Seven Days

Seven Days: Juveniles in the Spotlight

With the leaves on the turn and rugs back on the horses after the hottest summer in many a year, it may feel as though we are coming to the end of the season but by juvenile Group 1 contests in Europe we are really only halfway through. So far, No Nay Never's sons Little Big Bear (Ire) and Blackbeard (Ire) (No Nay Never), both trained by Aidan O'Brien, have claimed three between them - the Phoenix S., Prix Morny and Middle Park S., while the Joseph O'Brien-trained Al Riffa...

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Seven Days: Bahrain's Burgeoning Success

It has been another banner week for the breeze-up sector, not to mention the burgeoning Bahraini participation in European racing.  Following Classic victories for Cachet (Ire), Native Trail (GB) and Eldar Eldarov (GB), more graduates of the two-year-old sales scene lifted one of last weekend's major races in Britain, the G2 Mill Reef Stakes, and also the G3 Stockholm Cup.  Sakheer (Ire) (Zoffany {Ire}) was imperious in the Mill Reef, and was the standout in a magnificent seven winners on Saturday for Roger Varian, which also included landing a Group...

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Seven Days: Overwhelming

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...

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Seven Days: Triumph and Despair

There is a charming tradition for the large crowd at Baden-Baden races to applaud the runners as the field passes the post for the first time, never mind in the closing stages. For Sunday's racegoers, many of whom arrived with well-behaved dogs and sometimes less well-behaved children, the excitement level reached near-fever pitch as Frankie Dettori urged home German racing's current hero, Torquator Tasso (Ger). At the post the pair went down by just a head to the winner Mendocino (Ger), another son of Adlerflug (Ger) ridden by the man...

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Seven Days: Perfect News For Haggas

Few, if any, trainers have been in more consistent form this season than William Haggas, who now finds himself atop the table in Britain, with a strike-rate of 27% for the season. His earnings of £4,611,340 at the time of writing place him narrowly ahead of reigning champion Charlie Appleby. Top of the Somerville Lodge list of horses, and the earner of roughly a third of the yard's prize-money this year, is of course arguably the best horse in the world, Baaeed (GB), around whom continues to swirl uncertainty as...

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Seven Days: Out of the Frying Pan

Sir Mark Prescott will happily recount the story of the time he bashed his former pupil assistant William Haggas over the head with a frying pan for oversleeping. He will also reflect with pleasure on the great pride he felt when Haggas won the Derby in 1996 with Shaamit (Ire). When it comes to being a benevolent dictator, the Prescott pendulum has, by his own admission, swung more from dictatorship towards benevolence in recent years and, more than anyone involved in British racing, the master of Heath House cares deeply...

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Seven Days: Who Bears Wins

'Industry heavyweights' seems to have been the buzz phrase of the last few weeks, and we have a few of those in our long-running 12-to-follow competition organised by my husband every Flat and National Hunt season. Those competing this summer include several leading Irish stud masters, bloodstock agents, trainers, breeders, sales company executives, and the head of the Tote. And they are all currently trailing in the wake of an 11-year-old boy who was shrewd enough to include Little Big Bear in his list. What a selection that was. Mind...

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Seven Days: Homebred Heroes

Goodwood's trio of Group 1 races all went the way of owner-breeders, results that are both pleasing to see for the people who invest so much thought and money into the sport over generations, and which also highlight how hard it can be for prospective owners to get into horses at the top level. This season, ten European Classics have been won by homebreds, with two of those, Sammarco (Ire) (Camelot {GB}) and Mangoustine (Fr) (Dark Angel {Ire}), having been offered for sale by their breeders but bought back. Only...

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Seven Days: A Big, Big Moment

An unusually quiet Sunday on the European circuit allows a pause before the meeting that should only ever be referred to as Glorious Goodwood, and also some reflection on a truly special result at Ascot on Saturday afternoon. William Muir, a baby-faced veteran of the training ranks who now shares his licence with Chris Grassick, assessed the greatest win of his 30-year training career as "a big, big moment", and he deserves to enjoy that moment for days and weeks to come.  By now, the story of Pyledriver (GB) (Harbour...

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Seven Days: Much Ado About Frankie

Such a high-profile split, whether temporary or not, between Frankie Dettori and the John and Thady Gosden stable, has naturally dominated the headlines of the last week. Whatever one's thoughts of the events during and post-Royal Ascot, there was no mistaking the affection in which Dettori is held among racegoers as he was cheered back into the winner's enclosure on his sole ride in Britain since the Saturday of the royal meeting. He has nothing booked for this week either, but intriguingly Dettori has been snapped up by Charlie Appleby...

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Seven Days: A Coronation in Chantilly

Just when you thought a fully-charged Royal Ascot couldn't be topped, along came Hollie Doyle.  The royal meeting was sadly missing The Queen for all five days this year but, France's republican tendencies aside, there are few in the racing world who would deny that Doyle is now the queen of Chantilly after reaching yet another milestone to become the first woman to ride a Group 1 Classic winner in Europe. Her great triumph came aboard Nashwa (GB) (Frankel {GB}) for Imad Al Sagar, who was achieving an important landmark...

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Seven Days: Jubilation

With Britain en fete in the midst of the Platinum Jubilee festivities, the Oaks and Derby fell slap-bang in the middle of a four-day bank holiday and, despite the absence of Her Majesty the Queen at Epsom, the meeting still offered much cause for celebration. Sir Michael Stoute is never one to blow his own horn, though he is often heard humming on Newmarket Heath while watching his horses work. And as one of British racing's senior trainers, on the royal roster to boot, he was a most fitting winning...

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