Autumn leaves and the season‘s climax – Turf Talk: 2 October 2017

Autumn is a time for reflection, but hard work in the bloodstock industry continues.

Autumn is a time for reflection, but hard work in the bloodstock industry continues.

AS the leaves start to turn and spectacular flames of reddish brown burst out amongst England‘s rich green backdrops, thoughts turn to the end of the Turf Season. But not in a winding-down sort of way.

By the end of September, Ireland’s busiest yearling sales are over. Arc Weekend is upon us with a superb Newmarket Day’s Racing eclipsing the Arc weekend’s Saturday. Then we face two solid weeks of Tattersalls Books 1,2 and 3 Yearling Sales, encompassing the most expensive yearlings in Europe and some of the most reasonably priced good ones.

From September until Christmas through yearling, horses in training, foal and breeding stock sales, there is no such thing as a weekend and barely a day off your feet. Selling Days are nuts, having to inspect throughout as horses rotate but dash back and forth to the ring. When you have an hour to sit down and go through lists, or vettings or genetic stuff you savour the sitting part of that passage of play, then wrap the scarf round your neck and head on out again. Turf racing – much of it crucial to careers – continues all over the country through all the yearling and Horses in Training sales.

But right now, let’s try and hit a few targets by looking at Saturday’s racing at Newmarket and dwelling on some of the bloodlines involved.

Readers of recent Monday Columns will have seen some flag waving for INVINCIBLE SPIRIT which worked! A smart looking northern time sired son of his son LAWMAN won well in SA last week. Plus my obsession with bringing ACCLAMATION/DARK ANGEL/EQUIANO blood into the country.

But on Saturday at Newmarket the big transatlantic names dominated the Group 1&2, two-year-old scene.

If the Dewhurst Stakes for juvenile colts (yet to come) is the “championship” race, being 7 furlongs and likely to be won by a proper Classic aspirant – like FENCING MASTER, a neck shy of winning it the year before FRANKEL did, who stands at Hemel ‘n Aarde Stud and is siring stunning foals – the Middle Park is the 6 furlong version.

KZN’s CRUSADE won it in 2011. Other relatively recent winners now at stud would infuse South Africa with fresh speed: the superb DARK ANGEL himself (Acclamation), DUTCH ART (by Medicean, who sired a mare I grabbed at a 2016 CTS Sale of imports, trying to look casual), CHARMING THOUGHT (Oasis Dream) and the brilliant SHALAA (Invincible Spirit).

Medicean by Machiavellian - grab his mares

Medicean by Machiavellian – grab his mares

On Saturday, the Coolmore owning Team farmed the Middle Park with a 1-2 demonstrating that they have found the right sire to whom to send some from their battalions of Galileo mares.

Trans-Atlantic travel is routine with no quarantines East to West and normal export quarantine West to East. Coolmore has beautiful Ashford Stud in Lexington – there is no more beautiful place to see Autumn Leaves by the way – where so many of those who have up-and-come in the industry have done their time. So it is a no-brainer to send Galileo mares to visit the fabulous Danzig horse WAR FRONT at Claiborne.

US NAVY FLAG – one such product – won the Middle Park on Saturday and will probably keep sprinting at 3. Second was another on the same cross, FLEET REVIEW, but if you don’t hold by stallion “nicks” there will be an in-depth amalgam of female genes in there to explain what is going on.

War Command by War Front - winner of the Coventry Stakes and Dewhurst Stakes at 2

War Command by War Front – winner of the Coventry Stakes and Dewhurst Stakes at 2

Meanwhile, if WAR FRONTs would be difficult to get to South Africa, keep an eye on his son WAR COMMAND. His first crop yearlings have sold pretty well so far and I haven‘t seen a bad one – although I am perhaps biased having bred a WAR COMMAND filly for a client who will come to the sales at Tattersalls “December” Yearling Sales, perversely in late November.

Third was a real pot-pourri of suffixes called CARDSHARP (GB), out of Pure Illusion (IRE) a Danehill (USA) mare having been flown back after covering by LONRHO (AUS) at Jonabell (Darley America).

A filly person like this writer was geared up to see the girls in the Cheveley Park Stakes Group 1 for juvenile fillies. The field included the progeny of HAVANA GOLD, doing very well, FRANKEL, not doing badly either, DARK ANGEL and KYLLACHY (a speedy broodmare sire for South Africa without his sire PIVOTAL’s knees). It also concluded a bit of a curiosity – a GALILEO going 6 furlongs.

This GALILEO demonstrated some ambivalence in naming in the Coolmore camp. She is the sister of a top class colt, but named for his wife. “CLEMMIE” is immediately recognised as Lady Clementine Churchill, but is own sister to Ballydoyle’s CHURCHILL, if not to Sir Winston.

CLEMMIE won this convincingly, with 6 furlongs surely a shorter “extra bonus” to what could be another glittering Group 1 career at a mile and more.

Clemmie wins the Cheveley Park.

Clemmie wins the Cheveley Park.

The Royal Lodge (Group 2) is 1 mile for 2 year old colts, won at the weekend by ROARING LION. a son of KITTEN’S JOY out of a STREET SENSE mare. Bought for Qatari interests at Keeneland and flown over to England, she is trained by John Gosden in whose charge the magnificent 3 year old filly ENABLE (first crop of NATHANIEL) will start the Arc a warm favourite after this piece is put to bed.

In beating a FRANKEL (the Group 3 winning NELSON, half brother to Derby Second US ARMY RANGER), this fellow reminded us that the sire of Moutonshoek Stud’s ADMIRAL KITTEN might himself transfer from America (where he has conquered) to Europe where he also has great success.

After all, ROARING LION won a mile on easy ground. Perhaps the SADLER’S WELLS stuff is coming through KITTEN’S JOY’s sire, EL PRADO, the fastest son of the great stallion.

After the 35 runner Cambridgeshire – featured a year or so ago in these columns – it was time for us to run our HINTLESHAM RACING horse ICE LORD, whose Ascot win was featured a couple of weeks ago.

Recently 3rd and 1st at Newmarket and Ascot, taking us to great places, he ran a blinder yesterday to be 2nd of 18 to (surely) a Group horse in MAKZEEM, a MAKFI half brother to triple Group 1 winner AL KAZEEM.

It was a good day. Sometimes having been around for a long time can help and our team of shareholders were delighted to be given lunch in the Royal Box and the use of the place for the afternoon. Good view! – tt.

Fran Berry debriefs with David after Saturday's run by Ice Lord.

Fran Berry debriefs with David after Saturday’s run by Ice Lord.