Category Archives: breeders cup

Canford Cliffs Cruises in Lockinge Stakes

***This article also appeared on the website***

Canford Cliffs showed no signs of rust as he stormed past longshot Worthadd for an easy victory in the JLT Lockinge Stakes (Eng-I) at Newbury Racecourse May 14.

The eight furlong Lockinge brought together a small but high class field of seven older horses highlighted by three group I winners. In addition to Canford Cliffs, trainer Richard Hannon also sent out Dick Turpin, while Henry Cecil was represented by Twice Over.

Italian raider Worthadd, ridden by Dubai World Cup (UAE-I) winning jockey, Mirco Demuro, broke alertly and went straight to the front. Sensing a slow pace, Tom Queally moved early with Twice Over, and the pair soon joined Worthadd on the front end. They were tracked closely by Dick Turpin and Canford Cliffs, with Premio Loco and Balthazaar’s Gift bringing up the rear.

With two furlongs left to run, Worthadd continued to lead as Twice Over began to fade along the rail. Canford Cliffs loomed ominously just behind Worthadd, as Dick Turpin was caught between horses and lacked running room.

Canford Cliffs drew alongside Worthadd and the two rivals dueled for a few strides until the son of Tagula gained the advantage and began to pull away. Geared down in the final yards by Richard Hughes, Canford Cliffs won comfortably by 1 ¼-lengths.

Worthadd held on for second, finishing 2 ¾-lengths in front of Premio Loco. Dick Turpin, who never was able to get a clean run, had to settle for fourth, as Twice Over faded to finish sixth.

Final time for the mile was 1:36.52 over a course listed as good to firm.

An emotional Hannon told reporters after the race, “He’s the best horse I’ve ever had.”

Canford Cliffs will now be pointed toward the Queen Anne Stakes (Eng-I) at Royal Ascot, and a certain meeting with superstar Goldikova.

“I relish (the challenge)” said Hughes. “I’m looking forward to Ascot and then (meeting) Frankel somewhere down the line.”

Bred in Ireland by S and S Hubbard Rodwell, Canford Cliffs is by the French group I winner, Tagula, and out of the Marju mare, Mrs. Marsh.  He is owned by the partnership of the Heffer Syndicate, Michael Tabor, and Derrick Smith.


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Paco Boy Dazzles in Lockinge Stakes

Paco Boy notched his third group I victory with an impressive performance in the Lockinge Stakes (Eng-I) at Newbury Racecourse May 15.

Fourth in the race last year–after which it was discovered that he had an infected foot–Paco Boy was settled comfortably in mid-pack by jockey Richard Hughes as Stimulation led the field of nine through the early stages of the eight furlong contest.

As the pace began to quicken with three furlongs left to run, Hughes still sat motionless aboard Paco Boy, as Zacinto, Ouqba, and Lord Shanakill all began to make their moves on the leader.  As the field entered the final furlong, Hughes finally pushed the button and Paco Boy responded with an amazing turn of foot to take command.

Ouqba made a late move to challenge for the lead but was no match for Paco Boy, who won by three-quarters of a length while being geared down.  Lord Shanakill plugged on for third, another 3 ½-lengths behind Ouqba.

Final time for the eight furlongs was 1:37.31 over a good to firm turf course.

The Richard Hannon trained 5-year-old will now be pointed toward Royal Ascot and a defense of his Queen Anne Stakes (Eng-I) crown, which he won by 1 ½-lengths last year.  One of his challengers at Royal Ascot will more than likely be two-time Breeders’ Cup Mile (gr. IT) champion Goldikova, who is scheduled to make her seasonal debut next weekend at Longchamp.

A delighted Hannon told the Racing Post after the race, “He’s a better horse this year than last year and he will be a hard horse to beat.”

“He is such a lovely horse to deal with and has grown into an old favorite – I’ve got pictures of him all over the place,” Hannon continued.  “He’ll definitely go for the Queen Anne next.”

Paco Boy is a 5-year-old horse by Desert Style, out of Tappen Zee, by Sandhurst Prince.  He was bred in Ireland by Joan Browne and races for The Calvera Partnership.

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Group I Winners Clash in Lockinge Stakes

Group I winners Paco Boy and Lord Shanakill head a field of nine that will go to the post on Saturday in the Lockinge Stakes (Eng-I).

