Bonfire showed off his Derby credentials in the Dante
Tue, 22 May 2012
The flat season is really hotting up both at home and abroad, with Classics across the globe earning both runners and sires alike a place in the history books.
As far as Hollywood movie plots go, the tale of an $11,000 yearling bidding for the American Triple Crown wouldn’t be a bad one. I’ll Have Another, who ran down the favourite Bodemeister earlier this month in the Kentucky Derby, again turned over his old foe in Saturday’s Preakness Stakes to win by a neck.
The son of Flower Alley now looks set to bid for the elusive Tripe Crown, which hasn’t been won since Harbor View Farm’s Affirmed and Steve Cauthen claimed the title in 1978. The third leg has proven notoriously difficult to conquer for contenders in recent years however, with four horses, War Emblem, Funny Cide, Smarty Jones and most recently Big Brown all having been poised to take the Triple Crown since the turn of the Millenium. Smarty Jones, by Elusive Quality, came the closest when beaten just a length into second by Birdstone.
Back home trials continued for the middle leg of the domestic Triple Crown, as York’s Dante Festival held the Group 2 Derby trial of the same name, and the Musidora Stakes for Oaks hopefuls. Highclere’s Pocahontas syndicate celebrated victory in the former with their Manduro colt Bonfire, making his seasonal debut after finishing just 1¾ lengths third to 2,000 Guineas runner-up French Fifteen in last year’s Criterium International. With the latter held by Ballydoyle’s biggest hope for 2012 Camelot in the 2,000 Guineas, and the Dante not having supplied a Derby winner since Authorized in 2007, the odds will still remain stacked against Andrew Balding’s charge come June 2ndhowever.
On Wednesday the dual Classic-winning team of John Gosden and William Buick beat Ballydoyle’s Twirl in the Group 3 Musidora. Buick’s mount The Fugue, a daughter of Dansili from the family of Champion 3yo Compton Admiral, produced a blistering turn of foot to lead over two furlongs from home, crossing the line 4½ lengths clear Galileo’s daughter. The winning filly certainly seems more at home over a longer trip than her champion miler sire, with connections no doubt hoping to improve on her fourth in this month’s 1,000 Guineas.
The pair also enjoyed victory the following day in the Group 2 Middleton Stakes, with last year’s Oaks third Izzi Top notching up her second win of the campaign. The race, a ten furlong event for mares and fillies, was won by her dam Zee Zee Top in 2003.
Deep Impact, the son of legendary Japanese sire Sunday Silence, is continuing to enjoy a stellar season from his Shadai Stallion Station base. Standing his first season in 2007, 2012 sees his second Classic crop hit the tracks – and they’re certainly making their mark. Last month’s Oka Sho (Japanese 1,000 Guineas) winner Gentildonna beat 17 contenders in Sunday’s Yushun Himba (Japanese Oaks), leaving her closest rival and Guineas runner-up Verxina five lengths adrift at the line. Gentildonna continues the trend for top fillies by Deep Impact, following Beauty Parlour’s Poule d’Essai des Pouliches win earlier this month, and first crop daughter Marcellina’s Oka Sho victory last year.
Four-time Group 1 winner Campanologist, retired from racing earlier this year, is to stand at Gestut Fahrhof in 2013. The son of Kingmambo won 11 races in total, competing both in Europe and further afield for the Godolphin operation.
Last but most certainly not least, Galileo’s star produce Frankel made it a perfect ten at Newbury on Saturday with a trademark demolition job of the Lockinge field. A field of six set off down Newbury’s straight mile, including stablemate and half-brother Bullet Train acting as a pacemaker. Doing a sterling job, Ian Mongan’s mount set a steady pace for Frankel, who sat quietly behind before regular rider Tom Queally hit the button two furlongs from home, the pair promptly leaving the rest standing to record a five length victory. It was a fourth defeat by Frankel for Excelebration, who was making a first outing for Aidan O’Brien.