Vadeni Poised To Deliver In Eclipse

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Vadeni | Scoop Dyga

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In the centennial year of The Aga Khan's Studs, the operation's latest flame Vadeni (Fr) (Churchill {Ire}) could present his owner-breeder with a present of particular value in Saturday's G1 Coral-Eclipse S. While The Aga Khan has won most of Europe's major middle distance prizes, Sandown's much-coveted contest has so far eluded him with Kalanisi (Ire) coming closest in his epic encounter with Giant's Causeway in the millennium edition. With weight-for-age tipping the balance very much in his favour, Jean-Claude Rouget's first runner at the Esher venue is ideally positioned to become the second consecutive G1 Prix du Jockey Club hero to double up here and to provide Christophe Soumillon with a first winner at the track. He also has French pride riding on his back, with a yawning gap back to the last of the country's Eclipse heroes in Javelot (Fr) in 1960.

 

Marking The Occasion

If Vadeni is to reward his supplementary entry with victory, he will also be bridging a 70-year gap since The Aga Khan III registered the third of his three successes with the brilliant Tulyar. There is a sense that the unorthodox move from connections has been orchestrated due partly to this landmark year but mostly as a result of the colt's raw material. Still a work in progress, we might not have seen the best of the homebred whose relatives include the English Group 1 winner Valixir (Ire) (Trempolino) and the GI Breeders' Cup Mile hero Val Royal (Fr) (Royal Academy).

Georges Rimaud, Racing Manager to The Aga Khan, said, “We are celebrating 100 years of the Aga Khan Studs and have a few things planned later in the year. It is an honour to be able to celebrate this and if we have some good winners this year it would be great. It takes a lot of commitment from the owner and I know that His Highness is obviously very pleased with how things are going.”

 

The Haggas Factor

William Haggas's stable is bursting with good health and has continued to thrive this week and defy the logic that their early-summer purple patch must come to an end. In M M Stables' 4-year-old Alenquer (Fr) (Adlerflug {Ger}), the yard have a strong contender in this renewal with his recent record boasting a defeat of the Prince of Wales's hero State Of Rest (Ire) (Starspangledbanner {Aus}), Lord North (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}) and the Hardwicke hero Broome (Ire) (Australia {GB}) in The Curragh's G1 Tattersalls Gold Cup May 22. Add to that the fact that he was the winner of a vintage renewal of the course-and-distance G3 Sandown Classic Trial last April and showed impressive pace when putting Lord North to the sword in the Feb. 22 G3 Winter Derby and it is clear he is a genuine player here.

Speaking at Sandown on Friday, Maureen Haggas was playing down his chance. “He ran a brilliant race in Ireland, but he likes dig in the ground and a mile and a quarter on soft is the ideal,” she said. “He is an absolute star and is as tough as old boots–he'll give his all, as he always does, but on this ground it is a big ask.” William seemed to be more confident as he said, “He beat a [G1] Derby winner and a Breeders' Cup winner the last time he went to Sandown and he won the Tattersalls Gold Cup, beating a [G1] Cox Plate and [G1] Prince of Wales's winner. Some may think he's an outsider, but I don't–he's a good horse.”

 

A Proven Trail

Even before Charlie Appleby took off, he was saddling the 3-year-old Hawkbill (Kitten's Joy) to cause a minor upset as his first runner in the Eclipse in 2016. Hawkbill was fourth two years later as his second representative, while his third was the 2020 winner Ghaiyyath (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}). That is some tally, so the pressure is on last year's champion juvenile and G1 Irish 2000 Guineas hero Native Trail (GB) (Oasis Dream {GB}) to uphold the stable's enviable record. Impressive on his sole visit here when handing a four-length beating to Royal Patronage (Fr) (Wootton Bassett {GB}) on his debut last June, his subsequent tally of three Group 1 wins means that he enters his first battle with the older horses as one the race's most accomplished in that sphere. His stamina has to be taken on trust, however, with Distant Music (Distant View) being the only true middle-distance performer relatively close-up on the dam's side.