The eight furlong contest, run over a straight mile at Newbury Racecourse, will mark the seasonal debut of Lord Shanakill.  The 4-year-old son of Speightstown will be making his first start for Sir Henry Cecil, who has taken over the training duties from Richard Mandella.  Lord Shanakill was sent to California last year to compete in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint, with the long-range plan of staying stateside.  That plan was scrapped after the colt’s disappointing twelfth-place finish in the Breeders’ Cup. (on a side note, one of Lord Shanakill’s maternal relatives, the 3-year-old filly Aviate, won the Musidora Stakes (Eng-III) on Wednesday at York.)

Paco Boy will be making his second start of the year on Saturday.  The 5-year-old horse captured the bet365 Mile (Eng-II) at Sandown in his most recent outing.  Paco Boy will again be ridden by Richard Hughes; the pair teamed up to take the Queen Anne Stakes (Eng-I) last year at Royal Ascot over a high-class field by 1 ½-lengths.

Juddmonte Farm’s Zacinto will be making his first start since his disappointing performance in the 2009 TVG Breeders’ Cup Mile (gr. IT).   Prior to that, Zacinto had captured the Celebration Mile (Eng-II), and had finished a good second to Rip Van Winkle in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (Eng-I).  The lightly-raced son of Dansili has won three of his six starts, with his only out of the money finish occurring in the Breeders’ Cup.

Another to watch out for is Pipedreamer, a group II-winning son of Selkirk.  The hard-knocking 6-year-old has been mixing it up with top company over the past few years, finishing in the money to such high-class runners as Duke of Marmalade, Campanologist, Tartan Bearer, Mount Nelson, and Twice Over.  In his last start of 2009, Pipedreamer finished a close fourth (beaten just two lengths) in the Emirates Airline Champion Stakes (Eng-I).

Dante and Middleton Stakes Share Top Billing at York

Thursday’s card at York features two 10-furlong, group II stakes races—the Totesport Dante Stakes for 3-year-olds and the Middleton Stakes for fillies and mares.

The Dante Stakes long has served as a strong prep for the Investec Derby (Eng-I) in June.  In the last decade, the race has produced Derby winners Authorized, Motivator, and North Light.  Other notable Dante/Derby winners include Shahrastani (1986), Reference Point (1987), Erhaab (1994), and Benny the Dip (1997).

This year’s renewal features a small but select field of six, led by Aidan O’Brien’s Cape Blanco.  The chestnut son of Galileo will be making his seasonal debut in the Dante.  Cape Blanco is undefeated in three career starts, with his last victory coming in the Galileo E.B.F. Futurity Stakes (Ire-II) last August.

Sir Michael Stoute sends out the highly-regarded Workforce, a bay colt by King’s Best.  The Juddmonte Farm-colorbearer has only started once, winning his debut last September at Goodwood.  Workforce is certainly the ‘buzz’ horse; word has gotten out that he has been training extremely well at home.

The early favorite for the Dante is Godolphin’s Chabal, a bay son of Galileo.  Chabal captured the 10-furlong Classic Trial (Eng-III) last month over Azmeel, who recently came back to win the Dee Stakes (Eng-III) at Chester.

The Dante Stakes may actually take second-billing to the Middleton Stakes, which marks the 2010 debuts of group I winners Midday and Sariska.

Midday notched victories in both the Blue Square Nassau Stakes (Eng-I) and the Emirates Airline Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT) last year, and finished second in the Investec Oaks (Eng-I) to Sariska.  The daughter of Oasis Dream has won four of her 11 career starts, and has finished in the money nine times.

Lady Bamford’s Sariska will be making her first start since finishing third to Twice Over in the Emirates Airline Champion Stakes (Eng-I) last October.  The daughter of Pivotal notched an Oaks double last year, taking both the Investec Oaks at Epsom and the Darley Irish Oaks (Ire-I)—also over Midday—at the Curragh in July.  She will be partnered once again by Jamie Spencer.

Two other fillies that should not be overlooked are Flying Cloud, a daughter of Storming Home who won the Ribblesdale Stakes (Eng-II) in 2009, and High Heeled, a group III winning daughter of High Chaparral who spent most of last year knocking heads with both Sariska and Midday.  High Heeled was recently purchased by George Strawbridge and transferred to trainer John Gosden.

Both York races could very well set the stage for an exciting racing season.

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Hibaayeb Breaks Maiden in Fillies’ Mile

Hibaayeb shed her maiden tag in the best possible way, driving up the rail under Neil Callan to win the Meon Valley Stud Fillies’ Mile (Eng-I) at Ascot Sept. 26.

The winning duo had to survive a lengthy stewards’ inquiry, however, as Hibaayeb drifted to the left once she got in front, causing Michael Hills to snatch up Sent From Heaven.  At the same time, Lady Darshaan was making a bold move on the outside under Richard Hughes, and was struck on the nose by Callan’s whip.

