Seven Days: Overwhelming

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David Egan wins his first Classic on Eldar Eldarov | Racingfotos.com

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Where to begin? The past week has been so wrought with emotion that by the time Sunday arrived with its 15 group races in England, Ireland and France only the dourest of stayers made it through to Doncaster's Mallard Handicap.

This is a racing publication, of course, but before we reflect on the action on the racecourse, it would be remiss not to mention the heartbreaking human loss which was so intrinsically entwined with the sport. 

Grief engulfed two nations. Wednesday brought the indelibly sad image of Henry de Bromhead as one of the pallbearers carrying his son Jack's wicker casket from the Butlerstown's Church of the Nativity of the Blessed Virgin Mary surrounded by mourners of all ages. In solidarity with their friend who lost his life at the age of 13 in a pony racing accident, many of the youngsters appeared at the service in their riding gear.

Jack's grandfather Andrew Moffat and parents Henry and Heather gave us all a lesson in how to grieve with the utmost dignity while paying a magnificent tribute to the boy whose loss has touched people who never even met him, such was the eloquence of their respective eulogies. And during Irish Champions Weekend, Jack de Bromhead was remembered in the red armbands borne by the jockeys in his memory.

In Britain the armbands were a more sombre black. The death of the Queen is in many ways easier to bear than the loss of a teenager with so much sparkle and promise. A 96-year-old woman dying peacefully in the comfort of the Scottish home she adored is what could be described as a 'good death', but Her Majesty's passing is  of course far more symbolic than that. Its repercussions will be felt way beyond her funeral next Monday when Britain's period of national mourning ends. 

The absence of the sport's most celebrated insider will be felt keenly in racing circles. There are enough members of the royal family with a strong love of horses for us to be able to hope that the Royal Studs will endure, but none of the Queen's descendants appear to share quite the level of absorption and devotion she had for breeding and racing. Change will surely come.

Another two redoubtable members of the racing and breeding community also left us in the last week. On Tuesday evening came the shock news of James Delahooke's sudden death on the Yorkshire moors, while on Saturday the passing was reported of Evie Stockwell, whose contribution to the breeding industry has been enormously significant on both the equine and human front. At the age of 97 she had survived her twin sister Lady Mimi Manton by one month. As Eddie O'Leary observed in Nancy Sexton's tribute to Mrs Stockwell, “The world has lost two Queens this week.”

May it come as some comfort to the de Bromhead, Delahooke, Magnier, and O'Callaghan families that the thoughts of their friends and colleagues in the racing world are with them during this sad time.

The Versatile Dubawi Line

So to the horses. A one-two in the St Leger with Eldar Eldarov (GB) and New London (Ire) gave Dubawi (Ire) his 53rd Group 1 win worldwide, and if you are looking for a pattern for his offspring, the answer is that there isn't one, other than a shared willingness to win. 

From top Hong Kong sprinter Lucky Nine (Ire), who was one of his earliest stars, through champion 2-year-olds, Classic milers, smart middle-distance horses, and a Horse of the Year in Ghaiyyath (Ire), Dubawi pretty much has all the bases covered, including a slew of sons at stud. As well as in Britain's final Classic of the season, the line was also represented at Ireland's Champions Weekend when John Fairley's admirable Highfield Princess (Fr), by Dubawi's Guineas-winning son Night Of Thunder (Ire), sped her way to a third consecutive Group 1 win in three different countries, this time dropping back to the minimum trip to claim the Flying Five. 

Dubawi's latest Classic winner in the delayed St Leger came on the back of his daughter Mimikyu's win in the G2 Park Hill S. on the same afternoon that the White Birch Farm homebred juvenile Kubrick (Ire) won the G3 Prix des Chenes at Longchamp. On European earnings, Dubawi has edged ahead of Frankel (GB) in the leading sires' table and in fact he is way out in front when it comes to black-type winners for the year, his tally of 38 (12% of his runners) putting him ahead of Frankel by 14. The two mighty stallions, who live only about a mile from each other as the crow flies, are level pegging on seven Group 1 winners apiece this year in Europe.

The Lanwades Success Story Continues 

In her role as Deputy Lieutenant of Suffolk, Kirsten Rausing was acting as master of ceremonies on Sunday while Newmarket's mayor Philippa Winter read the proclamation of the accession of King Charles III as Britain's new monarch. This meant that Rausing was not on Town Moor to witness a notable first for her as the breeder of a British Classic winner in Eldar Eldarov. 

