The Weekly Wrap: Like A Hurricane

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Hurricane Lane and Adayar enjoying a pick of grass at Godolphin's Moulton Paddocks last week | Godolphin

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It's a childish game but I've long amused myself by seeing how many song titles can be weaved into headlines and this weekend's results provided an open goal for a Neil Young classic, not once but twice. 

Two hurricanes blew across Town Moor on Saturday at the opposite ends of the distance spectrum. Hurricane Ivor (Ire) (Ivawood {GB}) is an admirable sprinter who has bounced back from a blistering debut for Fabrice Chappet and subsequent illness that ruled him out of much of his juvenile season. He has been creeping up the ratings this year on the back of some consistent performances for William Haggas, culminating in his gutsy Portland H. win under top weight. Like his sire Ivawood, Hurricane Lane races in the purple and green-starred silks of Fiona Carmichael, and he surely deserves another shot at some black type.

Of far greater significance at this stage, however, is the hugely impressive winner of the Cazoo St Leger, Hurricane Lane (Ire) (Frankel {GB}). Within the space of an hour, he and St Mark's Basilica (Fr) (Siyouni {Fr}) became the 24th and 25th horses to have won Group 1 races in Britain, Ireland and France in the same year since the Pattern was devised 50 years ago.

Already proven to be highly effective over a mile and a half, Hurricane Lane's hoped-for next start in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe should see him try to reverse the Derby form with his stable-mate Adayar (Ire). Debate will rage about which son of Frankel is better, but these two Godolphin colts have lit up the middle-distance division for the Classic generation with their consistency at the highest level. 

Adayar's defection from the G2 Qatar Prix Niel was a disappointment, as was the late scratching on a vaccination error of Bolshoi Ballet (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}), and while the latter has claimed the GI Belmont Derby this season, he still has something to prove on European turf.

One thing is for sure, the Cartier Champion Three-Year-Old Colt title will be one of the hottest contests of the year, with Adayar and Hurricane Lane facing stiff competition from the outstanding St Mark's Basilica, who is surely the odds-on favourite for this honour, as well as the boldly campaigned Poetic Flare (Ire) (Dawn Approach {Ire}). In another year, any one of the quartet would be a worthy winner.

The Ger and Jessie Show

Aidan O'Brien may have this year's star package in the Irish Champion S. winner St Mark's Basilica but the Group 1 honours on Irish Champions Weekend were shared around pretty fairly, with five different stables winning the six top-level races. 

Jessica Harrington was queen of both Leopardstown and the Curragh, winning the G1 Coolmore America Matron S. with No Speak Alexander (Ire), who delivered an important first Group 1 winner for Shalaa (Ire), as well as for Dandy Man (Ire) as a broodmare sire.

Bred by Mount Armstrong Stud and raced by Noel, Charles and Paul O'Callaghan, No Speak Alexander is the first foal of their listed winner Rapacity Alexander (Ire), who is a full-sister to Dandy Man's Hong Kong Group 1 winner Peniaphobia (Ire).

Another first was notched for the Harrington team in the following race, the G2 Clipper Logistics Boomerang Mile when Real Appeal (Ger) became the first European group winner for the former shuttler Sidestep (Aus), a son of Exceed And Excel (Aus) who spent three years at Haras du Logis.

Bought as a €9,000 foal by Con and Theresa Marnane, Real Appeal won three races in France as a juvenile, including the listed Prix La Fleche, and was subsequently sold for £265,000 to Zhang Yuesheng at the Goffs London Sale.

Sidestep stood his first three seasons in Australia for Darley but is now leased to Telemon Thoroughbreds in Queensland. He made an eye-catching start in the southern hemisphere where his first crop included the 2019 G1 Golden Slipper winner Kiamichi (Aus).

