The Weekly Wrap: The Final Countdown?

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All eyes will be on Newcastle, where Enable made her impressive debut in 2016 | Racing Post

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Today’s the day that trainers in Britain can make entries for the first race meeting to be staged in Britain since March 17. Never will there have been so much interest in a Class 6 handicap at Newcastle as there will be next Monday at 1pm when the gates ping back to deliver a long awaited resumption of activity.

As we have seen in France and Germany with last-minute interventions and location changes, it is perhaps unwise to assume that racing will actually take place on Monday in Britain, but the appearance of Brant Dunshea, the BHA’s chief regulatory officer, on both British racing channels on Sunday gave the clearest indication yet of the confidence behind racing’s return. And, let’s face it, after the week the British government has just had, any amount of good news it can deliver to the people—even if it’s just the minority of people who follow or work in racing—has to be a bonus.

Another new development in British racing this week has been the introduction of training partnerships. Father-and-son teams Simon and Ed Crisford and Paul and Oliver Cole have already signaled their intent to train in tandem, as have husband and wife Daniel and Claire Kübler.

Lest there be any doubt, I will not be asking my husband whether he would like me to join him in training the horses. As a wise person once said, never ask the question if you don’t want to hear the answer.

Deauville Detour, Ascot Additions
The Poules d’Essai have returned to Deauville after racing was again shut down in the France’s coronavirus red zone around Paris last Tuesday. While moving races from their traditional homes is far from ideal, the French Guineas equivalents worked perfectly well at the Normandy seaside track in 2016 and 2017, and in fact some trainers expressed a preference for keeping them there in order to run those Classics over the straight mile.

This year’s races, which will be run next Monday, will be a solely domestic affair, with no international runners allowed in France until the middle of that month. Horses from overseas will be allowed to participate in Britain—only in the three Group 1 races at Newmarket during the first fortnight of action, and thereafter in group and listed races during Royal Ascot week.

To steal a line from my TDN colleague T.D. Thornton in his American wrap yesterday, who in turn was paraphrasing lines from one of the best Rolling Stones songs: you can’t always get what you want, but sometimes, you get what you need.

What we all want is to be able to go racing, but what we need is for racing to happen in any way, shape or format. I’ll admit that I loathe changes to the traditional race programme but in this dreadful year I’m prepared to accept anything that resembles normality. And who knew watching racing on TV from Bordeaux Le Bouscat while still figuring out what to have for breakfast could be so much fun?

I’m already mentally stringing out the bunting and ordering Jocelyn Targett to rustle up a stack of his finest homemade meringues in a bid to emulate the traditional first-day-of-Ascot picnic. And the great news is we have five days of super-charged Ascot cards to keep us entertained, with six extra races to look forward to, including the Palace of Holyrood H., a 3-year-old sprint which will presumably be heavily targeted by Mark Johnston. Scotland’s extra-strict lockdown rules mean that sadly Nicola Sturgeon will not be available for the prize-giving, though Dominic Cummings may be available.

Just What The Doctor Ordered
Royal Ascot does sadly lose much of its lustre without the Queen. Perhaps a daily Zoom conference could be staged from Windsor Castle to reveal the colour of Her Majesty’s hat.

Another regular we’ll be missing is Wesley Ward. But, fear not, because even though America’s surely soon-to-be-knighted trainer won’t be able to wiggle his way out of quarantine, he is still planning to fire a few 2-year-old bullets over Berkshire. Looking after them in Newmarket, he revealed on the Luck On Sunday show, will be the fairly useful stable-hands Frankie Dettori and Kieren Fallon.

“We’re going to get over there if at all possible. It’s certainly feasible right now,” said Ward on Sunday morning.

“We’ve got a plan in place and we’re all set. We’re going to go to the English National Stud. I am not unfortunately going myself but I have a some staff in place who have worked for me over the course of the winter who have already gone home to England in early March and are waiting for these horses to come. Fortunately I have been in touch Frankie and Kieren Fallon and they are going to help me over there, so we’re looking good right now.”

Ward indicated that he plans to send the 3-year-old filly Kimari (Munnings), who was beaten a head when second in last year’s G2 Queen Mary S., as well as Bound For Nowhere (The Factor), who will be making his fourth consecutive visit to Ascot. Having been fourth in the G1 Commonwealth Cup at three and third in the G1 Diamond Jubilee S. in 2018, the 6-year-old stallion is likely to run this time in the G1 King’s Stand S. on the opening day of the meeting. The trainer’s juvenile runners are likely to include the topically-named Fauci (Malibu Moon).

