Tag Archives: goldikova

Canford Cliffs Cruises in Lockinge Stakes

***This article also appeared on the Bloodhorse.com 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 totesport.com 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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‘Goldi’ Locks Up Prix Jacques Le Marois

Goldikova continued her march to the Breeders’ Cup World Thoroughbred Championships with another powerful performance, this time taking the Prix du Haras de Fresnay-Le-Buffard Jacques Le Marois (Fr-I) at Deauville Aug. 16 by a rousing six lengths.

The Jacques Le Marois victory marked the sixth career group/grade I win for the 4-year-old filly, and was her third straight group I win this year.

The Jacques Le Marois shaped up as a tough renewal, with four other group I winners—Virtual, Never On Sunday, Silver Frost, and Gladiatorus–lining up to face Goldikova.  After delaying the start of the race for several minutes due to her reluctance to load into the gate, Goldikova broke sharply under regular rider Olivier Peslier and settled comfortably in third behind Only Green and Aqlaam.

Only Green, who was entered as a pacemaker for Goldikova, began to fade with over three furlongs to go, so Peslier allowed Goldikova to take command of the race earlier than expected.

With a couple of taps from Peslier’s whip, Goldikova began to draw off in the final two furlongs, eventually crossing the line six lengths in front of Aqlaam.  The margin of victory was the largest ever recorded in the race.  Virtual, under Jimmy Fortune, put in a mild rally to finish third, five lengths behind Aqlaam.

Silver Frost, Never On Sunday, and Gladiatorus were never factors in the race, finishing sixth, seventh, and eighth, respectively.

Final time for the eight furlongs was 1:33.5, which knocked a full second off the stakes record, set by Northjet in 1981.

Trainer Freddie Head heaped plenty of praise on his star filly, suggesting after the race that she is even better than Miesque, whom he rode to back-to-back victories in 1987 and 1988 in the Breeders’ Cup Mile (gr. IT).

“I think she is superior to Miesque as she is better in the head. She has always been a little naughty at the stalls and that is the only fault she has,” Head told the Racing Post following the race.

Regarding future plans, Head told reporters, “We need to discuss where she goes, but I am favoring bypassing the [Prix du] Moulin [de Longchamp (Fr-I) on September 6] and going for the [Total] Prix de la Foret [(Fr-I) on October 3]. The Breeders’ Cup is now in November, so it is later this year and it will be hard for her to keep her form.”

Head continued, “I want to give her a little rest, and the Foret fits in well before the Breeders’ Cup. She might make it look easy but she has still had a race.”

Goldikova was bred in Ireland by her owners, Alain and Gerard Wertheimer.  She is by the recently deceased French stallion Anabaa, out of Born Gold, by Blushing Groom.  She hails from the immediate female family of French champion Gold River.

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Goldikova Headlines Prix Jacques Le Marois

Goldikova takes another step towards a defense of her Breeders’ Cup Mile (gr. IT) title when she lines up against eight other rivals in the Prix du Haras de Fresnay-Le-Buffard Jacques Le Marois (Fr-I) at Deauville Aug. 16.

The 4-year-old daughter of Anabaa enters the one mile contest off an impressive victory in the Prix Rothschild (Fr-I) on Aug. 2.  Prior to that race, Goldikova also captured the Etihad Airways Falmouth Stakes (Eng-I) at Newmarket.  Both of these wins came after a disappointing seventh-place finish in the Prix d’Ispahan (Fr-I) in her seasonal debut.

Goldikova will be facing some tough competition on Sunday, with four fellow group I winners in the line up.  Gladiatorus enters the Jacques Le Marois with some impressive credentials, having been rated the top horse in the world after his commanding victory in the Dubai Duty Free (UAE-I) at Nad al Sheba in March.

Making his first start wearing the Godolphin blue, Gladiatorus finished a well-beaten sixth to Paco Boy in the Queen Anne Stakes (Eng-I) at Royal Ascot in June.  Given time off since then, Gladiatorus looks to continue the recent upswing of the Godolphin runners.  The stable has been on a hot streak of late, notching 19 wins (three of them in stakes) in England and capturing two grade I races in North America since August 1.

Another contender who enters off of a layoff is the Jean-Claude Rouget trainee, Never On Sunday.  The 4-year-old son of Sunday Break will be returning to a mile after a good third to Vision d’Etat in the ten furlong Prince of Wales’s Stakes (Eng-I) at Royal Ascot.  Never On Sunday notched his first group I victory when taking the Prix d’Ispahan over Goldikova earlier this season.

The fourth group I victor in the field is Silver Frost, a 3-year-old son of Verglas who captured the Poule d’Essai des Poulains (Fr-I) this past spring.  The connections of the French classic winner then tried to stretch him out, running him in the 11-furlong Prix du Jockey-Club (Fr-I), where he finished a lackluster sixth.  Reverting back to a mile, Silver Frost looks to be a major competitor here.

The John Gosden-trained Virtual took the Juddmonte Lockinge Stakes (Eng-I) by a nose over Alexandros in a thrilling blanket finish.  The Cheveley Park homebred also reverts back to his best distance after finishing unplaced in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes.

There are some other contenders who could possibly upset things in the race.  Aqlaam, a son of Oasis Dream trained by William Haggas, has been knocking on the door in group I company all season.  The bay colt won the totesport.com Summer Mile (Eng-II) in his last start.

Irian, a German-bred 3-year-old colt conditioned by top trainer Jens Hirschberger, has won three of four lifetime starts, including the Mehl-Muhlens-Rennen [German 2,000 Guineas] (Ger-II) in May.

The field is rounded out by outsiders Runaway and Only Green, a stablemate of Goldikova who usually sets the pace for her more illustrious entry mate.

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