The Weekly Wrap: Fools Rush In

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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 still prefer the word meeting) and it can only be seen as a welcome development, despite sniffiness in some quarters as to the company's line of business. 

Frankly, though, who cares? Of far greater concern is that racing regularly fails to attract big-name sponsors beyond the betting and breeding industries. Investec was an excellent partner for the Derby and was a huge loss to one of the most important meetings in Britain, as was Magners to the Cheltenham Gold Cup, which was run last month without a sponsor. 

The fact that Cazoo, which was recently floated on the New York Stock Exchange with a value of $7 billion, wishes to add racing to its sports sponsorship portfolio of two Premier League football clubs, the forthcoming Rugby League World Cup, cricket and snooker can only be good news. Only a fool would think otherwise.

The Look Of Eagles Again?

The Prix Tourbillon was named after the 1931 winner of the Prix du Jockey Club, and heading to that French Classic this year could well be this year's Tourbillon winner Baby Rider (Fr) (Gleneagles {Ire}). 

His family has already claimed a European Classic in recent years when Wings Of Eagles (Fr) Pour Moi {Ire}) delivered a 40/1 shock in the Derby in the hands of Padraig Beggy. Like that colt, Baby Rider was bred by Gilles and Aliette Forien of Haras de Montaigu from a half-sister to Wings Of Eagles. His listed-placed dam Gyrella (Ire) is among a growing band of good broodmare daughters of Oasis Dream (GB), who was advertised even more flamboyantly as a damsire over the weekend by Sir Dragonet (Ire) (Camelot {GB}) in the G1 Tancred S. in Sydney.

Trained by Pascal Bary, who has won the Jockey Club six times, most recently with Study Of Man (Ire) (Deep Impact {Jpn}), Baby Rider has done little to disappoint his owner Jean-Louis Bouchard to date. He was second to subsequent G3 Prix Thomas Bryon winner and Group 1-placed Normandy Bridge (Fr) (Le Havre {Ire}) on debut last September before winning his only other start last year at Fontainebleau.

Havana Good Time

Havana Gold (Ire) made a decent impression with his first crop of 2-year-olds back in 2017, when his 24 winners were led by Havana Grey (GB), winner of the G3 Molecomb S. and runner-up in the G1 Prix Morny at two before going on to land the G1 Flying Five the following season. 

As his support dwindled in ensuing years at stud—as is so often the case for young stallions—those crucial juvenile winners started to dry up. From 11 in 2018, Havana Gold had eight 2-year-old winners in 2019 and just one last year. The good news for his supporters is that he has already doubled that tally in 2021, from his only two juvenile runners of the nascent season and from his biggest crop of foals since year one.

Chipotle (GB) was fast out of the blocks for trainer Eve Johnson Houghton to win the Brocklesby S., and Anadora (GB) followed up by striking on her debut on Friday at Newcastle, where Havana Gold was also represented by 3-year-old novice winner Havagomecca (GB).

Twenty-four hours later, Crohanne (GB), bred on the same Havana Gold-Makfi (GB) cross as Chipotle, set a smart standard when winning the Prix Durban at Saint-Cloud for her young trainer Mario Baratti, a former assistant to Marco Botti and Roger Varian. The first five fillies who finished behind Crohanne all hold entries for the G1 Prix de Diane.

Havana Gold's sire Teofilo (Ire) enjoyed an outstanding year in 2020 with six Group 1 winners in France, Germany, Hong Kong and Australia. Perhaps this year it will be the turn of the son to rise.

Little Money For Jamm

Last year's G1 South Australian Derby winner Russian Camelot (Ire) (Camelot {GB}) was recently retired with a tendon injury following his runner-up finish in the All-Star Mile at Moonee Valley on March 13. Another globetrotting son of Camelot, the aforementioned Sir Dragonet, finished ninth behind him that day and has been kept busy since. A fortnight later he was beaten just over two lengths when fourth in the G1 Ranvet S., and he bounced out a week later to win Saturday's G1 Tancred S. back at Rosehill. This of course follows his victory in the 100th running of the G1 Cox Plate last October for the Anglo-Australian training partnership of Ciaron Maher and David Eustace. 