Ward said of his 2-year-olds, “I think they’re doing well. We’ve been having to switch things around with the virus here and we brought the horses to Keeneland in early March and then we had to circle right around and bring them back to Florida. My best ones are yet to start. We are looking to have certainly a smaller team than in years past but real quality.”

He added, “I have a really nice colt for my owners Ice Wine Stable, who owned No Nay Never in partnership with Coolmore. They named their horse after after Dr Fauci, who is leading the virus situation on the medical side. He’s a very talented horse and he’s scheduled to run on the opening day at Belmont on June 3 and we have a flight scheduled for him on June 5.”

Karlshof On A Roll
Germany got the action rolling again in Europe in early May and one farm which looks to have a particularly exciting season ahead is Gestüt Karlshof.

The stud owned by Bruno and Michaela Faust is probably best known as the breeder of the Classic-winning Monsun (Ger) full-siblings Samum (Ger), Schiaparelli (Ger) and Salve Regina (Ger). Karlshof also bred last season’s Horse of the Year in Germany, Rubaiyat (Fr) (Areion [Ger}), who made a winning return in Berlin on May 10 and is now on course for Monday’s G2 Mehl-Mulhens-Rennen (German 2000 Guineas) in Cologne. The colt was sold as a yearling to Darius Racing, which is managed by the Fausts’ son Holger, but the family kept the 3-year-old filly No Limit Credit (Ger) (Night Of Thunder {Ire}), who opened her season with a Group 3 victory at Cologne on May 17. Her juvenile form was also recently boosted by the Classic trial win of Soul Train (Fr) (Manduro {Ger}), whom she beat at Baden-Baden last October.

“I do believe that Rubaiyat is the best horse in Germany,” said Holger Faust. “The ground will probably be good to firm on Monday and we believe he is better on softer ground but he is certainly fitter now than he was for his first start this year.”

He continued, “No Limit Credit has done nothing wrong so far. She can be excused for her final run last year at Krefeld when the track was very heavy and she was outside all the way on the deeper ground. She is heading now for the 1000 Guineas on June 21 and then we will take it step by step. We have some international plans for her but we need to see how it continues and where the races will be opening up by then.”

Faust added that No Limit Credit’s dam Nasrine (Barathea {Ire}) has a 2-year-old filly by Deutsches Derby winner Isfahan (Ger), who is in training alongside her elder half-sister with Andreas Suborics. The mare also has two younger colts by Karlshof’s resident stallion, Counterattack (Aus) (Redoute’s Choice {Aus}).

Daring To Dream
Only two seasons ago Almond Eye (Jpn) significantly enhanced the profile of her young sire Lord Kanaloa (Jpn) when becoming only the fifth horse to win Japan’s Fillies’ Triple Crown, and the first since the mighty Gentildonna (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn}) in 2012.

Both those fillies had been beaten on debut at two and ended their 3-year-old campaigns by beating male and elder rivals in the Japan Cup. Now, Japan looks to have another superstar filly in the making in Daring Tact (Jpn), a first-crop daughter of 2014 Japan Cup winner Epiphaneia (Jpn). On Sunday the Haruki Sugiyama trainee, who is owned by hundreds of members of the Normandy Thoroughbred Racing syndicate, extended her unbeaten record to include the Yushun Himba (Japanese Oaks) following her victory in April in the Oka Sho (1000 Guineas). We will have to wait until Oct. 18 to see whether she can emulate Gentildonna and Almond Eye with a Triple Tiara, but in the meantime Daring Tact will prove to be a great poster girl for the JRHA Select Sale, which will be held in Hokkaido on July 13 and 14. Yearlings on offer this year include a full-brother to the G1 Nassau S. winner Deirdre (Jpn) (Harbinger {GB}) and half-brothers to Classic winners La Cressonniere (Fr) (Le Havre {Ire}) and Covert Love (Ire) (Azamour {Ire}). Daring Tact was herself sold as a yearling for ¥12,960,000 (£98,000/€110,000) and how now won just shy of ¥300 million (£2.2 million/€2.5 million) in four starts.

 

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