The Weekly Wrap: Flaming June

Magic Attitude wins the Prix Vanteaux | Scoop Dyga


Setting aside the disappointment that most of us won't actually be able to attend race meetings, June is promising to be a stellar month of action after a prolonged spell of inactivity.

France has eased us back into the idea of being able to watch live European racing with a week of informative meetings, including a number of trials and juvenile contests, and Ireland was given a boost by government on Friday when it was confirmed that racing could begin again on June 8. In theory, British racing will start a week before that, and while the noises oft appear to be encouraging, that has yet to be confirmed.

Working on the assumption that it will go ahead, as the BHA race planners have been doing, the batting order for major races in Britain, Ireland and France currently runs like this:

  • June 1: Poule d'Essai des Poulains & Poule d'Essai des Pouliches, ParisLongchamp
  • June 5: Coronation Cup, Newmarket
  • June 6: 2000 Guineas, Newmarket
  • June 7: 1000 Guineas, Newmarket
  • June 12: Irish 2000 Guineas, The Curragh
  • June 13: Irish 1000 Guineas, The Curragh
  • June 16-20: Royal Ascot
  • June 27: Irish Derby, The Curragh
  • July 4: Derby & Oaks, Epsom
  • July 5: Eclipse, Sandown
  • July 5: Prix du Jockey Club & Prix de Diane, Chantilly

The BHA has clarified that international runners will be allowed to take part in the three Group 1 races in June, while HRI is allowing the same for all Group 1 and Group 2 contests. The sticking point for this for runners going either way will be the mandatory 14-day quarantine for people arriving in Ireland. According to current guidelines, travellers between France and England will have to undertake a fortnight's quarantine on either side of the Channel, but when foreign runners will be allowed to compete in France is still unknown. Before the resumption of French racing on May 11, France Galop president Edouard de Rothschild had indicated that it would from June 1 but, speaking on Sky Sports Racing on Monday, chief executive Olivier Delloye conceded that, despite both French Guineas being scheduled to run on June 1, it remains unclear whether those races will be strictly domestic affairs.

He said, “It's not really in our hands. It's more the government's decision than France Galop's, but of course we would love to see our races open again, especially at the top end of the Pattern programme. It's still undecided as yet but we hope to be able to reopen the races during the month of June but I can't say exactly when that will happen today.”

So far, Andre Fabre has stated his intent to run his recent German import Alson (Ger) (Areion {Ger}) in the 2000 Guineas, and it seems unthinkable that the Newmarket Classics would take place without any runners from Ballydoyle.

Since 1998, Aidan O'Brien has won the 2000 Guineas on ten occasions and the 1000 Guineas five times. Even though this year's races look set to be staged on the weekend before Irish racing resumes, readiness should not be a problem for an O'Brien starter. In the last five years Gleneagles (Ire), Churchill (Ire), Saxon Warrior (Jpn) and Magna Grecia (Ire) have all won the 2000 Guineas on their first start of the season, and of the trainer's three fillies to win the 1000 Guineas during that time, it was the same case for Minding (Ire) and Hermosa (Ire), with only Winter (Ire) breaking the pattern by having one prep run before she arrived in England.

Causing greater consternation, in Britain at least, is the short run in to the 2-year-old races at Royal Ascot. Ordinarily, the G2 Coventry S. would take place on the first day of the meeting. There are 14 2-year-old races planned for the first eight days of racing in Britain and realistically, any trainer harbouring hopes of running at Ascot will not want to run a 2-year-old in the week immediately preceding the meeting. Those juvenile races have been given the priority to divide, at the expense of 3-year-old maidens and handicaps, but even then, in the rush for many to get to Ascot, it is feared that demand for places will be huge. The BHA's introduction of a balloting system whereby trainers with a high number of previous Ascot juvenile runners and/or success at the meeting are given the chance to nominate certain horses to be given priority in the ballot has, understandably, ruffled feathers.

Interviewed on Luck On Sunday last weekend, Ascot's director of racing and communications Nick Smith said, “The plan at the moment is to run all the races but the order of running may change quite a bit.”

He also didn't discount the notion of the meeting including runners trained in America by Wesley Ward, who has been a regular visitor to Ascot in recent years. Smith added, “That's feasible at the moment. There's no reason that he should be treated any differently than someone coming from, say, France. It's complicated but we are not standing in the way. We want [international runners] here but I think this is a year to step back from being proactively involved in making it happen.”

With the Queen absent, along with all the accompanying hoopla of parades, picnics and preening, the meeting will be so markedly different from Ascot as we know it that there is surely an argument to be made for staging the six black-type juvenile races later in the season. It makes sense for the progression of young racehorses, and it avoids bad feeling among owners and trainers.

Pariente's Good Run Continues
Few people can have been more pleased with the first week of post-confinement racing in France than Guy Pariente. As noted in last week's wrap, the owner of Haras de Colleville, along with its resident stallions Kendargent (Fr), Galiway (GB) and the homebred Goken (Fr), claimed the first group race of the resumption when Batwan (Fr) (Kendargent {Fr}) sprinted to glory in the G3 Prix de Saint-Georges.

