Seven Days: Something Special 

Folgaria flies the flag for Italy with her Classic trial win at Newbury | Racingfotos

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A person whose job it is to promote horse racing was, rather disappointingly, being sniffy about the Craven meeting on social media last week. I understand that some people don't like racing at the Rowley Mile and, yes, last Tuesday in particular was a little challenging on the weather front. But if you're a Flat racing person, and particularly one who is being paid to tell other people that they should come racing, then you really should appreciate all that is wonderful about these weeks of Classic trials across Europe. They may not offer racecourses packed full of people, but they are packed full of clues for those days, not far off now, when the crowds will come and another little piece of racing history will be consigned to the books. In short, they matter. 

It warmed up incrementally in Newmarket last week from the diabolical conditions faced by the breezers for the Tattersalls Craven Sale on Monday morning. By Wednesday we were down to just seven layers of clothing. I went to the old wooden fence by the stands' rail to watch the Nell Gwyn and stood alongside two senior gentlemen with their members' badges pinned to their coats.

“Might see something special here, you never know,” one said to the other. Quite.

Is Pretty Crystal (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}) pretty special? She was certainly pretty game in batting away the favourite and another daughter of Dubawi, Dance Sequence (GB) to win the Nell Gwyn. And, as long as she is supplemented for the 1,000 Guineas,  at least her trainer Richard Fahey and owner Sheikh Rashid Dalmook Al Maktoum know now that she acts through Newmarket's famous Dip that has been the undoing of so many youngsters.

Over at Newbury on Saturday Folgaria (Ire) (Due Diligence) continued her unbeaten run with victory on her first start outside Italy. Champion two-year-old in her former home nation, the G3 Fred Darling winner had claimed four stakes races last season, including the G2 Premio Dormello for Italy's champion trainer Stefano Botti, who then handed her over to his brother Marco in Newmarket. 

This was another big step forward for the filly, who races for Maurizio Dainotto's Scuderia Sagam and is entered for the Poule d'Essai des Pouliches. Marco Botti has done well over the years for his compatriots who have decided to have a horse in training in England, and won last year's G2 Yorkshire Cup with Scuderia La Tesa's Giavellotto (Ire) (Mastercraftsman [Ire}). The homebred five-year-old is entered to defend his crown on May 17.

Folgaria's breeder Turlough Boylan also bred her dam, Full Moon Fever (Ire) (Azamour {Ire}). He purchased her granddam Hasaiyda (Ire) (Hector Protector) from the Aga Khan Studs for €20,000 when carrying to Azamour. That foal became Glorious Protector (Ire), a Listed winner for Ed Walker, and Full Moon Fever followed her brother to the same stable after SackvilleDonald bought her as a yearling for €12,000. She won two races for Walker and eventually ended up at Goffs as a nine-year-old mare in 2020, where Boylan bought her back through Eamonn Reilly of BBA Ireland for just €2,000. Considering that the filly she was carrying at the time is now the six-time winner and Classic prospect Folgaria, that looks to have been a sound bit of business. The mare was covered last year by Invincible Army (Ire).

Folgaria's victory came on an emotional day for the Botti stable and for many in Italian racing as Stefano Cherchi was laid to rest in Sardinia. A further memorial service for the young jockey takes place in Newmarket this coming Sunday, April 28, at 12 noon at Our Lady Immaculate and Saint Etheldreda Church.

Hot in Both Hemispheres

It only seems a minute ago that the big-striding Phoenix Of Spain (Ire) beat Too Darn Hot (GB) in the Irish 2,000 Guineas and now both horses are making their mark in the second-crop sires' table.

Phoenix Of Spain's star performer to date has been Haatem (Ire), the winner of the G2 Vintage S. who looked highly impressive when giving trainer Richard Hannon his third victory in the G3 Craven S. on Thursday after Toormore (Ire) in 2014 and Kool Kompany (Ire) a year later.

Two years after Cachet (Ire) (Aclaim {Ire}) won the 1,000 Guineas her breeder John Bourke of Hyde Park Stud now has a serious chance to add the 2,000 Guineas to his collection as the breeder of Haatem.

The Hannon stable is rolling along in fine form and enjoyed a treble at Newbury on Friday, which included the Derby entrant Voyage (GB), who struck at 28/1 on debut for Julie Wood. The son of Golden Horn (GB) had been selected by his stalwart owner as a foal for 40,000gns and was another at Newbury to have an Italian connection as he was co-bred by the Botti family's Razza del Velino. Voyage is now around 33/1 for Epsom after his taking win in the Darley Novice S. and, though his first two dams are unraced, there is plenty to recommend him for a shot at the Classic on the first weekend of June. For a start his sire Golden Horn won the Derby in 2015 en route to becoming Horse of the Year, and so did the sires of two of his first three dams: Galileo (Ire) and Charlottown (GB). 

