The Weekly Wrap: Classic Revival

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Mickael Barzalona celebrates victory for Victor Ludorum | Scoop Dyga

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Victor Ludorum. With such a name should we ever have doubted him? Fifteen years after his late sire Shamardal blazed to glory in the Poule d’Essai des Poulains for the first half of his own Classic double, Victor Ludorum (Ire) set up a double of a different kind at Deauville on Monday, passing the Godolphin baton to his fellow colour-bearer and last year’s champion juvenile Pinatubo (Ire) to attempt to complete a posthumous Classic double for Shamardal within a week.

Should the much lauded Pinatubo resurface in the manner which we all hope he will, the teams at Godolphin’s various European stables will certainly agree with Meatloaf that two out of three ain’t bad. And there is of course ample time yet, particularly in light of the Flat season extending into December, for the currently sidelined Earthlight (Ire) to return and continue the story of Shamardal’s holy trinity of Group 1-winning juvenile colts of last season.

For Godolphin’s breeding empire the Classic notch on Victor Ludorum’s belt is another example of how superior mares are every bit as notable as stallions when it comes to inbreeding. In the case of the operation’s 2018 Derby winner Masar (GB) (New Approach {Ire}), it was Urban Sea (GB) (Miswaki) who popped up twice in the third and fourth generations, through his paternal grandsire Galileo (Ire) and great grandam Melikah (Ire). In Victor Ludorum we find Helen Street (Ire) (Troy {GB}) repeated, through her daughters Helsinki (GB) (Machiavellian) and Historian (Ire) (Pennekamp), the colt’s two grandams. Further reflection on Victor Ludorum’s pedigree can be found in Andrew Caulfield’s Insights column for TDN following his victory in the G1 Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere last season.

It is a family which, inherited from Ballymacoll Stud with the private purchase of Irish Oaks winner Helen Street, has given Sheikh Mohammed much cause for celebration, not least through Dubai World Cup winner and successful stallion Street Cry (Ire). The Brilliant Stable-bred Shamardal returned to the fold after being bought as a yearling by the late Sheikh Maktoum’s Gainsborough Stud Management. His legacy as a stallion, despite his premature demise in April, is already impressive but is clearly still only half-written.

Timing Is Everything
On the face of it, when the 51-rated maiden Venetias Dream (Ire) (Librettist) went through the Tattersalls February Sale of 2013, her sale to Libyan buyer Reda Tuhami for 1,000gns would have seemed reasonable, despite the fact that she had some pretty fancy relations under her second and third dams. The filly went off to Libya and won a couple of races but in the meantime her half-sister’s son Charm Spirit (Ire) rose to prominence as a treble Group 1-winning miler.

Venetias Dream was tracked down in Libya by a client of Barton Stud, who brought her back to Newmarket, sent her briefly to France to be covered by the then-rising star of the French stallion ranks, Siyouni (Fr), and then returned her to Tattersalls for the 2016 December Sale. It was here that French agent Marc-Antoine Berghgracht picked her up for 80,000gns, carrying the foal that would become Haras du Logis Saint Germain’s homebred Poule d’Essai des Pouliches winner Dream And Do (Fr).

“Our client had tracked her down after Charm Spirit’s success and Kevin Needham of BBA Shipping brought her back from Libya for us,” said Tom Blain, manager of Barton Stud.

“We put her in foal to Siyouni when he wasn’t nearly as expensive as he is now. She turned into the most lovely mare. She just turned out her left fore and she probably would have made a lot more if she hadn’t done that, but she was well bought by MAB Agency.”

No buyer was found when Dream And Do was offered by her breeder as a yearling at Arqana’s August Sale, and she was bought back for €80,000. Her worth, as Siyouni’s fourth Classic winner following Ervedya (Fr), Laurens (Fr) and Sottsass (Fr), is now considerably greater than that, especially considering the depth of her pedigree. Her grandam Somfas (What A Pleasure) is a half-sister to the influential champion racemare Fanfreluche (Can), ancestress of such luminaries as Bint Allayl (GB), Encosta De Lago (Aus), Flying Spur (Aus) and Holy Roman Emperor (Ire).

Some You Win
Dream And Do’s victory by a nose over Speak Of The Devil (Fr) (Wootton Bassett {GB}) will have been agonising for the connections of the runner-up as well as for Haras d’Etreham, which stands her sire and his champion son Almanzor (Fr).

Fabrice Chappet trains both Speak Of The Devil and the third-placed Mageva (Fr), another daughter of Wootton Bassett, who knocked loudly on Classic doors on Monday as he is also the sire of the runner-up in the Poule d’Essai des Poulains, The Summit (Fr).

There will be more big days in the sun for Wootton Bassett, just as there will for Chappet, who had his major breakthrough with his first Group 1 winner, Precieuse (Ire) (Tamayuz {GB}), who also became his first Classic winner when landing the Poule d’Essai des Pouliches in 2017.

