The Weekly Wrap: La Reprise

Batwan is the latest group winner on the Kendargent-Indian Rocket cross | Scoop Dyga


Following some eleventh-hour persuasive talks between racing's leaders and the French government on Friday, action returned to three of France's racecourses on Monday, with ParisLongchamp meaning business by opening its ten-race card with the G3 Prix de Saint-Georges.

The yellow and white silks of Guy Pariente are now a regular fixture on racecourses and, almost invariably, they are carried by the offspring of the owner-breeder's Haras de Colleville flagbearer Kendargent (Fr).

With the stallion's 5-year-old son Batwan (Fr), Pariente and trainer Philippe Sogorb took the first, long-awaited race of the restarted French season, and the gelding's breeding reflects a cross which has worked well for Pariente in the past. Batwan is out of the Indian Rocket (GB) mare Matwan (Fr), a listed-winning juvenile herself who has already produced the listed-placed Revedargent (Fr) to the same stallion, as well as the G2 Prix du Muguet runner-up Matorio (Fr) (Oratorio {Ire}). Earlier this year in pre-lockdown days, Matwan's 3-year-old Wanaway (Fr), from the first crop of another Colleville resident, Galiway (GB), won the listed Prix Ronde de Nuit at Chantilly for Pascal Bary.

The Kendargent-Indian Rocket cross has also given Pariente the third member of his stallion barn, Goken (Fr), who will have his first runners this season. The bay won two French Group 3 races and was third in the G1 King's Stand S. when switched from Henri-Alex Pantall to Kevin Ryan.

The same cross is also responsible for Pariente's Kendam (Fr), winner of G3 Prix Eclipse and now dam of Galiway's first group winner Kenway (Fr), as well as Morando (Fr). The latter, a 7-year-old soft ground specialist, was also bred by Pariente and has won three Group 3 contests for King Power Racing and Andrew Balding.

The speedily-bred Indian Rocket won the G2 Mill Reef S. for Khalil Al Sayegh and John Dunlop, and he spent his last few years in France at Haras des Faunes after leaving Tally-Ho Stud. His most notable achievement as a broodmare sire is through the G1 Prix de l'Abbaye winner Maarek (GB) (Pivotal {GB}), a son of the classy sprinter Ruby Rocket (Ire).

Making An Impact
Like Australia and Hong Kong, Japan has been in the fortunate position to have its racing programme continue uninterrupted behind closed doors and there have been some bright starts made by some of the country's sophomore stallions.

Epiphaneia (Jpn) provided the G1 Oka Sho (1000 Guineas) winner Daring Tact (Jpn) but leading the table for that division at present is the horse who was also leading first-season sire in 2019, Kizuna (Jpn). The son of Deep Impact (Jpn) won the 2013 Tokyo Yushun (Japanese Derby) and on Saturday was represented by his second Group 2 winner, Deep Bond (Jpn), in the Kyoto Shimbun Hai, following the victory of Maltese Diosa (Jpn) in the G2 Tulip Sho. Kizuna has also had a pair of Grade 3 winners this year in Ablaze (Jpn) and Crystal Black (Jpn).

Another son of Deep Impact, the former Arrowfield shuttler Real Impact (Jpn), has a less impressive strike-rate than his paternal half-brother but he made a breakthrough at the weekend as the sire of the G1 NHK Mile Cup winner Lauda Sion (Jpn), who beat last season's G1 Hanshin Juvenile Fillies' winner Resistencia (Jpn), who was also runner-up in the Oka Sho. This victory was actually a double breakthrough for Real Impact: not only was it his first Group 1 strike as a sire but it gave him the distinction of being the first son of Deep Impact to sire a Grade 1 winner.

Out of the 1000-metre winner Antiphona (Songandaprayer), Lauda Sion runs in the colours made famous on the international stage by Silk Racing's Almond Eye (Jpn) (Lord Kanaloa {Jpn}) and was bred by Shunsuke Yoshida, the son of Northern Farm principal Katsumi Yoshida. Antiphona has a 2-year-old Kizuna colt to race and is due to foal to another son of Deep Impact, Real Steel (Jpn), this season.

