Two year olds

Ian Heit­man sees O’Brien bag four ju­ve­nile Group 1 wins as he chases Bobby Frankel’s record

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Ai­dan O’Brien is clos­ing in on Bobby Frankel’s record

Ai­dan O’Brien moved closer to break­ing Bobby Frankel’s record of 25 Group/Grade 1 wins in a cal­en­dar year with six Group 1 vic­to­ries in re­cent weeks, four com­ing from two-yearolds leav­ing him just one short of the record.

It seems just a mat­ter of time be­fore the record is bro­ken and if he hasn’t man­aged to do on Cham­pi­ons Day at As­cot on Oc­to­ber 21st, he will no doubt have a strong hand in the Rac­ing Post Tro­phy at Don­caster on Oc­to­ber 28th and at the Breed­ers’ Cup at Del Mar in Cal­i­for­nia on Novem­ber 3rd and 4th when there are 13 Grade 1 races spread over the two-day meet­ing.

NEW­MAR­KET CAM­BRIDGESHIRE MEET­ING

Churchill got the ball rolling in 2017 with vic­tory in the 2000 Guineas in early May and his full-sis­ter CLEM­MIE be­came the 18th Group 1 win­ner of 2017 when she landed the Cheve­ley Park Stakes at New­mar­ket on Septem­ber 30th, the third day of the Cam­bridgeshire meet­ing.

Be­fore look­ing at day three, there were Group races for two-year-olds on the first two days of the meet­ing with the Group 3 Tat­ter­salls Stakes the fea­ture two-year-old race on the open­ing day. ELARQAM jus­ti­fied strong mar­ket sup­port to main­tain his un­beaten record with a com­fort­able two and a quar­ter length vic­tory from TIP TWO WIN who proved his Don­caster Listed win wasn’t a fluke with a good run to be sec­ond. Elarqam is a good-look­ing colt with a top-class pedi­gree and he has the scope to progress well over the win­ter and de­velop into a Group 1 per­former at three and could be good value at 16/1 for the 2000 Guineas given what hap­pened in the De­whurst a cou­ple of weeks later.

The Group Two Rock­fel Stakes was the one of the fea­ture races on the sec­ond day with NYALETI look­ing to go one bet­ter than her sec­ond in the May Hill Stakes on her pre­vi­ous start and she was the 2/1 favourite to do so. LIGHT­NING QUICK who had made a promis­ing winning de­but at Leop­ard­stown 20 days ear­lier, didn’t im­press in the pad­dock, only medium sized, was sec­ond favourite at 4/1 with GAVOTA (very fit) and BUT­TER­SCOTCH at 5/1.There wasn’t much pace early on, Frankie Det­tori aboard JULIET CAPULET took the lead with five fur­longs to go and she stayed on well in­side the last fur­long, hold­ing off the late chal­lenge from Nyaleti to win by a head with Gavota run­ning on from the rear but hav­ing lit­tle chance in third. This was John Gos­den’s sec­ond win in the race, his only pre­vi­ous win­ner, La­han in 1999 went on to win the 1000 Guineas and whilst this was a good per­for­mance from Juliet Capulet it would be a sur­prise if she were to go to land the 1000 Guineas.

Day three of the Cam­bridgeshire meet­ing got un­der­way with the Group 2 Royal Lodge Stakes and with Ai­dan O’Brien’s run­ners ar­riv­ing late at the course, it was no sur­prise to see pre-race favourite NEL­SON get warm in the pad­dock. He faced four ri­vals with Listed win­ner, MILDENBERGER, and un­beaten ROAR­ING LION his main mar­ket op­po­si­tion. Whereas Nel­son had had an easy lead for his two pre­vi­ous wins, he was taken on by Mildenberger and the pair set a good pace with Roar­ing Lion rac­ing close up in third.As the pace in­creased it was Roar­ing Lion who had the best change of pace and he took the lead a fur­long and a half from the fin­ish and held on well from Nel­son who ran on strongly in­side the last 100 but went down by a neck with Mildenberger in third. Roar­ing Lion was the sec­ond Group win­ner in two days for John Gos­den and a trip to the Breed­ers’ Cup for the Ju­ve­nile Turf could be Roar­ing Lion’s next race, a race Gos­den won in 2008 and 2009. Nel­son is sure to do bet­ter as a three-yearold and will no doubt fig­ure in a Derby trial in the spring.

