Weekend global stakes review

A thrilling weekend of top-level contests where Enable and Winx were among the stars to cement their place in history

Enable and Frankie Dettori hold off the on-rushing Sea Of Class to win back-to-back runnings of the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe – Photo: George Selwyn

Khalid Abdullah’s Enable confirmed herself one of the greatest racemares of recent times as the daughter of Nathaniel held off the fast-finishing Sea Of Class to land back-to-back victories in the Group 1 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe on Sunday.

The odds were against Enable and Frankie Dettori, as no previous Arc winner had landed the contest having had only one run that season.

Breaking from stall six, Dettori soon had Enable racing behind the leaders while James Doyle took his punishment from stall 15 and settled Sea Of Class at the back of the 19-runner field.

As Enable made her bid for glory, Sea Of Class was brought with a terrific charge by Doyle, having weaved through from the rear, but the line came just in time for the John Gosden-trained Enable, who held on by a short-neck.

Sea Of Class’s trainer William Haggas was able to go one better later in the day, when Pierre-Charles Boudot delivered One Master to fend off the challenges of Inns Of Court and Dutch Connection to take the Group 1 Prix de la Foret.

Godolphin celebrated a brace of Group 1s on the card, which was started by Royal Marine taking the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere for trainer Saeed Bin Suroor and jockey Oisin Murphy.

It was a result to celebrate for Kildangan Stud resident Raven’s Pass, as Royal Marine became his first top-level winner.

Later on the card it was the turn of the Charlie Appleby-trained Wild Illusion to follow up her victory in the Nassau Stakes when justifying favouritism in the Prix de l’Opera.

Michael Dods, best known for training superstar sprinter Mecca’s Angel, has another star speedster on his hands in the shape of Mabs Cross, who secured a narrow success in the Group 1 Prix de l’Abbaye.

The opening elite level contest on the card produced a surprise result when the Francis Vermeulen-trained Lily’s Candle took the Prix Marcel Boussac.

It represented a magnificent return for her new owners, who had parted with €390,000 at the Arqana Arc Sale on Saturday to secure the daughter of Style Vendome.

Fifth top-level winner for Frankel

There was only one elite contest at Longchamp on Saturday, the 2m4f Prix du Cadran, which went the way of the Freddy Head-trained Call The Wind.

Call The Wind takes out the Prix du Cadran at Paris Longchamp on Saturday – Photo: George Selwyn

That victory saw the gelding become the fifth individual Group/Grade 1 winner that Banstead Manor Stud’s Frankel has supplied since retiring to stud, joining Soul Stirring, Cracksman, Mozu Ascot and Without Parole.

Winx leaves it late

Winx, the darling of Australian racing, continued her astonishing unbeaten run on Saturday but not before giving her adoring fans a scare in the Group 1 Turnbull Stakes (1m2f) at Flemington.

Three furlongs from home it looked as if the wonder mare had too much ground to make up but her jockey Hugh Bowman remained motionless in his saddle, seemingly not panicked by the situation.

As the gaps began to open, he urged the daughter of Street Cry forward and she duly responded with her trademark turn of foot, going on to score by a length and make it 28 consecutive wins.

Winx and Hugh Bowman return after recording their 28th consecutive win in the Turnbull Stakes – Photo: Bronwen Healy

Over at Randwick, the Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes (1m2f) was the feature and last season’s Sydney champion apprentice Rachel King partnered her first Group 1 winner when Maid Of Heaven took top honours.

The victory was also trainer Mark Newnham’s first major race winner and made even more special by the fact that Maid Of Heaven became only the second filly ever to beat the colts in the contest, following Yankee Rose in 2016.

Savvy Coup dominates Livamol

Savvy Coup had caught the eye of many when finishing second in the Windsor Park Plate last month and the daughter of Savabeel confirmed that run was no fluke when an impressive two-length winner of the Group 1 Livamol Classic (1m2f) at Hastings.

This was Savvy Coup’s first win since landing the New Zealand Oaks last season and she now looks set to take on brilliant mare Winx in the Cox Plate later this month.

Laurens lands fifth Group 1

There is no tougher filly in training than Laurens and John Dance’s pride and joy captured her fifth Group 1 with a typically game performance in the Kingdom of Bahrain Sun Chariot Stakes at Newmarket.

Taking the lead off Happily after a furlong, Laurens and Danny Tudhope always look to be travelling better than their rivals in the mile contest and though Happily rallied near the line, the daughter of Siyouni held on to score by a head to provide another big-race success for the Karl Burke stable.