On Sunday Voyage's family was given a further boost when Mr Fisk (Arrogate) won the GIII Californian S. at Santa Anita. The four-year-old is out of Voyage's Listed-winning half-sister Plein Air (Ire) (Manduro {Ger}), who was also fourth in the G1 Premio Lydia Tesio for Stefano Botti before switching to the stable of Bob Baffert, who now trains her first foal, Mr Fisk.

Darley's Too Darn Hot has Classic prospects left, right and centre, including Wood's Greenham fourth Son (GB) – yet another with an Italian breeder behind him in Scuderia Blueberry. Warming up in racecourse gallops in the last week were Too Darn Hot's Fallen Angel (GB) and Alyanaabi (Ire), while Darnation (Ire), Boiling Point (Ire) and Native Approach (GB) are also among his Guineas entries.

The son of Dubawi is currently leading the first-season sires' table in Australia with eight winners and he notched his second Group 1 winner over the weekend when Godolphin's Broadsiding (Aus) landed the Champagne S. at Randwick for James Cummings. 

Study Of Man Building on Good Start

Another second-crop sire whose profile continues to rise is the 2018 Prix du Jockey Club winner Study Of Man (Ire). A particularly good week for the Lanwades stallion included Sunday's Listed Prix Caravelle winner Birthe (Ire), who became the first black-type winner for her Finnish-born trainer Laura Vanska. Birthe will take aim next at the G2 Prix Saint-Alary on France's Guineas weekend, and also holds an entry for the G1 Prix de Diane. 

At Newmarket, Juddmonte's Kalpana (GB) streaked to victory by 10 lengths in a Class 3 handicap for Andrew Balding and will surely be seen next in stakes company, while Sons And Lovers (GB), owned by Hugo Morriss in partnership with breeder Kirsten Rausing, looked to be learning with every stride he took in the Craven S., in which he finished third for Jane Chapple-Hyam.

The icing on the cake for Rausing was the victory of Sinology (GB) at Newbury on Friday. The daughter of Study Of Man and Group 1 winner Madame Chiang (GB) is another for the notebook, and became the fifth winner from five foals for her dam. 

With Madame Chiang being by the late Lanwades stallion Archipenko, a son of Kingmambo, Sinology's pedigree features inbreeding to not one but two superior mares: Miesque, a granddam of both Study Of Man and Archipenko, and Special, who is Archipenko's other granddam through her daughter Bound, as well as being a granddam of Miesque. 

Fabre's Flyers

Andre Fabre may have been out of luck with his three runners at Newmarket last week but the French trainer has unleashed some smart-looking three-year-olds at home of late, with the colts Will Scarlet (GB) (Masar {Ire}) and Ocean Viking (GB) (Farhh {GB}) and fillies Rock'n Swing (GB) (Camelot {GB}) and Montemesola (Fr) (Kingman {GB}) all winning for Godolphin, while Hamavi (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}) continued a great spring for the Wertheimers.

Perhaps most encouraging of all was the victory of Sajir (Ire) in the G3 Prix Sigy. The colt races for his breeder Prince AA Faisal, who also raced his sire Make Believe (GB) and bred that stallion's most famous son to date, Mishriff (Ire). It has been a good month in France for Make Believe, whose daughter Making Dreams (Ire) won the G3 Prix Penelope for Karl Burke. Meanwhile, five of Make Believe's last eight runners in Britain have all won, including at Newbury on Saturday where Jack Channon's Metal Merchant (Ire) lifted the Spring Cup.

Make Believe's fellow Ballylinch Stud resident Lope De Vega (Ire) is also enjoying a decent run and has been represented by four Group/Graded winners so far this year. The most recent of those was Saturday's GII Elkhorn S. victor Silver Knott (GB), one of a dozen horses currently stabled in America for Charlie Appleby.

Lope De Vega also features as the damsire of the aforementioned stakes winner Birthe.

Three Times Three

The last word must go to the mighty mare Reem Three (GB) (Mark Of Esteem {Ire}), who was represented by her ninth winner from nine runners when Bolsena (Ire) (Kingman {GB}) landed a good fillies' maiden at Newmarket last Wednesday for her owner-breeder Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum and Kevin Ryan. 

The star of Ryan's stable last season was Reem Three's G1 Queen Anne-winning son Triple Time (GB) (Frankel {GB}), who is now midway through covering his first full book of mares at Darley's Dalham Hall Stud. He is one of seven black-type earners for his dam, along with fellow Group 1 winner Ajman Princess (Ire) (Teofilo {Ire}). 

Following Bolsena, the 21-year-old mare has a Night Of Thunder (Ire) two-year-old named Triple Tempest (GB) and a Pinatubo (Ire) yearling filly who was born last May.

 

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