Fac­ing 10 ri­vals, in­clud­ing Lowther win­ner THREAD­ING and Al­bany win­ner DIF­FER­ENT LEAGUE, Clem­mie was sent off the 15/8 favourite for the Cheve­ley Park Stakes. Rac­ing up with the pace set by TREA­SUR­ING, Clem­mie trav­elled well for Ryan Moore and took the lead with two fur­longs to go but was strongly pressed by Dif­fer­ent League, who trav­elled a lot bet­ter here than she had when third in the Prix Morny on her pre­vi­ous start, and the pair had the race be­tween them in­side the last fur­long with Clem­mie run­ning on strongly in­side the last 100 yards to win by a length and three quar­ters with a length and a half to MADE­LINE in third. Thread­ing never man­aged to land a blow and was sev­enth.

Clem­mie has the same physique as her brother, strong and well-made and she was short­ened to a best priced 7/2 favourite for the 2018 1000 Guineas. A trip to the Breed­ers’ Cup for the Ju­ve­nile Fil­lies Turf could be on the agenda for Clem­mie

where granted a good draw she ought to go well. Even if she does come up short in the Breed­ers’ Cup, she will still be a lead­ing con­tender for the 1000 Guineas. Dif­fer­ent League im­pressed again in the pad­dock be­fore­hand (had done so at Royal As­cot), a big filly by Dabir­sim, she is avail­able at 25/1 for the 1000 Guineas which rep­re­sents good each way value.

Clem­mie was the only O’Brien run­ner in the Cheve­ley Park but he sad­dled four of the 12 run­ners in the Mid­dle Park Stakes 35 min­utes later. SIOUX NA­TION, the mount of Ryan Moore, was the short­est of his quar­tet at 11/2 third favourite. BECK­FORD, who was beaten over 7f on his pre­vi­ous start was the 7/2 favourite to get back to winning ways over 6f with Gim­crack win­ner, SANDS OF MALI split­ting the pair at 9/2. This year’s re­newal of the Mid­dle Park looked to be one of the best in re­cent years with Group 1 win­ner UN­FOR­TU­NATELY, Coven­try win­ner RAJASINGHE and July Stakes win­ner CARDSHARP also in the line-up. De­spite hav­ing a good look to it be­fore hand, the mar­ket lead­ers failed to live up to ex­pec­ta­tions with Beck­ford un­able to chal­lenge in fifth, Sioux Na­tion miss­ing the break and never get­ting too in­volved in sixth and Sands Of Mali run­ning poorly, last of the 12 run­ners. The fin­ish was dom­i­nated by two of the O’Brien run­ners, U S NAVY FLAG and FLEET RE­VIEW who pulled clear of their ri­vals, with U S Navy Flag stay­ing on best of all to win by half a length with a two and a half-length break to Cardsharp who fin­ished third for the third con­sec­u­tive race. Rajasinghe never fig­ured, un­able to go the pace early on and never man­aged to chal­lenge, 11th of the 12 run­ners.

ARC DE TRI­OM­PHE DAY

Two Group 1 races for two-year-olds got Arc de Tri­om­phe day un­der­way at Chan­tilly on Oc­to­ber 1st. The Prix Mar­cel Bous­sac saw seven fil­lies line-up with lit­tle to choose be­tween the mar­ket prin­ci­ples, lo­cally trained POLYDREAM just pre­ferred in the bet­ting at 11/8 to Ai­dan O’Brien’s MAG­I­CAL at 6/4. WILD IL­LU­SION was one of the two 25/1 out­siders but she proved her odds to be com­pletely wrong as she ran out a com­fort­able win­ner. Well placed close to the pace by James Doyle, she was al­ways go­ing nicely and took the lead with two fur­longs to go and stayed on well in­side the last fur­long to win by a length and a half with Polydream run­ning on but never man­ag­ing to chal­lenge. Mag­i­cal didn’t have the clear­est run against the rail in the straight but was only one paced when the gaps did ap­pear in­side the last fur­long.

Wild Il­lu­sion pro­vided Char­lie Ap­pleby with a sec­ond win in the race fol­low­ing Wuheida 12 months ear­lier. She should progress well over the win­ter and is a top priced 20/1 for the 1000 Guineas.

