Bobby Zen

We’ve been waiting so long for the proper Flat to start that it seems almost criminal to veer straight off the other side of the world, but there was plenty of interest for breeders from this side at Rosehill in Sydney on Saturday morning. 

One person who managed to stay awake past 2am to watch the highly impressive last-to-first romp of Post Impressionist (Ire) (Teofilo {Ire}) in the G3 N E Manion Cup was his breeder Henrietta Egan, who is based at Corduff Stud with her husband David. 

Now five, Post Impressionist is the first foal of Island Remede (GB) (Medicean {GB}), who was bought by Egan from the Tattersalls December Mares Sale for 43,000gns. Already a winner for Ed Dunlop, she was put back into training with Henry de Bromhead the following season as a five-year-old and went on to be placed twice in Listed races at Leopardstown and Cork as well as winning over hurdles at Limerick. That National Hunt form didn’t deter Shadwell from giving 260,000gns for her Teofilo colt at the yearling sales. 

“I was gibbering wreck when he sold as a yearling to Shadwell and this horse has taken me on the most extraordinary journey,” Egan told TDN on Saturday morning. 

“We had dreams of winning the Mares’ Hurdle at Cheltenham, which was a bit crackers. David is great mates with Henry and we had big dreams of having fun with her, and we did. She ran at Leopardstown first time out and finished third in a Listed race and I think that was the first black type on the Flat for Henry.”

Egan’s association with Island Remede stretches back further than the sale ring at Tattersalls, however, to before she was even born.

“I was riding out for Ed Dunlop when she was in training with him, and weirdly I worked for her breeder Ian Quy, who had two mares, and I did the nomination for her, so we have a very long story,” she says. 

“I’m slightly gobsmacked really. David had a foal last night. I was out to a birthday party and David had to stay behind to watch the mare. I came back to find David fast asleep and it was about one o’clock so I thought I’d pour myself a gin and tonic and try to stay awake for the race. I was screaming downstairs watching this horse and I ran upstairs and couldn’t wake my husband who was out for the count. The foaling season is so exhausting, but this is why we do it. It’s what dreams are made of.”

Later in the day, Island Remede’s three-year-old filly Cabrera (Ire) (Phoenix Of Spain {Ire}) ran a promising fourth on debut at Newcastle for Egan and Hot To Trot Racing. The mare is in foal to Cracksman (GB), carrying another filly, and will be sent to Native Trail (GB) this season.

There is likely to be more early-morning screaming in the Egan household this spring as Hong Kong superstar Romantic Warrior (Ire) (Acclamation {GB}), who was bred by Corduff Stud and Tim Rooney, will be seeking his seventh Group 1 win when he lines up for the FWD QEII Cup on Sha Tin’s Champions Day. As well as his wins in Hong Kong, the six-year-old also won last year’s Cox Plate, and there could be more Group 1 success on the cards in Australia for Corduff Stud with Post Impressionist, now owned by Lloyd Williams, likely to head next for the Sydney Cup.

“With Romantic Warrior being such a success for the farm as well, it’s just such a cool year,” Egan said. “I’m thrilled for David. He works so hard. Good stuff like this just makes it worthwhile.”

She added that Romantic Warrior’s dam Folk Melody (Ire) (Street Cry {Ire}) has a New Bay (GB) yearling colt but no foal this year. She is booked to Havana Grey (GB).

Haggas Gives Waller a Lead

Australian trainers must dread seeing the name William Haggas among the nominations for runners for Sydney’s Autumn Carnival. His raids down under have shown him to be the ultimate target trainer and Post Impressionist gave Haggas his third win in the N E Manion Cup in the last five years after Young Rascal (Fr) (Intello {Ger}) in 2020 and Favorite Moon (Ger) (Sea The Moon {Ger}) 12 months later. 

In 2020, while all of European racing was shuttered by Covid, Haggas sent out Addeybb (Ire) (Pivotal {GB}) to give us all something to cheer about when he won the G1 Ranvet and G1 Queen Elizabeth S., and that lovely old warrior returned the following year to tussle with Chris Waller’s super mare Verry Elleegant (NZ) (Zed {NZ}), finishing second to her in the Ranvet before winning his second Queen Elizabeth. 

Last year, Haggas pulled off that same Group 1 double with Dubai Honour (Ire) (Pride Of Dubai {Aus}) while Protagonist (Fr) (Wootton Bassett {GB}) pitched in to take the G3 Sky High S. Frustratingly for all involved with Dubai Honour, a setback ruled him out of a return to Sydney, but that news will doubtless have come as a relief to Waller. He told Sky Racing World last week that he had taken a leaf out of the Haggas playbook in his training of Via Sistina (Ire) (Fastnet Rock {Aus}), who joined his team after being sold for 2.7 million gns last December at Tattersalls, having won the G1 Pretty Polly S. for George Boughey and owner Rebecca Hillen.”We prepared her in Newmarket, I kept a close eye on what Mr Haggas has done with a few of his horses which have beaten Verry Elleegant a number of times,” Waller said. “He just gets it right every year.”

