Emma Berry

The Weekly Wrap: Happy and Glorious

On each day of Royal Ascot, there was at least one result truly to savour, if not more. Moreover, the meeting in its entirety felt at last like a return to some sort of normality. Even the British weather played its typically quirky part: boiling one day, rain of biblical proportions the next. One regrettable absence was the buzz of the crowd. The maximum number of 12,000 attendees per day is of course low by usual standards. With the late announcement that even this number would be permitted, not to...

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The Weekly Wrap: Happy Days Are Here Again 

To an extent, when Coolmore wins two of the weekend's premier Classics in Europe and Godolphin wins another, it feels like we are harking back to the glory days around the turn of the century, when the battle of the superpowers was epitomised by those back-to-back duels between Galileo (Ire) and Fantastic Light in the 'King George' and Irish Champion Stakes. Honours even. And it was honours even at Epsom, with the dazzling victory of Ballydoyle's Snowfall (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn}) in the Cazoo Oaks, followed by the satisfying success...

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The Weekly Wrap: Reynier Rules

Yes, it's Derby week in Epsom and Chantilly, and it's all about the Classic generation, but as we briefly cast our minds back over the past seven days, let's hear it for the oldies. At ParisLongchamp on Sunday, the 6-year-olds Skalleti (Fr) (Kendargent {Fr}) and Marianafoot (Fr) (Footstepsinthesand {GB}) pulled off a group-race double on a stellar weekend for owner Jean-Claude Seroul and trainer Jerome Reynier, while their younger stable-mate Elusive Foot (Ire) (Footstepsinthesand {GB}) brought up a memorable treble in the Quinté. These followed Saturday's listed Derby du Medoc...

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The Weekly Wrap: Classics, Classics Everywhere 

It seems harsh, when the British and Irish Classics have so far have been split two apiece between Jim Bolger and Aidan O'Brien, to suggest that this season is all about Bolger. But, let's face it, it is.  Plenty has been written about Poetic Flare (Ire) (Dawn Approach {Ire}) and Mac Swiney (Ire) (New Approach {Ire}) and the fact that both sides of their families are very much ingrained in the Bolger breeding and training academy. What is equally admirable, especially in the case of Mac Swiney, is the fact...

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The Weekly Wrap: Coming Of Age

In February, the inevitable announcement came that Pivotal (GB) was to be pensioned at Cheveley Park Stud at the age of 28. David and Patricia Thompson's homebred son of Polar Falcon has been one of the great British breeding stories of the last few decades and the sturdy chestnut has been a great friend to small and major breeders alike through his magnificent stud innings.  As he continues his retirement, so does his legacy gain momentum. A few months before Pivotal was retired, his son Siyouni (Fr) had been crowned...

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The Weekly Wrap: Trials And Tribulation

Is the Derby picture clearer or murkier after the last week? We probably can't say for sure until after Thursday's Dante S., which may or may not feature Ballydoyle's erstwhile favoured one High Definition (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}). At the moment, of those currently at 20/1 or shorter in the betting, there's certainly the potential for there to be a good story attached to the winner and, let's face it, the great old race in its first year of Cazoo sponsorship, certainly could do with that. Who wouldn't love to see...

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The Weekly Wrap: Times Are A-Changin'

It's Craven week, followed by Greenham weekend, both coming on the back of some interesting Classic trials in Ireland and France. It is, as some people prefer to say in midwinter, the most wonderful time of the year.  There's no doubt, however, that the biggest racing story of the year has already happened. However much she wants to play down the gender card, Rachael Blackmore winning the Grand National aboard Minella Times (Ire) (Oscar {Ire}) was huge. In fact, Saturday was a big day on both sides for the world...

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The Weekly Wrap: Fools Rush In
The Weekly Wrap: Fools Rush In

If there was a lesson to be learned in the last week, it is not to issue press releases on April Fool's Day. The great news that the Derby has a new multi-year sponsor, after being dropped by Investec last year as the pandemic took hold, was sidetracked by its release date. It can be hard to tell real news from fake news these days but Cazoo, an online car dealership with an amusing name but serious credentials, is indeed the new sponsor of the 'Derby festival' (if we must—I...

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The Weekly Wrap: Old Guard, New Blood

When we wrapped up last Flat season, the lofty assumption was that by the start of this new one we would be back to some semblance of normality. How wrong could we have been? After a brutal winter, the pandemic is only now easing to the point where a limited number of owners were permitted to attend racecourses in England and Scotland from yesterday (Monday).  There are not too many areas within racing in which Britain is ahead of Ireland or France—witness the Irish domination of the Cheltenham Festival and...

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Leon Penate Hoping To Reign For Spain

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia—At the inaugural Saudi Cup meeting 12 months ago, the International Jockeys' Challenge broke new ground in allowing female jockeys to compete against their male counterparts. Hollie Doyle will notch another milestone on Saturday when she becomes the first female to ride in the Saudi Cup aboard Extra Elusive (GB), fulfilling her obligation as the retained rider for Arab owner Imad Al Sagar. That spirit of inclusivity has been extended further this year by the introduction of the Al Rajhi Bank Saudi International Handicap. Run over 2,100 metres...

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U.S. Quintet Tunes Up For Saudi Cup

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia—A number of trainers with horses engaged in Saturday's Saudi Cup have been unable to travel but their horses and exercise riders have shipped in, mostly over last weekend, for the second running of the $20 million contest at King Abdulaziz Racecourse. The 14-strong field includes two locally-trained horses, Great Scot (GB) (Requinto {Ire}) and Alzahzaah (KSA) (Worldly), who face competition from Britain, Japan and Bahrain as well as five runners from the United States. For most of the American contingent, stronger work had taken place on the...

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Classic Hero Mishriff Returns To Riyadh

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia—The world is a much different place 12 months on from the inaugural Saudi Cup meeting when the full horror of the Coronavirus crisis was only beginning to become apparent. So many of racing's key events have been disrupted since then and, with many countries still in lockdown or under severe travel restrictions, it is no small wonder that this year's meeting is able to proceed, even though the attendance will be markedly reduced from last year. Eschewing the obvious travel complications, a posse of 27 European-trained horses...

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