Moon Landing A Blow
Among the major racing nations, Germany got European racing properly back up and running last Thursday. The country's first group race, the G3 Cologne Classic, saw a winning return for Germany's champion juvenile of 2019, Wonderful Moon (Ger), who was bred by Gesut Gorlsdorf and is by their homebred Deutsches Derby winner Sea The Moon (Ger). Wonderful Moon will now attempt to emulate his sire in the German Classic on July 12.

While Heike Bischoff and Niko Lafrentz of Gestut Gorlsdorf sold Wonderful Moon as a yearling, they were represented on the same card by another Sea The Moon 3-year-old winner Sea Of Love (Ger), who holds an entry for the G1 Preis der Diana (German Oaks). As detailed in Sunday's TDN, the couple also have several Classic prospects by their Lanwades Stud-based stallion now in training in France. Tickle Me Green (Ger), who was third in Monday's G3 Prix de la Grotte, was transferred from Markus Klug to Andre Fabre over the winter. Along with the Francis Graffard-trained Moon A Lisa (Ger), who was narrowly beaten when second in the Listed Prix Caravelles later on Monday, she is entered for the G1 Prix de Diane, which is now scheduled to be run on July 5, the same day as the G1 Prix du Jockey Club.

Sea The Moon, like his sire Sea The Stars (Ire), has never shuttled but he has caught the attention of Australian buyers at both the foal and yearling sales in Europe in the last few years, with Justin Bahen, Brad Spicer and Peter Moody all having signed for his offspring. Moody has recently returned to the Australian training ranks after a four-year hiatus and his first winner on comeback was Shepard (GB), one of two Sea The Moon foals purchased at Tattersalls in 2016, who was recording his fourth victory.

Pandemic Scuppers Another Shot At History
COVID travel restrictions allowing, it will be no surprise to see even more Australian activity at the European sales in years to come. The historic victory of Russian Camelot (Ire) in Saturday's G1 South Australian Derby has highlighted what middle-distance prospects can achieve, even with a notable age gap, and his trainer Danny O'Brien, who has also has two Camelot (GB) 2-year-old colts in his care, has paid European stallions the highest compliment in the aftermath.

Speaking to RSN radio station in Australia on Monday morning, O'Brien said, “Breeding has never been more complicated than [sending] the best to the best, and when you look at the talent of racehorses, Camelot was an absolute superstar. He won the English Derby by five lengths. We also have an Australia (GB) colt at the moment. Australia also won the Derby and is by Galileo (Ire) out of Ouija Board (GB), who was a champion. And we've also got horses by Sea The Stars (Ire), who is a half-brother to Galileo and also won the Derby. Those horses are far superior racehorses to the horses that stand at stud down here and you're not surprised that their stock is better particularly when they get to the right age and distance.”

As far back as last October, when Russian Camelot was still technically a 2-year-old, O'Brien had been harbouring an ambitious plan to bring him back north to run in the Derby at Epsom. It's not the horse's talent that has all but quashed that idea but the current pandemic.

He continued, “If COVID hadn't happened he would have been about 10 days away from getting on a plane. We had him booked on a flight with IRT on 20 May and he had his inoculations earlier in the year, and all we were hoping to see in South Australia was enough now that we would have been happy to go over there are and give ourselves and opportunity. It's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and with the preparation having gone as it has done I'm sure he would have gone. But they don't even know [in Britain] yet when that race is going to be run and not only that but we are now in the situation where it's not going to be easy to bring him back here for the spring. It's probably a remote one given how the world's changed over the last couple of months.”

O'Brien added, “As big a deal as it sounds, we felt that there were probably a lot of advantages for a southern hemisphere horse. He's been in work all over the Christmas and New Year period here in beautiful conditions and has had a really solid grounding through our autumn, whereas the Derby in England is run pretty early in their season and all of the European horses are just coming out of the winter, and if anything goes wrong you don't get there. We did think that we would potentially have some sort of advantage, albeit you do have to have the right animal to even consider it.”

