Brave Anna Wins a Vintage Cheveley Park

Brave Anna (blue cap) |

Saturday's renewal of the G1 Connolly's Red Mills Cheveley Park S. at Newmarket has to go down in the race's illustrious history as one of the great ones thanks largely to the unadulterated zeal of Lady Aurelia (Scat Daddy), but in the end it was the Ballydoyle pair of Roly Poly (War Front) and Brave Anna (War Front) who fought it out in a thrilling duel to the line with the latter prevailing by a short head. Aidan O'Brien had yet to win this contest, so a one-two in one of the best editions in memory is some compensation for the long wait. Brave Anna, who was allowed to start at 25-1 after sixth placings in both The Curragh's G2 Debutante S. and G1 Moyglare Stud S., was left behind initially as the unbeaten Wesley Ward runner gained the lead from the quicker-breaking Queen Kindly (GB) (Frankel {GB}) and Roly Poly. Getting going later in the race as she had done in the G3 Albany S. over this trip at Royal Ascot June 17, Evie Stockwell's homebred delivered her effort wide running down into the “dip” as Frankie Dettori kept up the pressure on the 4-6 favourite Lady Aurelia with Ryan Moore coming at her on Roly Poly. Seamie Heffernan, who just a fortnight ago had endured a nightmare on Idaho (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) at Doncaster, was gaining a serious response from Brave Anna and she wrested the victory from Roly Poly in the final thrusts. Lady Aurelia, who was more keen that at the Royal meeting and Deauville, was headed only 50 yards out and eventually crossed the line two lengths away. “Lady Aurelia is top-class, but Aidan always keeps that little bit for group ones,” Heffernan said. “She had a little break after Ascot and it took two runs rather than one to get her there, but Aidan had her there for today.” Wesley Ward was visually disappointed, but customarily magnanimous in defeat. “We didn't have any excuses–it's a humbling game and with expectations come big disappointments, but she's a special filly,” he said.

Saturday, Newmarket, Britain
CONNOLLY'S RED MILLS CHEVELEY PARK S.-G1, £180,000, NEW, 9-24, 2yo, f, 6fT, 1:11.92, g/f.
1–&BRAVE ANNA, 126, f, 2, by War Front">War Front
1st Dam: Liscanna (Ire) (GSW-Ire, $118,164), by Sadler's Wells
2nd Dam: Lahinch (Ire), by Danehill Dancer (Ire)
3rd Dam: Dublah, by Private Account
O/B-Mrs E M Stockwell (KY); T-Aidan O'Brien; J-Seamus Heffernan. £102,078. Lifetime Record: 6-3-0-0, $213,423. *Full to Hit it a Bomb, GISW-US, SW & MGSP-Ire, $626,476. Werk Nick Rating: A+++ *Triple Plus*. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.[bullet ad=”irt-shell”][bullet ad=”kbif-g1″][bullet ad=”us-bred-ky-bred”]2–Roly Poly, 126, f, 2, War Front">War Front–Misty For Me (Ire), by Galileo (Ire). ($575,000 RNA Ylg '15 KEESEP). O-Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith & Susan Magnier; B-Misty For Me Syndicate (KY); T-Aidan O'Brien. £38,700.[bullet ad=”irt-shell”][bullet ad=”us-bred-ky-bred-keen-grad”]3–Lady Aurelia, 126, f, 2, Scat Daddy–D; Wildcat Speed, by Forest Wildcat. ($350,000 Ylg '15 KEESEP). O-Stonestreet Stables/G Bolton/P Leidel; B-Stonestreet Thoroughbred Holdings LLC (KY); T-Wesley Ward. £19,368.[bullet ad=”irt-shell”][bullet ad=”stonestreet-bredraised”][bullet ad=”us-bred-ky-bred-keen-grad”]Margins: HD, 2, 4. Odds: 25.00, 5.50, 0.65.
Also Ran: Queen Kindly (GB), Pellucid (GB), Holy Cat (Ire). Click for the Racing Post result or the free catalogue-style pedigree. Video, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