The Prix Jean-Luc La­gardere at­tracted only six run­ners with HAP­PILY bid­ding to be­come the first filly to win the race since

1985 and Ai­dan O’Brien’s first win­ner of the race since 2006.In re­ceipt of 4lb from her five male ri­vals, Hap­pily was the 6/5 favourite and there would have been plenty of anx­ious mo­ments for her sup­port­ers in the straight as she took a long time to get to the front, tak­ing the lead from MASAR in­side the last 75 yards and stayed on well to win by a length and a quar­ter from OLMEDO who got the bet­ter of Masar for sec­ond close home. Hap­pily was the 22nd Group 1 win­ner of the year for O’Brien, his 23rd fol­lowed soon af­ter when Rhodo­den­dron bounced back to form beat­ing sta­ble mate Hy­drangea in the Prix de l’Opera.

FU­TURE CHAM­PI­ONS FES­TI­VAL

Hap­pily was due to face Mag­i­cal and Septem­ber for the third time and sec­ond in Group 1 com­pany, in the Fil­lies Mile at New­mar­ket on Oc­to­ber 13th, the first day of the two-day Fu­ture Cham­pi­ons Fes­ti­val, but was with­drawn in the morn­ing due to a tem­per­a­ture. Ryan Moore switched to ride Mag­i­cal and she re­placed Hap­pily as favourite for the race with Septem­ber next best and French raider EFAADAH at­tract- ing good sup­port to be 11/2 third favourite. Nyaleti and MAGIC LILY (im­pres­sive win­ner of a course and dis­tance maiden 20 days ear­lier) were both avail­able at 8/1. Karl Burke, who has en­joyed a fan­tas­tic year with his two-yearolds sad­dled May Hill win­ner LAURENS and Naas win­ner ELLTHEA. De­spite get­ting a lit­tle warm be­fore­hand, Laurens took the field along and had most of her ri­vals un­der pres­sure with two fur­longs to go. Rac­ing with the stands rail to help, she stayed on well un­der PJ McDon­ald and just held off the late chal­lenge of Septem­ber who fin­ished very strongly un­der Seamie Hef­fer­nan in­side the last 100 yards to win by a nose with Magic Lily run­ning well to be third and Mag­i­cal, who had ev­ery chance, in fourth.

The Fil­lies’ Mile was the most valu­able two-year-old race to be run in Europe and it pro­vided Laurens owner John Dance and jockey PJ McDon­ald with first Group 1 suc­cesses and a sec­ond two-year-old Group 1 of the year for Karl Burke. Laurens has the scope to train on well over the win­ter and is a best priced 20/1 for the 1000 Guineas, how­ever she may go for the French equiv­a­lent due to hav­ing been bred in France and qual­i­fy­ing for lu­cra­tive French pre­mi­ums.

Septem­ber was more suited to the faster ground than she had en­coun­tered on her two pre­vi­ous starts at the Cur­ragh and she can win a Group 1 race at three when the ground is on the quick side. Magic Lily is the first foal of Oaks win­ner Dancing Rain and she could eas­ily progress into an Oaks con­tender in the spring. Mag­i­cal was a bit of dis­ap­point­ment for the sec­ond suc­ces­sive race but she has the scope to come back stronger at as three-year-old.

Day one of the Fu­ture Cham­pi­ons Fes­ti­val be­gan with the Group 3 Corn­wal­lis Stakes over 5f. ABEL HANDY got the bet­ter of favourite SOUND AND SI­LENCE by a neck,t he pair dom­i­nat­ing through­out with MOKAATIL keep­ing on for third hav­ing pulled hard in the early part of the race. Abel Handy was the first Group win­ner for his trainer De­clan Car­roll who had lost his promis­ing two-year-old, Santry, to in­jury in Au­gust.

