Ian Heitman reviews the leading juvenile action
As the Flat season moves into the autumn, twoyear-old racing really takes off with 11 of the 13 Group 1 races for juveniles being run from September, culminating in France in November.
Two of the Group 1 races have taken place, the Phoenix Stakes and the Prix Morny, which was run after this was written.
The Phoenix Stakes was run at the Curragh on August 8th and attracted a field of eight, with five of them having met in the Group 2 Railway Stakes six weeks earlier. Go Bears Go won that day and he was well supported to provide his trainer, David Loughnane, with a first Group 1 winner. De Zempf, fourth in the Railway, was the second favourite ahead of Castle Star, second in the Railway. Despite Aidan O’Brien’s excellent record in the race, 12 winners since 1998, his pair, Prettiest and The Entertainer, were relatively unfancied at 10/1 and 50/1 respectively.
As well as Go Bears Go making the trip across the Irish Sea, Hugo Palmer sent Ebro River who was having his seventh start of the season and was a 12/1 chance.
Go Bears Go broke well from the stalls but his jockey, Rossa Ryan, was happy to race in touch with the pace set by Ebro River and The Entertainer. The pace increased with two and a half furlongs to go, Go Bears Go and Dr Zempf made good progress to challenge Ebro River, while Castle Star, who had been patiently ridden in the rear of the field, made progress on the outside and entering the final furlong all four had a chance of winning.
Ebro River, who had been wayward in some of his previous races, ran straight this time with the rail to run against and he responded well to Shane Foley’s riding, running on well inside the last 75 yards to beat Dr Zempf by three quarters of a length with Go Bears Go a further head away in third. The betting suggested the two O’Brien runners weren’t anything special and that proved to be the case as they filled the final two places.
Ebro River provided Hugo Palmer with a first Group 1 winner since
Galileo Gold, the sire of Ebro River, won the 2016 St James’s Palace
A rematch between the first four could take place in the remaining Group 1 over 6f, the Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket on September 25th.
Qatar Goodwood Festival
Ebro River gave the form of the Group 2 Richmond Stakes at the Qatar Goodwood Festival a massive boost. A slow early pace in that 6f race saw the field sprint for the line with a couple of furlongs to go, Asymmetric came out on top by half a length from Khunan and Gubbass, giving Alan King a week to remember as Asymmetric was his first Group winning two-year-old and earlier in the week, Trueshan provided him with a first Group 1 win in the Goodwood Cup.
The Middle Park will no doubt be the target for Asymmetric, whilst Gubbass and , fifth in the Richmond, both had entries in the Group 2 Gimcrack Sakes at York which took place after this was written.
The first of the two Group 2 races at Goodwood, the Vintage Stakes was run over 7f and it saw Berkshire Shadow have his first start since winning the Group 2 Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot. Sent off the 13/8 favourite on his first try over 7f, he was held up in midfield by Oisin Murphy and just struggled for a few strides to pick up on the soft ground as pacesetting Austrian Theory increased the pace with a couple of furlongs to go. Angel Bleu, who had finished second in a Listed race at Ascot only three days earlier, travelled well for Frankie Dettori racing close to the pace and despite hanging right for the second time, he took the lead with 150 yards to go. Berkshire Shadow stayed on strongly inside the final furlong but it was too late to catch Angel Bleu who recorded a three-quarters of a length victory with Austrian Theory running well in third.
Angel Bleu could be aimed at the Group 1 Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket in October but will need to improve further to win the most prestigious two-year-old race in Britain.
Berkshire Shadow will be winning again before too long, he had an entry in the Gimcrack Stakes. Austrian Theory should also be winning again before too long, the Group 2 Champagne Stakes at Doncaster’s St Leger meeting looks the ideal race for him.
The best two-year-old performance at Goodwood came from Armor in the Group 3 Molecomb Stakes run over 5f. Racing close to the pace against the stands rail, Armor took the lead from front running Boonie with 150 yards to go and stayed on strongly to win by three and a quarter lengths from favourite Fearby.