She was however present for her first British Group 1 winner in her own colours when Alpinista (GB) (Frankel {GB}) won the Yorkshire Oaks to bring her Group 1 haul to five. Eldar Eldarov and Alpinista are out of the half-sisters Alwilda (GB) (Hernando {Fr}) and All At Sea (GB) (Sea The Stars {Ire}) from the Lanwades Alruccaba (GB) family which just keeps giving. 

From a different family entirely springs the expat Zaaki (GB) (Leroidesanimaux {Brz}), another redoubtable Lanwades-bred who is thriving in Australia and now has 13 victories to his name, including the G2 Tramway S. on September 3. He is bound for the G1 Cox Plate on October 22 via the G1 Underwood later this month.

Firsts and Seconds For Many

Eldar Eldarov's St Leger win was also of significance for more of his connections. Notably, he became the second breeze-up graduate from Norman Williamson's Oak Tree Farm to win a Classic this season following the Irish 2,000 Guineas success of Native Trail (GB) (Oasis Dream {GB}), last year's champion 2-year-old. Williamson was also the breeze-up pinhooker behind the 2019 Preakness S. winner War Of Will, who now stands alongside his sire War Front at Claiborne Farm. 

For Roger Varian, it was a second victory in Britain's oldest Classic following Kingston Hill (GB) in 2014, and his faith in his young stable jockey David Egan was repaid handsomely as the 23-year-old notched his first Classic victory in the same season he lost his retainer with Prince AA Faisal, for whom he won the 2021 Saudi Cup as well as two Group 1s aboard Mishriff (Ire).

Eldar Eldarov had been bought at the relocated Arqana Breeze-up Sale for £480,000 by Oliver St Lawrence for Bahrain's KHK Racing, thus also giving that relatively new owner in British racing a significant first Classic success. 

Kyprios Continues to Climb

The opening up of the Irish St Leger to older horses almost 40 years ago means that there have been a number of repeat winners, most notably the Dermot Weld-trained Vinnie Roe (Ire), who owned the race between 2001 and 2005. With Vincent O'Brien, Weld jointly holds the record for the most number of winners of the Irish St Leger, with the last two of his nine being provided by the admirable Moyglare Stud-bred filly Search For A Song (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}). Now six, she has run in the race in all four of her seasons in training, and added a third place to her fine record this year when finishing almost eight lengths behind her full-brother Kyprios (Ire), who is now the pre-eminent stayer in training following his unbeaten season which includes lifting the Gold Cup and Goodwood Cup.

The Weld stable enjoyed a successful Irish Champions Weekend, however, when unleashing the Aga Khan's Tahiyra (Ire) (Siyouni {Fr}), a half-sister to the brilliant Tarnawa (Ire) (Shamardal), to win the G1 Moyglare Stud S. on just her second racecourse appearance. A day earlier her 3-year-old stablemate Duke De Sessa (Ire) (Lope De Vega {Ire}) won the G3 Paddy Power S., leading home a one-two for Maurice Regan's Newtown Anner Stud, which also owned and bred runner-up Thunder Kiss (Ire) (Night Of Thunder {Ire}).

Kyprios, who runs in the Moyglare colours but is co-owned by the Coolmore partners, sealed a fruitful weekend for Aidan O'Brien and Ryan Moore as Luxembourg (Ire) (Camelot {GB}) confirmed his juvenile promise by winning the G1 Irish Champion S. on only his second start since resuming from an injury earlier in the season.

Auguste Rodin (Ire), bred on theDeep Impact (Jpn)/Galileo (Ire) cross that has already yielded Classic winners Saxon Warrior (Jpn) and Snowfall (Jpn) for O'Brien, continued the tremendous run of the Ballydoyle juveniles this year with his success in the G2 Champion Juvenile S. in his first run in Pattern class. He could now be headed to England next month for either the Dewhurst or Vertem Futurity. It requires no leap of imagination to see Auguste Rodin make up into a serious Classic contender for next season as the colt is the first foal of the treble Group 1 winner Rhododendron (Ire), a sister to Magical (Ire) and daughter of the equally brilliant Halfway To Heaven (Ire) (Pivotal {GB}).

Hint of Things to Come

Al Riffa (Fr) took quite a step up from maiden company to winning the G1 Goffs Vincent O'Brien National S. on Sunday for Joseph O'Brien, and the result will certainly have been welcomed by the Coolmore camp. Though the colt from the penultimate French crop of Wootton Bassett (GB) is not owned by the Coolmore team but by Jassim Bin Ali Al Attiyah, he, like Auguste Rodin, is out of a Galileo mare and represents a cross that we are likely to see more frequently in runners following the stallion's move to Coolmore Stud two seasons ago.