Perhaps the most satisfying of four wins over Irish Champions Weekend for Harrington was that of the Niarchos family's Discoveries (Ire) (Mastercraftsman {Ire}) in the G1 Moyglare Stud S. This is a family which has really helped to raise the profile of her stable on the Flat, with full-sister and erstwhile stable star Alpha Centauri (Ire) and half-sister Alpine Star (Ire) (Sea The Moon {Ger}) having each landed Group 1 races for Harrington in recent seasons. 

Huge interest will doubtless be paid to the full-brother of Discoveries and Alpha Centauri who is consigned to the Goffs Orby Sale as lot 347 by Camas Park Stud. His was a page which hardly needed an update–only two dams fit as it is, leaving off his mighty great grandam Miesque–but it has been given another dose of proper black type nonetheless.

Harrington's quartet of wins on Irish Champions Weekend was matched by Ger Lyons, who was a welcome sight back at the races for the first time since the pandemic struck. He timed his run well as he was present to enjoy the success of Atomic Jones (Fr) (Wootton Bassett {GB}), who remained unbeaten when winning the G2 KPMG Champions Juvenile S. The same ownership trio Sean Jones, David Spratt and the trainer's wife Lynne Lyons, was celebrating again later in the afternoon when Camorra (Ire) (Zoffany {GB}) led home a one-two for the stable in the G3 Paddy Power S.

Breeders Behind The Stars

The breeding plaudits for the weekend must be split equally between Bob Scarborough and Philippa Cooper, who were each responsible for two group winners at Leopardstown and Doncaster respectively. 

When Magna Grecia (Ire) (Invincible Spirit {Ire}) won the 2000 Guineas, Melbourne-based Scarborough could have been forgiven for thinking that he'd hit the heights as a breeder, but little did he know that the best was yet to come from his Galileo mare Cabaret (Ire). Two years after foaling Magna Grecia, she produced St Mark's Basilica, who is now the winner of five consecutive Group 1 races in three countries. But he was not the sole highlight on Saturday for Scarbrorough's northern hemisphere breeding operation, which is based at Norelands Stud in Co Kilkenny. No sooner had the dust settled on a dramatic Champion S., than Camorra bounced out to give the breeder another boost in the following race, the G3 Paddy Power S. The 4-year-old is the top-rated runner of Mauralakana (Fr) (Muhtathir {GB}), who won the G1 Beverly D S. in Scarborough's colours in 2008.

Cooper also enjoyed a group double in consecutive races, with Hurricane Lane's St Leger victory following yet another win for the admirable Glorious Journey (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}). The 6-year-old has now won eight races, six of them at group level, the latest coming on Saturday in the G2 Park S.

Lynams Pinpointing Success

'Fast Eddie' Lynam will be paying close attention to the notes in the foal sales catalogues of his wife Aileen and daughter Amy this season after Romantic Proposal (Ire) (Raven's Pass) became the second group winner for the stable to have been pinhooked by the duo. The first was Soffia (GB) (Kyllachy {GB}), who won two group races at the Curragh for Lady O'Reilly.

Winner of the listed Dubai Duty Free Dash in June and also twice group-placed this season, Romantic Proposal beat a strong field in the G1 Flying Five S. to give Steve Parkin of Clipper Logistics a memorable weekend and another valuable future broodmare prospect for his Yorkshire-based Branton Court Stud.

Originally bought as a foal from breeder Julie Lynch of Fastnet Stud for €25,000, Romantic Proposal returned to Goffs for the Orby Sale, where she was bought by Parkin's bloodstock advisor Joe Foley for €55,000.

The Breeders' Cup Classic winner Raven's Pass now boasts a strike-rate of 8.4 stakes winners to runners and has never had a foal crop larger than 80, which was the tally from his first year at stud in 2010. He has now had a Group 1 winner in Japan, Dubai, France and Ireland and is also having some success as a broodmare sire, notably through Mishriff (Ire) (Make Believe {GB}) and the G2 Mill Reef S. winner Kessaar (Ire) (Kodiac {GB}), whose first yearlings are now at the sales.