The Group 2 Oh So Sharp Stakes for fil­lies over 7f at­tracted a field of 14 with Ai­dan O’Brien’s once raced I CAN FLY the

well sup­ported 2/1 favourite hav­ing com­fort­ably won at Dun­dalk a fort­night ear­lier. GAVOTA, who had fin­ished well in the Rock­fel also a fort­night ear­lier, was the 7/2 sec­ond favourite and she looked much bet­ter in the pad­dock be­fore­hand on this oc­ca­sion than she did be­fore the Rock­fel. Dark Rose An­gel who had fin­ished sec­ond to Laurens in the May Hill was 11/2 but she ran poorly this time, weak­en­ing out of con­tention with two fur­longs to go and fin­ish­ing 12th. The field spilt into two groups with the cen­tre group led by But­ter­scotch hav­ing the ad­van­tage. Gavota, who was rid­den much closer to the pace here than in the Rock­fel, took the lead a fur­long and a half from the fin­ish with I Can Fly mak­ing good progress form the rear to have ev­ery chance a fur­long from the line. Gavota looked like hang­ing on but ALTYN ORDA, who got rid of An­drea Atzeni on the way to the start, fin­ished strongly against the stands rail and took the lead close home to win by a neck with I Can Fly a length away in third.

This was Alytn Orda’s first win in three starts, she had fin­ished sec­ond to BYE BYE BABY in a maiden at New­mar­ket on Septem­ber 30th (Bye Bye Baby eas­ily won a Listed race on her next start at Naas) and gave Roger Var­ian a first two-year-old Group win­ner since 2014.Whether Altyn Orda was favoured by rac­ing against the stands rail (plenty of win­ners ben­e­fit­ted from hav­ing the rail to run against over the two-day meet­ing) time will tell, but she clearly has plenty of abil­ity.

The fourth two-year-old race on the card saw Sir Michael Stoute’s VERACIOUS get off the mark at the sec­ond at­tempt com­fort­ably beat­ing new­comer WIN­TER LIGHT­NING by four lengths. Veracious has a good pedi­gree, her dam was Group 1 placed and has al­ready had a Group 2 win­ner in Mu­takayyef and Veracious ought to be fig­ur­ing in Group races in 2018.

The Group 1 De­whurst Stakes is the lead­ing two-year-old race for colts in Bri­tain and this year’s re­newal fea­tured the ante-post favourite for the 2000 Guineas EX­PERT EYE amongst a field of nine. Look­ing in good shape for his first start since winning at Good­wood in Au­gust, Ex­pert Eye was sent off the 4/7 favourite with Mid­dle Park win­ner U S NAVY FLAG one of four run­ners for Ai­dan O’Brien next best at 5/1 and New­bury novice win­ner EMARAATY at 6/1. Ex­pert Eye ran too bad to be true, pulling hard close to the pace set by U S Navy Flag and un­der pres­sure over two fur­longs from the fin­ish be­fore weak­en­ing out of con­tention, trail­ing home last. U S Navy Flag was given a fine ride by Ryan Moore on his first start over 7f, get­ting to the favoured stands rail, he stayed on strongly to beat MEN­DELSSOHN, who bounced back to form af­ter a dis­ap­point­ing run in the Cham­pagne Stakes, by two and half lengths break­ing the two-year-old track record that had stood since 2008 with SEAHENGE, who missed the break and never man­aged to get too in­volved, run­ning on to be third with THREE AND FOURPENCE pro­vid­ing O’Brien with the first four home and edg­ing him one step closer to Bobby Frankel’s Group 1 record. U S Navy Flag was the first horse since Diesis in 1982 to com­plete the Mid­dle Park/De­whurst dou­ble and gave the O’Brien/Moore com­bi­na­tion their third con­sec­u­tive win in the race. US Navy Flag has proved to be very tough and con­sis­tent two-year-old and he was pro­moted to joint favourite for the 2000 Guineas with his sta­ble mate Gus­tav Klimt whilst Ex­pert Eye who lost shoe in the race was pushed out to 10/1. Emaraaty found the step up to Group 1 com­pany too much on just his third start fin­ish­ing eighth but there will be other days for him next year.

De­whurst day got off the per­fect start for O’Brien and Moore when KEW GAR­DENS com­fort­ably won the Listed Zet­land Stakes by three and a quar­ter lengths from DEE EX BEE break­ing the two-yearold track record Coronet had set winning this race 12 months ear­lier.Kew Gar­dens is a best priced 33/1 for the Derby and will no doubt have a cou­ple of runs in tri­als in the spring.

The Group 3 Au­tumn Stakes over a mile saw GHAIYYATH fol­low up his im­pres­sive maiden win at the track 16 days ear­lier when he got the bet­ter of front run­ning DREAM TO­DAY en­ter­ing the fi­nal fur­long and stayed on well to win by a length and three quar­ters with favourite PURSER run­ning on to be third but never chal­leng­ing. Ghaiyyath is big strong colt by Dubawi who should progress well over the win­ter and de­velop into a lead­ing con­tender for the Derby, avail­able at 25/1.