Those racing to the fore held sway, with Altyn Orda doing best of the remainder in third, while French fancy Wind Chimes was a particular disappointment, Andre Fabre’s filly struggling from some way out, coming home a tailed-off last of the nine runners.

Significant rain before racing saw the Ascot ground change from good to firm to soft, which resulted in a slew of non-runners at the Berkshire track.

Laraaib had not been seen since finishing tailed off at Newmarket’s July Meeting but the son of Pivotal bounced back to form with a gutsy victory in the Group 3 Cumberland Lodge Stakes.

Trainer Owen Burrows now has his team in rude health after a difficult period earlier in the season and Laraaib appeared to relish the ease in the going and the 12-furlong trip, being sent on with two furlongs to run by Jim Crowley and keeping on bravely to defeat Communique by half a length.

The Group 3 Bengough Stakes cut up badly, with only four of the eight runners declared going to post for the six-furlong prize.

Projection, a five-year-old gelding by Acclamation, coped best with the testing conditions under an ice-cool Kieran Shoemark, who produced his mount at the right time to get the better of favourite Dream Of Dreams by a neck.

Outsiders prevail at Keeneland

The most valuable race on Saturday’s Keeneland card was the $1 million Grade 1 Shadwell Turf Mile Stakes, but the favourites were nowhere to be seen at the business end as victory went to 23-1 chance Next Shares (Archarcharch) under Tyler Gaffalione.

Sitting sixth on the rail behind a contested early pace, Gaffalione secured a dream run up the inside as the leaders turned for home and Next Shares quickened up when asked to put the race to bed quickly, staying on strongly to score by three and a quarter lengths from 82-1 outsider Great Wide Open, formerly trained by Charles O’Brien in Ireland.

There was an even bigger upset in the Grade 1 Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity (1m110yds, dirt) for two-year-olds as Knicks Go (Paynter) made very yard of the running under Albin Jimenez to take the prize at odds of 70-1 for trainer Ben Colebrook.

Lambourn trainer Ed Walker sent Indian Blessing over to Keeneland for the Grade 1 First Lady Stakes (1m, turf), securing the services of former British-based jockey Fergal Lynch.

Settled towards the rear of the nine-runner field, Indian Blessing ran on well to secure third but was unable to get to grips with ex-German mare A Raving Beauty (Mastercraftsman), who led all the way under John Velazquez, defeating Dona Bruja by a head.

A day later at Keeneland, Blue Prize and Joe Bravo took the feature Grade 1 Juddmonte Spinster Stakes (1m1f, dirt) but not before some anxious moments.

Having hit the front in the stretch, Argentinian-bred Blue Prize (Pure Prize) started to hang badly right, ending up in the middle of the track, and though he forfeited plenty of ground, still had enough in reserve once straightened up to come home three-quarters of a length ahead of Champagne Problems.

The hard-to-pronounce Covfefe was all the rage for the Grade 1 Frizette Stakes (1m, dirt) for two-year-old fillies but proved bitterly disappointing and the odds-on favourite could finish only fourth.

Victory went to the John Servis-trained Jaywalk (Cross Traffic), who took the step up to a mile in her stride by making every yard of the running under Joel Rosario.

Double act’s double

Chad Brown and Jose Ortiz combined to capture both Grade 1 events on Belmont Park’s Saturday card. Wow Cat, a Chilean-bred daughter of Lookin At Lucky, proved far too good for seven other distaffers in the Beldame Stakes (1m1f, dirt) while Complexity (Maclean’s Music) never saw another rival in the Champagne Stakes (1m, dirt) to record an all-the-way win in the juvenile contest.

Sunday’s Belmont card also saw Brown and Ortiz team up for Grade 1 success, though this time it was older brother Irad Ortiz Jr doing the steering, as Fourstar Crook (Freud) recorded an easy success in the Flower Bowl Stakes (1m2f, turf), beating stable companion Onthemoonagain (Cape Cross), previously in the care of Jean-Claude Rouget in France, by two lengths.

Zhang strikes at Tipperary

Yuesheng Zhang’s green and white silks are an increasingly familiar sight in global racing and his Yulong Gold Fairy (Mount Nelson) took the Sunday feature at Tipperary, the Group 3 Coolmore Stud Home Of Champions Concorde Stakes, scoring by a head from Smash Williams.

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