The European racing season got underway this weekend with several listed and group races in England, Ireland, and France.
On Saturday in England, Tranquil Tiger captured the 10-furlong Winter Derby (Eng-III) at Lingfield Park for trainer Henry Cecil and owner Juddmonte Farm. The 6-year-old son of Selkirk improved his overall record to 10 wins from 25 lifetime starts, and notched his first group victory. Tranquil Tiger had seven previous stakes wins, all coming in listed stakes.
The chestnut horse has won three straight stakes races, beginning with the Churchill Stakes last November. Tranquil Tiger is now three for three on the ‘all-weather’.
Breaking alertly from the gate, Tranquil Tiger raced comfortably in second, just off the pacesetter, Suits Me. The first two runners kept their placings for the first mile. As the field swung into the home straight, jockey Tom Queally gave the cue and Tranquil Tiger surged past Suits Me to open up a two-length lead.
Once he got to the front, however, Tranquil Tiger began to idle, and Suits Me began to cut back into the lead. Tranquil Tiger had plenty left in the tank to hold off the challenge, spurting away to easily win by three-quarters of a length.
Tranquil Tiger was bred in England by his owner. He is out of the stakes-placed Distant View mare, Serene View, and hails from the immediate family of grade I/group I winners Contredance, Skimming, Wince, Quiff, and Pryka (Arg).
Pollen Completes Memorable Day for Trainer
Pollen completed a memorable day for trainer Tommy Stack by winning the Lodge Park Stud EBF Park Express Stakes (Ire-III) on the opening day at the Curragh on Sunday. The victory by Pollen made it four wins from four starters on the card for trainer Stack.
Pollen, a 5-year-old mare by Orpen, was held up in mid-pack by jockey William Lee, who was content to let Rare Ransom set the early pace. Pollen swept by the early leaders with just under two furlongs to run, and was able to fend off the late challenge of favored Devoted To You.
The Park Express marked the first stakes win for Pollen, who is out of the Chief Singer mare, On Air.
First Starter—First Winner for Holy Roman Emperor
The opening race at the Curragh was a five-furlong affair for 2-year-olds, making it the first ‘baby’ race anywhere in the Northern Hemisphere. (I’ve done a bit of research on this, and haven’t found any 2yo races listed yet in England or France, and none so far in the US. However, if I’ve missed a baby race at Calder or Santa Anita, please let me know) **Editor’s Note**: As you may notice in the comments, a sharp reader pointed out that there have been a couple of baby races so far at Sunland Park. I knew I had to have missed some! Many thanks, Trifectabox!
There were two colts in the race sired by Holy Roman Emperor—High Award and Emperor Hadrian. Holy Roman Emperor, a top-class son of Danehill, captured the Phoenix Stakes (Ire-I) and Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere (Fr-I) as a juvenile, and was named the high-weighted colt in France that year. He was pressed into ‘emergency’ stud duty by Coolmore Stud as a 3-year-old, when it became apparent that the retired champion, George Washington (also by Danehill), was having fertility problems.
High Award, who is conditioned by Tommy Stack for Susan Magnier, rated in fourth under jockey William Lordan as Clondinnery (by Choisir) went to the front. High Award assumed the lead with just under a furlong to go, and won easily by three-quarters of a length over Suntan (Bachelor Duke). Clondinnery held on for third.
Emperor Hadrian was never a factor, finishing seventh.
High Award is out of Tarascon, by Tirol. After capturing the Moyglare Stud Stakes (Ire-I) as a juvenile, Tarascon was named champion 2-year-old filly in Ireland in 1997. She added the Airlie Coolmore Irish 1000 Guineas (Ire-I) to her resume the following season.
Tarascon’s third dam, the unraced Never Say Die mare, Cake, was a tremendous producer herself. One of her daughters, Icing, produced nine winners, including Al Hareb (colt by El Gran Senor, winner of the William Hill Futurity [Eng-I]) and Dr. Somerville (colt by Chief’s Crown). Snowtop, a daughter of Icing, is the granddam of Myboycharlie, champion 2yo colt in France.