Camelot's day improved later on in the northern hemisphere when the Paddy Twomey-trained Moll (Ire) got the better of the statuesque Flor De La Luna (GB) (Sea The Moon {Ger}) in the listed Noblesse S. at Cork. The 4-year-old was notching her third win from seven starts and this first black-type success, coupled with a decent pedigree, makes it all the more surprising that she raised a bid of only €3,000 when sold by Coolmore though the Castlebridge Consignment at the Tattersalls Ireland September Yearling Sale. 

Her 9-year-old dam Jamm (Ire) (Duke Of Marmalade (Ire}) didn't make it to the racecourse but she is the only blot on the record of her own dam, Starship (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}). Mated exclusively with Danehill-line sires, the treble winner Starship is a half-sister to the brilliantly fast and precocious Superstar Leo (Ire) (College Chapel {GB}). The family has provided much success for William Haggas and his father-in-law Lester Piggott, who bred Starship and Superstar Leo with Tony Hirschfield. 

Starship's seven multiple winners are headed by the G1 Racing Post Trophy winner Rivet (GB) (Fastnet Rock {Aus}) and, notably, they have made 160 starts between them, with Booming Delight (GB) (Fastnet Rock {Aus}) and Packing Tycoon (Ire) (Danehill Dancer {Ire}) both being Group 3 winners. The pair were formerly known as Out And About and Alexander Pope before being exported to Hong Kong, where Rivet also ended up and is now known as Rivet Delight.

A few months after Moll was sold as a yearling, Jamm went to the Goffs November Sale and was sold in foal to War Command to Oakley Stud for €7,000. That same season, Superstar Leo's grand-daughter One Master (GB) (Fastnet Rock {Aus}) posted the first of her three wins in the G1 Prix de la Foret. A relatively small investment in a family with such depth means there is always the chance of jam tomorrow. 

Out Of The Woods

Sean Woods spent most of the lockdown in 2020 refurbishing Shalfleet Stables in Newmarket, which he bought from Jeremy Noseda following his return from Hong Kong. 

The trainer has restarted his career in Britain with a team of 23 horses, mostly juveniles, and he certainly has them in good form. His first runner, the Woods family homebred General Panic (GB) (Outstrip {GB}), impressed on debut at Southwell on Sunday, and 24 hours later Meng Tian (GB) (Territories {Ire}) was denied by just a nose when lining up for the first time at Kempton. 

One of the stable's few older representatives, the 4-year-old Caspian Queen (Ire) (Sepoy {Aus}), is declared to make her first start for the trainer at Lingfield on Wednesday and she will be partnered by his nephew, Sebastian Woods, son of former leading jockey in Hong Kong, Wendyll Woods.

One For The Team

From July 29, the Racing League will commence its inaugural six-week run. The competition, which will be staged at the Arena Racing tracks of Newcastle, Windsor, Doncaster and Lingfield, features 12 teams made up of 30 horses from the stables of between two and four trainers, with three assigned jockeys and a manager. 

Eleven of the teams of jockeys were announced last week, with the ongoing Covid-related travel restrictions meaning a delay in the announcement of the three French jockeys who will comprise the final team. 

With £1.8million in prize-money up for grabs—or £50,000 for each of the 36 races—the competition is a significant addition to the calendar, despite the fact that racing in teams is somewhat against the ethos of the sport. However, the jockeys involved, which include Frankie Dettori, Hollie Doyle, James Doyle, Oisin Murphy and Jim Crowley, will doubtless face some tough decisions right from the start of the competition, particularly if the rule of riding at only one meeting per day is upheld as the British lockdown eases. 

The first leg of the Racing League at Newcastle on July 29 clashes with the Thursday of Glorious Goodwood, that day's racing including the G1 Nassau S., G2 Richmond S., and G3 Gordon S. The fourth of the six meetings, at Windsor on Aug. 19, is on the same day as the G1 Yorkshire Oaks and G2 Lowther S. at York's Ebor Meeting.

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