Dual-purpose Stars At The Bool
Ciaron Maher may be one of Australia's leading Flat trainers but the former jump jockey has never really turned his back on his roots and last week saddled his fifth winner of the Grand Annual Steeplechase at the Warrnambool Carnival.

The 8-year-old winner Ablaze (NZ) brought up a high-profile double for the impeccably bred stallion Raise The Flag (GB), the son of Sadler's Wells and Hasili (GB) who stands at White Robe Lodge in New Zealand. Three weeks earlier, Raise The Flag had been represented by his first Group 1 winner on the Flat in the Sydney Cup-winning mare Etah James (NZ).

Ablaze has proved to be a versatile performer as he also won the Jericho Cup, Australia's longest Flat race which is just shy of three miles, at Warrnambool in December. His 13 wins include a hurdles success at Ballarat and a 1,200-metre maiden in New Zealand as a 4-year-old.

An even more notable feat was notched for New Zealand breeding at Warrnambool by the Highden Park Stud resident Bagalollies (Aus) Zabeel (NZ). The 16-year-old mare has already produced the Hong Kong superstar Werther (NZ) by the recently deceased Cambridge Stud resident Tavistock (NZ), and in recent weeks her record has been enhanced by that treble Group 1 winner's sister Toffee Tongue (NZ), who won the G1 Schweppes Oaks at Morphettville. That was followed three days later by the Galleywood Hurdle victory of another full-sibling, Gobstopper (NZ). The 7-year-old previously won the New Zealand Cup for trainer and part-owner Andrew Campbell, who fulfilled those same roles for Tavistock and is now involved in the syndicate which owns Bagalollies and bred Toffee Tongue.

Gobstopper's narrow win in the Galleywood came at the expense of the Gai Waterhouse and Adrian Bott-trained Runaway (Aus) (Manhattan Rain {Aus}), whose previous achievements on the Flat include victory in the G3 Geelong Cup and a third-place finish in the G1 South Australian Derby of 2018.

This year's Warrnambool Carnival did have one sour note, however, with the demise of the Group 3 winner Sir Isaac Newton (GB) (Galileo {Ire}). The full-brother to last season's G1 Juddmonte International winner Japan (GB) and this year's Classic hopeful Mogul (GB), was bred by Newsells Park Stud and sold as a yearling to Coolmore for 3.6 millions gns. He was exported to Australia in early 2017 and was recently switched to Ciaron Maher and David Eustace having previously been under the care of Lloyd Williams' trainers Robert Hickmott and Liam Howley.

By Royal Approval
Even if Royal Ascot is able to go ahead his year, the attendance of Britain's 94-year-old monarch and owner of the racecourse is extremely unlikely. But The Queen is clearly pleased to have been keeping up with some racing action in the Commonwealth and is said to have sent her congratulations last week via telephone to Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison for his country's continuation of racing during the coronavirus crisis.

Her Majesty will no doubt have enjoyed hearing news of a first stakes winner for her former colour-bearer Carlton House (Street Cry {Ire}), courtesy of the listed Warrnambool Cup winner Too Close The Sun (Aus).

Bred by Darley and gifted to The Queen as a yearling by Sheikh Mohammed, Carlton House won the G2 Dante S. when trained by Sir Michael Stoute and went on to finish third to Pour Moi (Ire) in the Derby. As a 5-year-old he was transferred to Gai Waterhouse's Sydney stable and finished runner-up in the G1 Ranvet S. and third in the G1 Queen Elizabeth II S. before retiring to Darley Australia. Poor fertility meant that he produced just 57 foals from two stud seasons, but the Lindsey Smith-trained Too Close The Sun may yet give him a last hurrah as he is being considered for the Melbourne Cup. In the meantime, he is set to line up against the aforementioned Runaway in Saturday's listed Andrew Ramsden S. at Flemington, victory in which comes with the bonus of a guaranteed berth in the Melbourne Cup line-up.





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