Fillies' Revue at Hanshin. The daughter of G1 Falmouth S. winner Nahoodh (Ire) (Clodovil {Ire}) was bred by Godolphin and exported as a yearling to Japan, where she races in the colours of Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum.
She is the fifth Group/Graded winner in a fourth different country for Too Darn Hot following Fallen Angel (GB), Darnation (GB), Alyanaabi (Ire) and Carolina Reaper (GB).

A Fitting 19th G1 Winner for Exceed And Excel

In the week in which the retirement was announced of successful shuttle sire Exceed And Excel (Ire) there could have been no more appropriate winner of the G1 Newmarket H. at Flemington than his son Cylinder (Aus). The Godolphin homebred became his sire's 19th Group/Grade 1 winner in the race won by Exceed And Excel 20 years ago. Following that victory he was bought by Sheikh Mohammed and became a valuable addition to the Darley stallion ranks on both sides of the globe.
We may yet see Cylinder racing in Europe, with Godolphin Australia's Nacim Dilmi suggesting after his victory that a trip to Royal Ascot in June could now be on the cards.


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