There is much to recommend Romantic Proposal beyond her sire, however, as her dam Playwithmyheart (GB) (Diktat {GB}) is a winning half-sister to the G1 Prix de la Foret winner Toyslome (GB) (Cadeaux Genereux {GB}). Some stouter influences are also found in the presence of Ascot Gold Cup and St Leger winner Leading  Light (Ire) (Montjeu {Ire}), whose grandam River Jig (Irish River {Fr}) is Romantic Proposal's third dam.

Blazing A Trail

There was a disappointing lack of British runners in the Irish Champion S. but Charlie Appleby ensured that Champions Weekend was not an entirely domestic affair when sending out Native Trail (GB) (Oasis Dream {GB}) to land an upset in defeating Point Lonsdale (Ire) (Australia {GB}) and Ebro River (Ire) (Galileo Gold {GB}) in the G1 Goffs Vincent O'Brien National S.

It was a notable first Group 1 success for breeder Jose Delmotte of Haras d'Haspel, who bought Native Trail's dam Needleleaf (GB) (Observatory {GB}), a full-sister to G1 Sprint Cup winner African Rose (GB), from Juddmonte for 60,000gns through his friend and advisor Marc-Antoine Berghgracht.

Native Trail has already been through the sale ring three times, initially when sold by his breeder for €50,000 to Sam Sangster as a foal and most recently when consigned by Norman Williamson at the Craven Breeze-up Sale. There he was sold to Godolphin for 210,000gns, having been bought at Tattersalls as a yearling for 67,000gns. 

His two previous victories, including the G2 Superlative S., gave an important boost to his Kingman half-sister when she went through the Arqana August Sale the following month. Unsurprisingly, it was Anthony Stroud who signed for the filly, as he had done for Native Trail, but this time at €950,000.

Varian The Party-Pooper

Charlie Appleby wasn't the only British trainer responsible for spoiling the fun for Ballydoyle over the weekend as the Roger Varian-trained Teona (Ire) (Sea The Stars {Ire}) sprang quite a surprise when getting the better of odds-on favourite Snowfall (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn}) in the G1 Qatar Prix Vermeille.

There's something rather satisfying about seeing Derby winners feature as sire and broodmare sire of top-class horses, and Teona's dam Ambivalent (Ire), also trained by Varian, is one of six Group 1 winners for the somewhat overlooked Authorized (Ire). Both mother and daughter have carried the colours of Ali Saeed.

Varian may also have caused a bit of consternation in the palace on Saturday when his Bayside Boy (Ire) (New Bay {GB}) halted the upwardly mobile progression of the Queen's Reach For The Moon (GB) (Sea The Stars {Ire}) by winning the G2 Champagne S. by a head.

Bred by Ballylinch Stud, Bayside Boy had previously been runner-up in the listed Denford S. to Masekela (Ire) (El Kabeir), who in turn was beaten a short-head by Native Trail in the Superlative S.

David Egan was on board Bayside Boy and notched a double at Doncaster for his boss when also winning on Highclere Thoroughbred Racing's Title (Ire) (Camelot {GB}). Not far away at Chester the same day, we were reminded of a different type of sire power when John Egan, David's 53-year-old father, rode a double of his own, including in the day's feature race, the listed Tote+ Stand Cup. There's life in the old dog yet.

Double Bubble

The first of the Arc Trials at ParisLongchamp went the way of Bubble Gift (Fr) (Nathaniel {Ire}), who completed a notable double within eight days for owner Zak Bloodstock and trainer Mikel Delzangles. The previous Sunday his three-parts-sister Bubble Smart (GB) (Intello {Ger}) had won the G3 Prix Gladiateur.

Both horses were bred and are raced by the Hakam family under a breeding operation established by the Moroccan-born Zakaria Hakam, who died 10 years ago. His children Ali and Amina and their mother Mouna Bengeloun have carried on the tradition, now racing their homebreds, which are raised at Haras de Maulepaire, under the name of Zak Bloodstock.