Despite the interference, the results stood, with Hibaayeb remaining the winner by three-quarters of a length over Lady Darshaan.  You’ll Be Mine just got up for third, finishing another 1 ½-lengths back.

Final time for the eight furlongs was 1:39.78 over the good turf course.  The going was upgraded to ‘good to firm’ after this race.

Hibaayeb entered the Fillies’ Mile off of a strong second-place showing in the DFS May Hill Stakes (Eng-II) at Doncaster in her last start, losing to Pollenator by just a half-length.

The victory by Hibaayeb marked trainer Clive Brittain’s third win in the race, following Ivanka in 1992 and Teggiano in 1999.  A delighted Brittain told reporters after the race, “Not many people try to win a group I with a maiden, but in my eyes she had already run two races that she could have won.”

Hibaayeb is now guaranteed a spot in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies’ Turf at Santa Anita on Nov. 6, and Brittain mentioned that a start there will be discussed.  “She is progressing, which is the most important thing, but I don’t want to gallop her into the ground,” he told reporters.

“She has got a future and could go to America. I will have to talk to the owners, but it will depend on the filly – it is easier listening to animals as they tell you more than people.”

Hibaayeb is a 2-year-old filly by Singspiel out of the winning Lion Cavern mare, Lady Zonda.  Bred in England by Rabbah Bloodstock, Hibaayeb hails from the female family of champions Oh So Sharp and Shantou.

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Rip Van Winkle All Class in Queen Elizabeth II

Rip Van Winkle held off a stubborn Zacinto in the final furlong to claim his second group I victory of the season, taking the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (Eng-I) by a determined 1 ¼-lengths at Ascot Sept. 26.

The Aidan O’Brien trainee will now head to Santa Anita to contest the Breeders’ Cup Classic (gr. I) on Nov. 7.

Aqlaam broke sharply under Richard Hills and went straight to the front with Rip Van Winkle, under Johnny Murtagh, hot on his heels.  The two colts pulled a few lengths clear from the remainder of the field as they led through the early stages of the race.

Rip Van Winkle took command of the race three furlongs from home, as Aqlaam began to fade.  It appeared for a moment that Rip Van Winkle would draw off to an easy win, but both Delegator and Zacinto had yet to launch their bids from the back of the pack.

Delegator was the first to challenge the leader, getting to within a length of Rip Van Winkle with two furlongs to go.  He could not sustain his bid, though, and quickly flattened out under Frankie Dettori.

It was left up to the lightly-raced Zacinto to make a race of it, and the son of Dansili did just that, pulling to within a neck of the heavy favorite.  Rip Van Winkle was able to find a bit extra, stubbornly refusing to give way and held off Zacinto in the final yards.

Zacinto was a clear second, finishing 3 ¼-lengths in front of Delegator.  Final time for the eight furlongs was 1:38.82 over the good to firm turf.

O’Brien told reporters after the race, “We are looking forward to going to America and the plan is to run in the Classic.”

“We have no horse at home who can lead him, so it was brilliant the way the race turned out,” he continued. “It is only in the last two weeks that we have had an uninterrupted preparation. It was a brilliant performance and Johnny was superb on him.”

Teddy Grimthorpe, representing Zacinto’s owner Khalid Abdullah, said: “At one stage we got upsides the winner, and one thing is for sure – we have earned a bit of respect today.”

“There are a couple of options, including the Champion Stakes (Eng-I) and one of the mile races at the Breeders’ Cup,” Grimthorpe continued. “But our immediate thought after this is to go to Newmarket (Champion Stakes).”

Godolphin racing manager Simon Crisford said of Delegator: “He fell a bit short today, but we were beaten by two better horses on the day.”

“My feeling is we will still go for the Breeders’ Cup Mile (gr. IT) with him, he will be running against those good horses and we know there will be no hiding place in California.”

Rip Van Winkle has now improved his record to four wins from eight career starts.  He captured the BGC Sussex Stakes (Eng-I) at Glorious Goodwood last time out.

Rip Van Winkle is a 3-year-old colt by Galileo out of Looking Back, by Stravinsky.  He was bred in Ireland by Roberto Brogi and is owned by Susan Magnier, Michael Tabor, and Derrick Smith.

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Godolphin ‘Masters’ St. Leger Rivals

The Godolphin team continued their winning hot streak as Mastery overpowered stablemate Kite Wood in the closing strides to take the Ladbrokes St. Leger Stakes (Eng-I) at Doncaster Sept. 12.

The victory not only provided Godolphin with their first British group I win of the season, but was the first for the operation in a British classic since Rule of Law captured the St. Leger five years ago.