Hav­ing been out of luck with Dream To­day, Mark John­ston took the nurs­ery with joint top weight RU­FUS KING who trav­elled well in the lead against the stands rail but had to work hard in­side the last 150 yards to hold off PORTH SWTAN winning by half a length.

GROUP/LISTED RACES

Ge­orge Scott won his first Bri­tish Group race when JAMES GARFIELD ran out a com­fort­able win­ner of the Group 2 Mill Reef Stakes at New­bury beat­ing INVINICBLE ARMY by three quar­ters of a length. A trip to the Breed­ers’ Cup is on the cards for James Garfield who should be suited by the tight turns of Del Mar.

Red­car’s fea­ture two-year-old race of the year, the Listed Red­car Two-Year-Old Tro­phy, went to 4/1 favourite DARKANNA,

fifth in the Group 1 Cheve­ley Park Stakes on her pre­vi­ous start, who beat FLYING SPARKLE by half a length with FOXTROT LADY run­ning well to be third. This was the first win in the race for Richard Fa­hey who sad­dled eight of the 23 run­ners in this year’s re­newal.

Harry Dunlop has a 26% strike rate with run­ners he sends to France and FIGHT­ING IR­ISH be­came the eighth win­ner the yard has had in France since 2012 when he landed the valu­able Group 2 Cri­terium de Maisons-Laf­fitte on Oc­to­ber 13th. Only three horses lined up for a first prize in ex­cess of £92,000 with Fight­ing Ir­ish keep­ing on strongly to beat fel­low Bri­tish raider Nebo by a head.

York’s fi­nal race day of 2017 had the Listed Rock­ing­ham Stakes over 6f as the fea­ture two-year-old race on the card. SHABAABY, who had im­pressed when winning at Don­caster on his pre­vi­ous start, was the even money favourite. He had ev­ery chance rac­ing close to the pace but couldn’t quicken in­side the last fur­long and was beaten two and a quar­ter lengths by REBEL AS­SAULT who raced promi­nently through­out and got the bet­ter of IT DON’T COME EASY with STAXTON run­ning on in­side the last fur­long to be third.

MAIDEN/NOVICE RACES

Jimmy For­tune brought his ca­reer to an end in the Group 1 Sun Char­iot Stakes at New­mar­ket on Oc­to­ber 7th with a third placed fin­ish aboard Nathra for his for­mer boss John Gos­den. His fi­nal win­ner was also for Gos­den aboard FENNAAN at New­bury on Septem­ber 23rd when he beat SAM GOLD in the first di­vi­sion of a 7f novice (Emaraaty won the other di­vi­sion). Fennaan is a tall leggy colt who didn’t im­press in the pad­dock but he has plenty of abil­ity and should go on from this next year. EPAULEMENT trained by Tom Das­combe has plenty of scope and fin­ished fifth and will do bet­ter next time.

The maiden Ghaiyyath won at New­mar­ket on Septem­ber 28th saw an­other promis­ing Tom Das­combe trained horse run well, PROSCHEMA fin­ished sec­ond, no chance with the win­ner but stayed on well. He is a big colt by Dec­la­ra­tion Of War and, with a win­ter be­hind him, will be a smart three-year-old.

THRAVE got off the mark at the sec­ond at­tempt at New­mar­ket on Septem­ber 29th, beat­ing EL­WAZIR, a good-look­ing colt by Frankel trained by Owen Bur­rows by a length and three quar­ters. There was prom­ise in fifth from REC­OL­LECT who looked as if the run was needed be­fore­hand. He is sure to progress for Luca Cu­mani on his next start.

Richard Hughes hasn’t trained a Listed or Group win­ner as yet but GLEN­DE­VON could be the horse to pro­vide the for­mer cham­pion jockey with a first im­pres­sively winning his sec­ond start at Kemp­ton on Oc­to­ber 11th. Edgy in the pad­dock be­fore­hand, he led all the way un­der Jamie Spencer and eas­ily ac­counted for his 11 ri­vals by up­wards of five lengths run­ning on strongly in­side the last fur­long and a half.

Made­line (in yel­low)

Mildenberger

Clem­mie

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