Armor will have no problem stepping to 6f and is already favourite for the Group 1 Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket. He could have a run before then in the Group 2 Flying Childers Stakes at Doncaster.
Later on the Molecomb card at Goodwood was another 5f race, this time restricted to fillies, favourite, Illustrating won easily, beating Anadora by two and three quarter lengths. She is a useful filly and looks set to make her mark in Group races over the coming weeks.
Three maidens and two nurseries were the other juvenile races at the meeting. Sisters In The Sky provided Hollie Doyle with the third leg of a treble on the opening day winning the 6f maiden by a length from Monet’s Sunrise who ran really well on his debut.
The first nursery went to Aswan who got off the mark the fourth attempt for Simon & Ed Crisford, beating a couple of outsiders.
Wilderness Girl was a comfortable winner of the 7f fillies maiden, leading trainer and jockey at the meeting, Andrew Balding and William Buick, teaming up for this comfortable win. Fourth placed, Typewriter, also trained by Balding has won since.
Ever Given, the 4/1 favourite for the 6f nursery on day four, was an easy winner, beating top weight Jadhlaan by two- and three-quarter lengths.
Newcomers dominated the final two-year-old race of the meeting, a 7f maiden which saw the first four all making their debuts. Imperial Fighter, another from the Andrew Balding yard, stayed on well to beat Ring Of Beara from the Richard Hughes yard by two and a half lengths with Capital Theory running well in third for Mark Johnston.
The ante-post favourite for the 2022 Derby, Point Lonsdale, extended his unbeaten record to three with a comfortable win in the Group 3 Tyros Stakes at Leopardstown on July 22nd, only having to be pushed out inside the last furlong by Ryan Moore to win by three lengths. There will be tougher races for Point Lonsdale over the next couple of months but he has done little wrong so far.
Earlier on the Leopardstown card, Agartha broke her maiden at the
fifth attempt when leading all the way in the Group 3 Silver Flash Stakes beating Juncture by two- and threequarter lengths with Seisai half a length away in third. Seisai won his next start, the Listed Coolmore Stud Churchill Stakes at Tipperary on August 6th, leading inside the final furlong and holding off Tuwaiq by half a length.
While not a Group or Listed race, the Ballyhane Stakes at Naas had €300,000 on offer with the winner collecting €148,500, €1,000 more than Ebro River’s connections won in the Phoenix Stakes. Ever Given made a quick reappearance following his Goodwood win, he was one of five British raiders in the 22-runner line-up. Sacred Bridge, a Listed winner on her second start was the 15/8 favourite to remain unbeaten.
The field were spread across the track but it was horses who raced towards the stands side than fought out the finish, Sacred Bridge leading inside the last 100 yards to beat Bosh by half a length, 50/1 shot Ultramarine finished well to take third, whilst Ever Given was first of the group that raced in the centre, finishing fourth.
Sacred Bridge will no doubt be aimed at the Group 1 Cheveley Park Stakes at Newmarket on September 25th, a race her trainer Ger Lyons won in 2011 with Lightening Pearl. Bosh ran well to be second and he looks capable of winning a Group race this year for Richard Hannon, the Tattersalls Stakes at Newmarket on September 23rd looks the ideal race for him.
Head Mistress continued to good form of the Ger Lyons trained twoyear-olds when she won the Listed Curragh Stakes on August 13th, finishing well on the outside of the field and running down long-time leader Loveday close to the finish.
There are plenty of Group and Listed races run at Deauville’s summer meeting. Two Group 3 races took place on August 3rd, the Prix de Cabourg and Prix Six Perfections. Having finished in front of subsequent Group 1 winner, Ebro River, in the July Stakes, Sam Maximus was a strong favourite in the Prix de Cabourg. He set out to lead all the way but was headed with a furlong and a half to go and was only beaten a length in fourth behind Have A Good Day, Dizzy Bizu and Trident.