On Monday, it was a similar story for Dream And Do’s trainer, Frederic Rossi, who now finds himself at the top of the French trainers’ list ahead of Andre Fabre and Jean-Claude Rouget.

While operating a satellite stable in Chantilly, Rossi has his main base in south-east training centre of Calas, between Marseille and Aix-en-Provence. He’s clearly not short of ammunition. On Monday alone, Rossi sent out 14 runners at Deauville and his local track Salon-de-Provence, where juvenile Takamaka (Fr) (Silver Frost {Fr}) and Lady Minx (GB) (Planteur {Ire}) also returned as winners.

An important recent winner for the trainer may well turn out to be Swetty Beauty (Fr) (Stormy River {Fr}), whose victory on May 23 was the first for her owner, the Ligue 1 footballer M’Baye Niang, who was so thrilled by the filly’s success that he then bought the top lot at the Osarus Breeze-up Sale last week. That colt, by Intello (Ger), is also heading to Rossi.

Oppenheimer’s Darlings
When speaking to TDN last month, Anthony Oppenheimer admitted that, despite all his recent success with Golden Horn (GB), Cracksman (GB) and Star Catcher (GB), winning the Oaks is still very much top of his wish list. And that wish may not be too far from being granted, judging by the 3-year-old debut of the owner-breeder’s Frankly Darling (GB), who strode out in the lavish style reminiscent of her sire Frankel (GB) to break her maiden on Monday.

The filly, whose dam Hidden Hope (GB) (Daylami {Ire}) is a half-sister to Golden Horn’s dam Fleche d’Or (GB) (Dubai Destination), ran just once at two when second in a Yarmouth maiden, but laid down a convincing Classic marker at Newcastle with her five-length success over some well-bred rivals.

Frankly Darling is not the sole Oaks hope for Oppenheimer, however, as he also has Sunday’s Pretty Polly entrant Domino Darling (GB) to look forward to, and she, as a first-crop daughter of Golden Horn, would be a particularly poignant Classic victrix for Hascombe & Valiant Studs.

Oppenheimer also has a select team of older horses still in training comprising the Irish Oaks winner Star Catcher (Ire) (Sea The Stars {Ire}), Group 2 winner Dame Malliot (GB) (Champs Elysees {GB}), and Frankly Darling’s half-brother First In Line (GB) (New Approach {GB}), who is entered for the listed Buckhounds S. at Newmarket on Sunday.

Stealing Thunder
Few freshman sires have achieved such a consistent strike-rate as last year’s champion in this division, Night Of Thunder (Ire). After claiming the European title, the son of Dubawi (Ire) is having an equally exciting first season with his Australian debutants and now has eight winners from just 13 runners, including two stakes winners. He is currently headed in prize-money earnings by Coolmore’s Pride Of Dubai (Aus) and Night Of Thunder’s run in Australia will likely be short-lived as he shuttled for one season only, leaving just 53 foals.

Just as Night Of Thunder has boosted the sire-of-sires claims of Dubawi, in these early days of the delayed Flat season, French-based Goken (Fr) is making a bold bid to do a similar PR job for his sire and fellow Haras de Colleville resident Kendargent (Fr).

Guy Pariente’s dual Group 3-winning sprinter has just 49 named foals from his first crop but a group of them has been fast out of the gates. Goken has been represented by five winners from his 14 runners to date, the most impressive performance having been made by Monday’s facile Deauville winner Axdavali (Fr), trained by Yann Barberot.

Cup To Savour
On what should have been the Derby weekend, Newmarket hosts not just the belated QIPCO Guineas on Saturday and Sunday but also, on Friday, the Coronation Cup, on loan from Epsom for just the third time in the race’s history.

Sponsored this year by Sam Haggas’s Hurworth Bloodstock, the first Group 1 of the British season has drawn a mouthwatering line-up. The seven-strong field includes last year’s winner Defoe (Ire) (Dalakhani {Ire}), champion stayer Stradivarius (Ire) (Sea The Stars {Ire}), who will be returning to a mile and a half for the first time in three years, 2019 Derby winner Anthony Van Dyck (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) and Godolphin’s Ghaiyyath (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}). An intriguing runner is the former German campaigner Alounak (Fr) (Camelot {GB}), who was bought during the winter by King Power Racing as a potential Melbourne Cup horse and is now with Andrew Balding, having previously been trained by Waldemar Hickst for Darius Racing.

Tassmanian Double
When Danish owner-breeders Dean and Mette Olsen won the listed Lanwades Stud S. in Norway in 2015 with homebred Transsylvania (Den) (Le Havre {Ire}), part of their prize was a nomination to the Lanwades Stud resident Sir Percy (GB). Four years later it is the gift that keeps on giving, as Transsylvania’s first foal by the 2006 Derby winner, Tassmania (Den), has now won her last three starts in May, including notching a Classic double for the Olsens in the Danish 1000 Guineas on May 11 and the 2000 Guineas last Saturday.

Tassmania’s trainer, the former jockey Paul Fitzsimons, previously trained in Lambourn and is now based at Jagersro in Sweden.

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