The Galileo mares in Wootton Bassett's first Irish crop include Snowfall's dam Best In The World (Ire), Arc winner Found (Ire), and G1 Cheveley Park S. winner Clemmie (Ire), who is also a sister to Churchill (Ire), while those currently in foal to him include Group 1 winners Minding (Ire), Hydrangea (Ire), Marvellous (Ire) and Happily (Ire).

Al Riffa, who was bred by a partnership led by Haras d'Etreham, is Wootton Bassett's sixth Group 1 winner, that group being split evenly between colts and fillies. His pedigree certainly gives plenty of hope for him to thrive with age and a bit of a step up in distance. His unraced dam Love On My Mind is a sister to the dual Sagaro S. winner and Gold Cup runner-up Mizzou (Ire), while their dam Moments Of Joy (GB) was a Listed winner over 1m6f and is herself a daughter of the G1 Prix Vermeille and G1 Yorkshire Oaks winner My Emma (GB) (Marju {Ire}).

Al Riffa was sold as a foal at Arqana to Stroud Coleman Bloodstock for €31,000 the same day that his dam went through the ring for just €11,000, bought by Arqana representative Zied Romdhane. The 10-year-old mare now has a yearling filly by Land Force (Ire) and was subsequently covered by St Leger winner Galileo Chrome (Ire).

Kingsclere in the Spotlight

Andrew Balding's association with Juddmonte has started in some style thanks to the smart juvenile Chaldean (GB) (Frankel {GB}), who added the G2 Champagne S. to his victory in York's G3 Acomb S. 

A successful Doncaster St Leger meeting for the Kingsclere team also included group wins for two stalwart owners of Park House Stables. First, Bounce The Blues (Ire) (Excelebration {Ire}) won the G3 JRA Sceptre Fillies' S for the irrepressible Barbara Keller, one of the most enthusiastic owners in the business who also raced the Grade 1 winner Blond Me (Ire) (Tamayuz {GB}). Similar comments apply to Mick and Janice Mariscotti, who certainly know how to celebrate a big winner and struck on Sunday with the G2 Doncaster Cup winner Coltrane (Ire) (Mastercraftsman {Ire}). With victories in the Ascot S. at Royal Ascot and in the Listed Esher Cup, the progressive stayer, who missed almost the whole of his 4-year-old season has certainly given the Mariscottis plenty of cause for cheer this year. Patience rewarded. 

The spotlight will soon be thrown on the Balding stable which features in a new series to be released later this month on Amazon Prime. 'Horsepower' runs in four parts from September 23 and, according to the press release announcing its launch, it “captures a momentous period in the lives and careers of its two main protagonists, racehorse trainer Andrew Balding and jockey Oisin Murphy”. 

The documentary series was being filmed when Murphy was banned for 14 months for Covid regulation and alcohol breaches. The trailer for Horsepower can be viewed below.

 

 

Stallions on a Roll

Shadwell's Muhaarar (GB) was represented by Group/Grade 2 winners on each side of the Atlantic last week. On Thursday, Polly Pott (GB) made sure Harry Dunlop's training career will go out with a bang by landing her fourth consecutive win on her first outing in stakes company when winning the G2 May Hill S. at Doncaster. 

Over at Kentucky Downs, Bran (Fr) won the GII Fanduel Turf Sprint S. Not only was the John Sadler trainee bred in France by Lordship Stud but she was ridden to victory by French Classic-winning jockey Vincent Cheminaud, who is now based in America. 

Ballylinch Stud's Lope De Vega was another stallion to exhibit his versatility on Sunday when represented at Longchamp by G1 Prix Vermeille winner Sweet Lady (Fr) over 1m4f and also by the 5f winner Berneuil (Ire), who landed the G3 Prix du Petit Couvert. Both horses are out of mares by Dansili (GB), which is a cross that has also worked well to produce Grade I winner Capla Temptress (Ire), Group 2 winner Cadillac (Ire), and the dual Group 1 runner-up and Group 3 winner Lope Y Fernandez (Ire).

Lope De Vega has been on a roll of late, with his daughter Dreamloper (Ire) winning the previous weekend's G1 Prix du Moulin to add to her G1 Prix d'Ispahan success, and the aforementioned Duke De Sessa winning a Group 3 on Saturday at Leopardstown. 

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