Zellie was sent off 4/5 favourite for the Prix Six Perfections having won easily on her previous start. She faced a couple of useful opponents from Britain, once-raced winner Daneh and Oscula who was having her sixth start of the season. Ryan Moore gave
Oscula an excellent front running ride, quickening with a couple of furlongs to go and having enough in hand at the finish win by a length and a half from Zellie who having been well placed early was shuffled to the rear of the field before running on strongly. Daneh lost her chance with a slow start, doing well to finish third. Oscula provided her trainer, George Boughey, with a first Group winner.
Twilight Gleaming, second in the Queen Mary Stakes at Royal Ascot for US trainer Wesley Ward, made the journey back across the Atlantic for the Listed Prix de la Vallee d’Auge over 5f. Frankie Dettori, who has ridden plenty of winners for Ward, was onboard for the first time and they led all the way, strongly pressed by Delmona from the Tom Dascombe yard in the final furlong and a half, a neck the winning margin.
The Deauville run was a drop-in class for Delmona who had finished third in the Group 3 Princess Margaret Stakes at Ascot a fortnight earlier. She had every chance in that 6f race, making progress from midfield to lead a furlong and a half from the finish but run out of it close to the finish beaten a nose and a neck by Zain Claudette and Desert Dreamer.
Zain Claudette was a first Group winner for her jockey Ray Dawson who should lose his claim in the next couple of months. Zain Claudette and Desert Dreamer were being targeted at the Group 2 Lowther Stakes at York’s Ebor meeting.
Earlier on the Ascot card, New Science bounced back from a disappointing run at Royal Ascot to win the Listed Pat Eddery Stakes beating subsequent Vintage Stakes winner Angel Bleu by a length. There is more to come from New Science when he runs in Group company next time.
There wasn’t too much rest for Delmona as she was one of 17 runners for the Listed St Hugh’s Stakes at Newbury six days later. Well supported in the market, Delmona was sent off the 2/1 favourite. She had every chance racing close to the pace set by Attagirl, who had finished down the field in the Princess Margaret on her previous run. Attagirl was still in front a furlong from the finish, Delmona, under strong pressure from Adam Kirby, made progress and looked like reeling in the long-time leader who got tired inside the last 100 and edged right towards the stands rail. Tardis, who had been patiently ridden towards the rear of the field by Oisin Murphy, had four lengths to make up entering the final furlong, picked up really well and collared Attagirl in the final strides with Delmona a length away in third.
The second day of Newbury’s twoday meeting in mid-August saw the Denford Stud Stakes take place. 6/4 joint favourites, Masekela and Bayside Boy had a great tussle inside the final furlong, Masekela just getting the verdict by a head with a two-length
New Science bounced back from a disappointing run at Royal Ascot to win the Listed Pat Eddery Stakes
gap to Robjon in third.
The Group 3 Sweet Solera Stakes over 7f at Newmarket on August 7th was a weak race for the grade, favourite Wild Beauty was the highest rated on 94. She had every chance racing close to the pace set by previous course winner, Value Theory. Another course winner, Majestic Glory, who tracked Value Theory, made progress with a couple of furlongs to go and she took the lead over a furlong from the finish and held off the challenge of Wild Beauty inside the final 100 yards to win by a length with Value Theory keeping on in third.
Majestic Glory was the fifth Group winning two-year-old for Andrew Balding and the sixth Group winner of 2021 for jockey David Probert who is having an excellent year. Majestic Glory went up 19lb in the handicap to 100 following this win and will have races such as the Group 2 Rockfel Stakes and Group 1 Fillies Mile on her agenda later in the season.
The Group 3 Prix Francois Boutin at Deauville on August 15th went to Who Knows who led all the way and just held of the challenge of Oneforthegutter who ran really well for Ian Williams with another British raider, The Wizard Of Eye from the Stan Moore yard running on well to be third.