Appleby is not entirely convinced he will see out this tough mile and a quarter. “The question mark is the mile and a quarter trip, but you can take a few pieces out of his pedigree which suggest he has a chance of staying,” he said. “At the end of the day, in the Irish Guineas he was doing his best work in the last 200 yards, so we are confident within ourselves he can go the mile and a quarter. More importantly, he is a strong 3-year-old who won't look out of place against his elders.”

 

Free Pass

At Haydock on Saturday, the G2 bet365 Lancashire Oaks looks a strong contest with George Strawbridge's impressive G2 Park Hill S. winner Free Wind (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) making her seasonal bow on her first start since that seven-length success at Doncaster's St Leger meeting. John Gosden has won this five times since 2011 and holds the record of eight wins, so it is fair to say he knows what it takes and the exciting homebred 4-year-old has genuine talent. Clarehaven's representatives usually require a run to get up to speed, even if Inspiral (GB) (Frankel {GB}) proved the exception to the rule last month, so a win on this reintroduction will augur well for her prospects this term. Last year's G1 QIPCO British Champions Fillies & Mares S. winner Eshaada (GB) (Muhaarar {GB}) has had a pipe-opener in 2022, while Sunderland Holdings' Sea La Rosa (Ire) (Sea the Stars {Ire}) comes into this on the back of success in the course-and-distance G3 Pinnacle S. May 28.

 

Alert And Ready

While 3-year-old representation in this has been numerically small in recent years and the ones that have been pitched into battle have hardly been the cream of the Classic crop, it is notable that since 2012 all of that age that have tried have not succeeded and most have been soundly beaten. Looking to buck the trend and exploit a generous 12-pound weight-for-age allowance this time are Kirsten Rausing's Oaks fifth Kawida (GB) (Sir Percy {GB}) and Ben and Sir Martyn Arbib's June 9 Listed Abingdon S. scorer Stay Alert (GB) (Fastnet Rock {Aus}), with the latter sure to appreciate the step up in trip.

“I think it is competitive enough and there is a strong group of older horses,” the latter's trainer Hughie Morrison said. “The exciting thing she showed at Newbury was she had a turn of foot. She can only get better over time and she has had quite a busy year. Whatever she achieves now through the rest of the year is going to be great, but she will be serious next year. Martyn Arbib is not getting any younger and he wants to have a go at the St Leger-we can pretend and dream about it, can't we?”

 

What Next From Torquator Tasso?

Hamburg's Derby meeting on Saturday sees the second outing in 2022 of Torquator Tasso (Ger) (Adlerflug {Ger}), with Marcel Weiss hoping that Gestut Auenquelle's reigning Arc hero shows much more of his sparkle in the G2 wettstar.de Grosser Hansa-Preis. A shadow of the performer that turned up at ParisLongchamp in October when sixth behind the re-opposing Alter Adler (Ger) (Adlerflug {Ger}) in the May 29 G2 Grosser Preis der Badischen Wirtschaft, he has some serious ground to cover if he is to return to his pomp.

 

Hurricane Blows In

As far as the Arc is concerned, Sunday is a big day with the G1 Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud attracting a star cast headed by Hurricane Lane (Ire) (Frankel {GB}). Tackling Kirsten Rausing's triple Group 1 winner Alpinista (GB) (Frankel {GB}), Ballydoyle's High Definition (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}), Ballylinch Stud and Aquis Farm's Lone Eagle (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) and Gestut Schlenderhan's Mare Australis (Ire) (Australia {GB}), this is no easy second step for Godolphin's Irish Derby, Grand Prix de Paris and St Leger hero.

“There's a bit of rain forecast, so it looks like being on the slower side of good for sure. Any quicker and it might have raised concerns,” Charlie Appleby said on Friday. “He'll have one more prep run before the Arc and whether that will be in Ireland, England or France, we'll make that decision closer to the time.”

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