As early as Apr. 25, a maiden over five furlongs at Naas was already signposting serious juvenile talent with TDN Rising Star Roly Poly winning and Brave Anna in eighth under tender handling. Upped to this trip to break her maiden at The Curragh May 21, she was the Ballydoyle second string at 16-1 for the Albany but showed all the qualities expected of a top-class filly to hold off Bletchley (GB) (Makfi {GB}) by a short head, with Queen Kindly a half length further back in third. In his post-race interview, Aidan O'Brien stated he wanted to step her up to seven furlongs and that was where she went on her next start when an unthreatening sixth in the Aug. 21 Debutante. If that effort could be excused by rustiness, her next try in the Sept. 11 Moyglare was harder to allow for, but that race also featured relatively disappointing performances from her stablemates Rhododendron (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) and Promise To Be True (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}). Ignored in the face of strong support for Lady Aurelia and for the subsequent Lowther heroine Queen Kindly, what she did have in her favour was the fact that she was encountering the type of fast ground her sire's progeny relish for the first time as Newmarket basked in a warm dry spell.

The story of this Cheveley Park was told in the fractions, with Lady Aurelia clocking 10.92 and 10.60 under restraint for the second and third furlongs. That speed meant that Queen Kindly and Roly Poly were out of their comfort zones at halfway, but Brave Anna was only being niggled at several lengths away and started to close as the front-runner steadied to 11.49 and 11.64 between the three and the furlong pole. Roly Poly had demonstrated her resilience on many occasions already this year and answered every call as Lady Aurelia went into the red, but Brave Anna had momentum on her outer and marginally outstayed her companion.

Aidan O'Brien has two fillies bred to get further to spark hopes of another 1000 Guineas victory next spring, with the Breeders' Cup a potential destination in between. “They ran great races and I think when they got together they helped each other,” he said. “Wesley's filly is very good, but she went very fast and the wind out in front probably didn't help her and we knew we would have to lay up–that's the reality. The lads know the fillies and they work it out really. Brave Anna is a hardy filly and had a good break after Ascot. We weren't sure what happened in the Moyglare and thought maybe it was that she didn't stay seven furlongs, but maybe she got a little bit tired and better ground might have suited her today. You'd say, looking at her today, she'd get seven okay. The Breeders' Cup is a possible, but we'll have to talk to Mrs Stockwell who has had big faith in her all the time and said to run her here after the Moyglare.”

Wesley Ward said of the gallant Lady Aurelia, “She bounced out and Frankie was bounding away in front, but when he called on her it just wasn't there for the last bit. She's had a tough campaign and it's the first time I've tried to come over in the fall, but I'm not trying to make any excuses or take anything away from the two that beat us, especially the winner. Hopefully, we'll get her home and back in the right shape and come over next year for [Royal] Ascot and the [G1] Commonwealth Cup and it will be all smiles. I expected her to win today and laid it out there on everybody. You could make excuses like the wind and she was a bit too keen early and I would have liked to see her a bit more relaxed and at the end of the day, I probably regret that but I hope that you see her brilliance at Ascot and that could be it for this year.”

Brave Anna's full-brother Hit it a Bomb had already made waves for the of G3 Ballyogan S.-winning dam Liscanna when capturing last year's GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf. The second dam is the Listed Leopardstown 1000 Guineas Trial winner and G2 Rockfel S. runner-up Lahinch, a half-sister to the stakes-winning Perugino Bay (Ire) (Perugino) who is responsible for the G3 Kilternan S.-winning sire The Bogberry (Hawk Wing) and the G2 Kilboy Estate S. runner-up Lahinch Classics (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}). Lahinch is a granddaughter of the G2 Prix d'Evry heroine Paint the Town (Vaguely Noble {Ire}), whose descendants include the GII Nassau County S. heroine and GI Acorn S. runner-up C'est L'Amour (Thunder Gulch). Still to come from the dam are a yearling and foal colts also by War Front.


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