Two of the most expensive yearlings sold at the Tattersalls Book One Yearling Sale made their debuts on August 6th and 8th respectively. Hafit, who was sold for 2.1 million guineas made a winning debut in a newcomer’s race at Newmarket showing a good attitude to lead inside the last 100 yards to beat Razzle Dazzle by half a length with three and a half lengths back to the third Claim The Crown. The Autumn Stakes at Newmarket on Future Champions Day, October 9th, was mentioned by Hatif’s trainer, Charlie Appleby as his next race.
History, who was sold for 2.8 million guineas, ran well at the Curragh in a fillies race over 7f, racing close to the pace, she was no match for winner, Cairde Go Deo inside the last furlong beaten four and a half lengths. The winner, trained by Ger Lyons, looks a smart prospect and with entries at Newmarket later in the season, she is one to look forward too. It won’t be long before Aidan O’Brien finds a race for History who certainly showed enough on her debut to suggest she is above average.
Ehraz might not have had too much to beat to get off the mark on his second start, a 6f maiden at Ascot on July 23rd. A standout in the paddock beforehand, Ehraz travelled strongly for Jim Crowley, leading a furlong and a half from the finish and only having to be pushed out to beat Buoyant by four and a quarter lengths. Buoyant was a shade of odds-on on his next start at Salisbury on August 11th but he found another Shadwell owned runner too good, Ribhi, who made an impres
sive winning debut for Marcus Tregoning. Westover looked a useful prospect winning on his debut at Sandown on August 5th, keeping on well inside the final 100 yards to beat Bullet Force by a length and a quarter providing Ralph Beckett his 12th twoyear-old winner of the year.
Two days later at Newmarket, Girls On Firm provided Beckett with his 13th juvenile winner in a race for unraced fillies. She finished strongly from the rear, leading inside the last 150 yards and drew clear to win by a length and a half from Bellstreet Bridie.
Persist is the first foal out of Group 1 winner, Persuasive, and she made her debut at Newbury on August 13th over 6f. She ran on well to be fourth but never challenged, a step up in trip will see her get off the mark next time. Dubai Jewel carried penalty to victory, just holding off newcomers Clitheroe, who looked in good shape beforehand, and Hamseh, who also took the eye in the paddock.
Two divisions of 7f novice followed the fillies novice with the first going to 125/1 outsider Island Bandit who won well from Park Street. Fourth placed, Unilateralism looked fit and well beforehand, and he stayed on well to be fourth and will get a lot more involved next time.
Only one of the 14 runners in division two had run before, Oh Herberts Reign and he put his experience to good use, only finding Alotaibi too strong inside the final furlong who won by half a length for John & Thady Gosden. He looked pretty fit in the paddock beforehand and might need a few weeks before his next race to put on some condition. Wanees who finished sixth, was very green in the paddock and wasn’t given a hard time by Jim Crowley in the final couple of furlongs. He should be a lot sharper next time.
Island Bandit wasn’t the only twoyear-old to win at 125/1 on August
13th, Maybe Even Never in the 6f novice at Thirsk was Nigel Tinkler’s first winning newcomer since 2011.
It is hard to believe it was 11 years ago that Frankel made his debut at Newmarket. Coroebus won the corresponding race this year, a newcomer from the Charlie Appleby yard, he raced prominently throughout and saw off the challenge of Saga, who had the benefit of racecourse experience, to win by a length and a quarter with five lengths to the third, Splendent. Coroebus has entries in the Group 2 Champagne Stakes and Royal Lodge Stakes in September.
The Champagne Stakes is one of three two-year-old races at Doncaster’s St Leger meeting which begins on September 8th. John Gosden has been the leading trainer of two-yearolds at the meeting since 2011, nine winners from 29 runners, three of the winners coming from five runners in nurseries. Richard Hannon leads the way in the Group 2 contests, five winners from 21 runners, while Charlie Hills and Saeed bin Suroor have been the trainers to follow in the maidens each winning three times from five and four runners respectively.