Mastery, who won the Derby Italiano (It-II) earlier this season, was considered the ‘second string’ behind Kite Wood, who went off as the race favorite.  Settled into third by jockey Ted Durcan, Mastery was content to follow the early pace set by longshot Von Jawlensky.  Kite Wood, ridden by Frankie Dettori, tracked in second, while Changingoftheguard ran in fourth.

As the field entered the home straight of the 14-furlong marathon, Kite Wood took over from a tiring Von Jawlensky and began to pull away.  Durcan had Mastery in a full drive however, and the pair drew upon equal terms with Kite Wood entering the final furlong.

The Godolphin pair battled to the wire, with Mastery finally gaining the advantage in the last strides, winning by three-quarters of a length.  Monitor Closely held off Father Time for third, another 1 ¾-lengths further back.

Final time for the 14 furlongs was 3:04.81 over the good to firm course.

Durcan, a longtime member of the Godolphin team, gave full credit to the entire crew after the race, stating, “The whole operation has looked after and been a great help to me over the years.”

“Sheikh Mohammed, (his son) Sheikh Rashid and everyone has been a huge help to me,” he continued. “To be able to win a St. Leger for them is just great. It’s for the whole operation, for everyone involved.”

Mastery is a 3-year-old colt by Sulamani, who won the Arlington Million (gr. IT) and the Pattison Canadian International (Can-IT) when racing for Godolphin.

Moyesii, the dam of Mastery, has also produced champion Kirklees, winner of the Gran Criterium (It-I) as a 2-year-old.  Kirklees most recently captured the September Stakes (Eng-III) on Sept. 5.

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Sea The Stars Sails to Victory in Irish Champion Stakes

Sea The Stars confirmed his class by turning in a dominating performance in the Tattersalls Millions Irish Champion Stakes (Ire-I) at Leopardstown Sept. 5.

Given only a 50-50 chance on Wednesday of competing due to all the rain received, Sea The Stars was declared an official runner by trainer John Oxx after he found the Leopardstown course was still in great shape on Friday evening.

Ridden confidently by regular partner Mick Kinane, the brilliant Sea The Stars shrugged off the challenges of both Fame And Glory and Mastercraftsman, drawing off in the final furlong to win impressively by 2 ½-lengths.

Fame And Glory, making his first start since capturing the Dubai Duty Free Irish Derby (Ire-I) in June, held on for second, finishing 2 ½-lengths in front of his stablemate, Mastercraftsman.  Final time for the ten furlong contest was 2:03.90 over a course listed as ‘good to yielding’.

The victory in the Irish Champion guarantees Sea The Stars a spot in the starting gate for the Emirates Airline Breeders’ Cup Turf (gr. IT), since it is part of the Breeders’ Cup “Win and You’re In” challenge.  Plans for the son of Cape Cross are very much up in the air, with the connections taking it race by race.

Although Oxx has not ruled out a trip to Santa Anita, he is presently not looking at targets past the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (Fr-I) at Longchamp in October.

“The horse will decide rather than the owner or trainer where we go and the Arc is the next race coming up,” Oxx told reporters after the Irish Champion. “He’s had a run every month since May, so that’s five group I’s in as many months, and we will take it one race at a time.”

“There is the Champion Stakes (Eng-I) at Newmarket after the Arc but, and I’m even boring myself by saying it, we will just have to see what the ground is like before each race.”

Oxx continued, “Then of course there is Santa Anita, but November 7 is still a long way away. It’s a hell of an ask to keep going that long for a horse that had a Guineas preparation in May and  I’d think it would be the Classic rather than the Turf that we would think about – but it’s such a long way off that we’re not talking about it now.”

Mick Kinane was asked by a reporter when he became aware of Sea The Stars’ potential, Kinane replied, “The very first morning I rode him I said to John we’ve got something special. He’s phenomenal, how easy he can travel no matter what pace they’re going – he’s never in trouble.”

Kinane added, “I haven’t ridden a horse that can do what he can do at any distance – he’s top of the tree.”

Sea The Stars now has won five straight group I races, and has improved his overall record to seven victories from eight starts.

Sea The Stars was bred in Ireland by Sunderland Holdings, and is owned by 27-year-old Christopher Tsui, a nightclub owner from Hong Kong.  Christopher’s father, David, campaigned Sea The Stars’ dam, Urban Sea, throughout her career.

The daughter of Miswaki was not only a multiple group I winner on the racecourse, but also was a tremendous broodmare, producing group I/grade I winners Galileo, Black Sam Bellamy, and My Typhoon, in addition to the Irish Champion winner.

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