It has been a successful season for the family, with 4-year-old Bubble Smart having notched a hat-trick of wins, and the year-younger Bubble Gift adding the Niel to his victory in the G2 Prix Hocquart in the spring. He was just over nine lengths behind Hurricane Lane when sixth in the G1 Grand Prix de Paris.

Their dam Bubble Back (Fr) (Grand Lodge) remained winless in her five-start racing career but she has proved a worthy broodmare, with her earlier offspring including Bubble Chic (Fr) (Chichicastenango {Fr}), who was runner-up to Reliable Man (GB) in the G1 Prix du Jockey Club and won the G3 Darley S. at Newmarket before being sold to race on in Hong Kong, where he won two listed contests.

It is pleasing to see the talented Mikel Delzangles back in the limelight this season, and his group-race success continued on Sunday when the Aga Khan's Sagamiyra (Fr) (Sea The Moon {Ger}) landed the G3 Qatar Prix du Pin. The 4-year-old filly was beaten just a head by Mother Earth (Ire) (Zoffany {Ire}) on her previous start in the G1 Prix Rothschild in August.

Raiders Of The Lost Arc

The Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe has long represented something of a holy grail for Japanese owners and trainers and the latest of their raiders to put his name in the reckoning for Europe's richest race is Deep Bond (Jpn). The 4-year-old is a member of the first crop of Japanese Derby winner Kizuna (Jpn), the champion freshman sire in Japan in 2019 and a son of the late Deep Impact (Jpn). 

Both Deep Bond's sire and grandsire staked their own claim to the Arc, with Deep Impact finishing third in 2006 and subsequently being disqualified when a banned substance was detected in his post-race sample. Kizuna beat Derby winner Ruler Of The World (Ire) to win the G2 Qatar Prix Niel of 2013 before finishing fourth in the Arc behind Treve (Fr), with his fellow Japanese-trained runner Orfevre (Jpn) taking second that day.

Deep Bond, who is inbred 4×4 to Halo, may not be the only Japanese contender for this year's Arc as the highly regarded treble Grade 1 winner Chrono Genesis (Jpn), a 5-year-old daughter of the 2004 Arc winner, Bago (Fr), is also an intended runner. The presence of Japanese runners in any race internationally always adds some spice and they are usually accompanied by a large throng of supporters, though that will sadly be scuppered this year by ongoing travel restrictions.

Pat Smullen Remembered

Wednesday, Sept. 15 marks the first anniversary of the passing of Pat Smullen. We were fortunate to have had Ireland's multiple champion jockey as a TDN columnist throughout the 2019 season and one thing that stood out in his weekly missives was how pleased he was to see his fellow jockeys do well, even though he had been forced to curtail his own brilliant riding career through illness.

It is doubtless this generosity of spirit that made Smullen so popular along his peers and so revered by the young jockeys on their way up, many of whom would ring him regularly for advice and feedback on their own burgeoning careers.

It was hard not to have a lump in the throat watching and listening to his weigh-room colleagues pay tribute by singing Stand By Me with the Newbridge Gospel Choir during Sunday's broadcast from the Curragh. Two years earlier the racecourse had been the scene of an equally emotional occasion when Smullen raised €2.5 million for Cancer Trials Ireland, predominantly through the Pat Smullen Champions Race.

One of the nine retired champions in that race was his former arch-rival Johnny Murtagh, who won the last of eight Group 1 races over the weekend, the Irish St Leger, with the Ebor winner Sonnyboyliston (Ire) (Power {GB}).

Reflecting on their competitiveness in the saddle back in April 2019, Smullen said, “I think our relationship is a lot better since both of us have not been riding. I genuinely feel that his ability to train horses is unquestionable.”

On this and many other things he was unquestionably right.

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