The good start continued when freshman sire Goken notched his first winner with one of his first two runners, Livachope (Fr), at Chantilly. That came 24 hours after Goken's 3-year-old half-brother Hurricane Cloud (GB) (Frankel {GB}) posted an impressive debut at Saint-Cloud, sparking a double in Pariente's colours which included another homebred debutant, Sealiway (Fr) (Galiway {GB}).

On Sunday, Tortola (Fr) gave Goken another push in the fledgling first-season sires' championship when becoming his second winner at La Teste de Buch. The 8-year-old son of Kendargent has now had nine runners for two winners and two placed finishers.

These are very early days but the only other contemporary of Goken to have posted a winner this season is the Haras de Bonneval resident Dariyan (Fr), whose daughter Princesse De Saba (Fr) became his first winner at Lyon-Parilly on Friday.

Guy Pariente's recent success has more than a few ties to Alain Chopard's Haras des Faunes near Bordeaux. Chopard is the breeder of Goken's dam Gooseley Chope (Fr), a daughter of the late Haras des Faunes resident Indian Rocket (GB). A selection of that stallion's daughters have shown some affinity with Kendargent, and the same cross is responsible for Batwan. Chopard is also the owner-breeder of Goken's first winner, Livachope, and there was further success for the extended family on Sunday when Gooseley Chope's half-brother Galop Chop (Fr) won on debut at La Teste. The 2-year-old is from the second French-conceived crop of the GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner Vale Of York (Ire), who was recruited to Chopard's stallion barn from Kildangan Stud in 2016.

Rouget's Fillies In The Pink
With so few trials able to be staged, this identity of this year's Classic winners is likely to be even more of a guessing game than ever but there were at least some early clues to be found in France last week.

One of the most taking, both on performance and pedigree, was Sheikh Hamdan's Raabihah. Like the owner-breeder's most recent Oaks victrix Taghrooda (Ire), Raabihah is a daughter to Derby winner Sea The Stars (Ire), and there are further strong Classic claims in her background as her grandam Eswarah (GB) (Unfuwain) and great grandam Midway Lady (Alleged) both won the Oaks.

Raabihah, trained by Jean Claude-Rouget, is now one of the leading fancies for the Prix de Diane at Chantilly on July 5, but she has some competition, in the betting at least, from her stable-mate Simeen (Fr). The Lope De Vega (Ire) filly is the first foal of the Aga Khan's Samadrisa (Ire) (Oasis Dream {GB}), whose Prix de Diane-winning half-sister Sarafina (Ire) (Refuse To Bend {Ire}) could also be represented in this year's Classics by her daughter Savarin (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn}), the winner of last year's G3 Prix d'Aumale for owner Masaaki Matsushima and Andre Fabre.

French Sires Blazing A Trail
The French-based trio of Le Havre (Ire), Kendargent (Fr) and Siyouni (Fr) lead the European sires' table as the season splutters into belated action. Another French stallion, Wootton Bassett (GB), has also made a decent start to the year, with three black-type winners to date in The Summit (Fr), Wooded (Ire) and Waltham (Fr).

When this trio of 3-year-olds was conceived in 2016, Wootton Bassett was still standing for his introductory fee of €6,000. Later that year, his first-crop son Almanzor (Fr) romped through the season, winning three Group 1 races, and the following year his sire's fee was raised to €20,000 before being doubled to his current price of €40,000 in 2019.

Al Shaqab Racing's Wooded, who brought up a pair of Group 3 victories for his sire in the space of three days when easily winning the Prix Texanita, is another exciting graduate for the Swiss breeding syndicate Gestüt Zur Küste, which also bred 2018 Poule d'Essai des Pouliches winner Teppal (Fr) (Camacho {GB}). Wooded's full-brother Beat Le Bon was also a useful performer for Richard Hannon, winning four races and finishing runner-up in the listed Two Year Old Trophy at Redcar.

Yoshidas In Classic Picture
While Teruya Yoshida's Shadai Farm could be represented as breeder in the French Classics by the aforementioned Savarin, so could his brother Katsumi Yoshida of Northern Farm via Magic Attitude (GB) (Galileo {Ire}). Trained by Fabrice Chappet for a syndicate which includes Haras d'Etreham and Haras de Saubouas, Magic Attitude is out of Margot Did (GB) (Exceed And Excel {Aus}), who was bought for just 10,000gns at the Guineas Breeze-up Sale by Richard Frisby the year before she won the G1 Nunthorpe S. Her daughter was unsold at €850,000 when offered by Etreham at the Arqana August Yearling Sale but won the G3 Prix Vanteaux in some style from the favourite Emoji (Ger) (Soldier Hollow {GB}).

The success of Galileo with Danehill mares has of course produced such luminaries as Frankel (GB), Teofilo (Ire), Highland Reel (Ire) and Intello (Ger), while the Galileo cross with Danehill's son Exceed And Excel, on which Magic Attitude is bred, was also seen in last year's Derby winner Anthony Van Dyck (Ire).



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