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What's in a Name? Capulet, Vaux Le Vicomte

Vaux Le Vicomte | Scoop Dyga

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The name of brilliant 2yo Dundalk winner (and later G2-second) Capulet (Justify) gets one thinking, with the obvious connection to the famous tale of Romeo and Juliet. It also makes perfect sense that the dam is called Wedding Vow (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}): Shakespeare's play is very much about the tragic conflict between two different matrimonial projects–the arranged marriage of Juliet with older man Count Paris versus the young girl's unlikely and passionate love for her “only hate” Romeo Montague. The play could very well be re-titled “Two Weddings and Five Funerals” (Mercutio, Tybalt and Paris also die). Now Juliet was a Capulet, and this equine Capulet is a colt, which may seem a bit counterintuitive, but “Capulet” is the exact character's name for Juliet's father in Shakespeare's text. In any case, this column has a soft spot for the time-defying story of the two “star-crossed lovers” of Verona, owing its very title “What's In A Name” to it. We will always cheer for this “big, beautiful horse with a good temperament”, so described by rider Seamus Hefferman.

4th-Dundalk, €15,000, Mdn, 8-15, 2yo, 8fT, 1:41.46, st.
CAPULET (c, 2, Justify–Wedding Vow {Ire} {GSW-Ire & G1SP-Eng, $316,572}, by Galileo {Ire}). O-Mrs John Magnier, Michael Tabor & Derrick Smith; B-Orpendale, Wynatt & Chelston (KY); T-Aidan O'Brien.

There are fascinating stories of grand palaces and chateaux hidden in the name of multiple-winning filly Vaux Le Vicomte (GB) (Lightning Spear {GB}). The Clairefontaine winner is out of Tuileries (GB) (Cape Cross {Ire}), namesake in real life to what is now known mostly as a wonderful public garden in the center of Paris, but that once was a royal palace with more historical memorable moments than any architectural wonder of the world –destroyed during the Paris Commune revolt of 1871. Vaux-Le-Vicomte, southeast of Paris, on the other hand, is still standing, but only just. This property was the manor marvel that provoked the jealousy of the Sun King Louis XIV towards the owner (and his Minister of Finances) Marquis Nicolas Fouquet (1615-1680), with the building of the magnificent Palace of Versailles being the ultimate consequence of it–according to legend and Alexandre Dumas, who placed the masterful climax of his Man In The Iron Mask narrative in the middle of a grand fete at the castle on 17 August 1661 in the novel “The Vicomte De Bragelonne” (1850) (a worthy sequel to “the Three Musketeers”, with aging D'Artagnan at his very best). Quite a lot to live up to for this brave young filly.

3rd-Clairefontaine, €28,000, Cond, 8-14, 3yo, 8fT, 1:37.70, g/s.
VAUX LE VICOMTE (GB) (f, 3, Lightning Spear {GB}–Tuileries {GB}, by Cape Cross {Ire}). O-Rangio Farm SRL; B-Grundy Bloodstock Ltd (GB); T-Maurizio Guarnieri.

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