Waller is not exactly a novice himself when it comes to winning Group 1 races. Born in New Zealand, he has been champion trainer in Sydney every year since the 2010/11 season. But it is a mark of his professionalism that he continues to look and learn, and his approach paid off handsomely when Via Sistina landed the Ranvet on her Australian debut. 

The five-year-old now races in the colours of Yulong Investments, who also own the Ranvet runner-up Place Du Carrousel (Ire) (Lope De Vega {Ire}), another expensive December purchase, bought for €4.025 million at Arqana. The European-bred trifecta was brought up by another Waller trainee, Buckaroo (GB), who was bred by The Roheryn Partnership at Tweenhills on that same productive Fastnet Rock-Galileo cross as Via Sistina.

It was a banner day at Rosehill for the Yulong team, whose stallions Written Tycoon (Aus) and Pierata (Aus) were responsible for the first two home in the G1 Golden Slipper, Lady Of Camelot (Aus) and Coleman (Aus). Another of the team’s stallions, Grunt (NZ), sired the G1 George Ryder S. winner Veight (Aus), who was bred and sold by Yulong as a yearling. 

A Different Egan

Let’s return closer to home where another David Egan, this one the jockey, was in the spotlight on Saturday as turf racing commenced at Doncaster. Egan’s major breakthrough came when, as retained rider to Prince AA Faisal, he rode the Prince’s homebred Mishriff (Ire) to victory in the Saudi Cup, Dubai Sheema Classic and Juddmonte International. Signed by Amo Racing in December, Egan has grabbed that new opportunity with both hands. 

He won the first Irish two-year-old race of the season last Monday aboard Arizona Blaze (GB) (Sergei Prokofiev) on the Curragh, where he grew up, and then delivered Mr Professor (Ire) (Profitable {Ire}) to win the Lincoln at 33/1. He will be itching to hop aboard the Amo Racing star King Of Steel (Wootton Bassett {GB}), who was seen on Newmarket Heath in Saturday morning’s sunshine looking a picture of health amid Roger Varian’s string under Raul da Silva. 

Varian himself got off to a perfect start by saddling the first winner of the British turf season, Charyn (Ire), who bowled home in the Listed Doncaster Mile. He certainly should have won as he did as the son of Dark Angel (Ire), who was bred by Guy O’Callaghan at Grangemore Stud, is a classy individual and looks to have improved again physically over the winter. A Group 2 winner at two for Nurlan Bizakov, Charyn was fourth in the Irish 2,000 Guineas and third in both the St James’s Palace and Sussex S. last year. If he continues to run as well as he looked on Saturday, he could well rival King Of Steel for the title of the best grey at Carlburg Stables and edge his way onto Bizakov’s burgeoning roster of Sumbe stallions for next year, alongside the aforementioned Mishriff. 

Less than 24 hours later, Charyn’s sire Dark Angel was in the spotlight with a rare winner in Japan, and this one at the highest level. Mad Cool (Ire), bred by Moyglare Stud and sold to Katsumi Yoshida as a foal at Goffs for €225,000, landed the GI Takamatsunomiya Kinen at Chukyo for Sunday Racing Co and trainer Manabu Ikezoe.

The five-year-old, who became the 16th Group/Grade 1 winner for Dark Angel, was beaten by a nose in the GI The Sprinters S. last October and is from one of the families which has underpinned the success of Moyglare Stud over a number of generations. His dam Mad About You (Ire) (Indian Ridge {Ire}) won the G3 Gladness S. and was runner-up in the both the Irish 1,000 Guineas and G1 Pretty Polly S. in the hands of Pat Smullen, and she is a half-sister to the G2 Ribblesdale S. winner Princess Highway (Street Cry {Ire}) and G1 Irish St Leger winner Royal Diamond (Ire) (King’s Best).

Keep An Eye On Cunha

Profitable, who is now at stud in Turkey, was represented on Saturday by the Lincoln winner Mr Professor, while another son of Invincible Spirit (Ire), Territories (Ire) provided South African trainer Dylan Cunha with his first win in the Brocklesby. Cunha, a former airline pilot and also a Grade 1-winning trainer in his homeland, set up in Newmarket two years ago. His string has grown significantly for this season and, since William Jarvis ceased training, he is now occupying Phantom House Stables, having started out in the bottom yard there with a handful of horses. 

Cunha, who spent some of his early years working in Newmarket for Robert Armstrong, certainly knows how to get one ready, and the game Zminiature (GB)  battled his way home in heavy ground at Doncaster to take the first British two-year-old race of the season for owner-breeder Jonathan Sarkar and family, who have supported the trainer since his return. 

There is an abundance of early races in an expanded spring programme for two-year-olds in Britain. The William Hill EBF Brocklesby S. kicked off the series of High-Value Development races and was worth £40,000, as is the the British Stallion Studs EBF Maiden at Chelmsford on Good Friday. They are two of 16 juvenile races that will be run in the UK before we even get to the Craven meeting on April 16. 

No Escaping Scat Daddy

The vaunted Storm Boy (Aus) may have had to settle for third in the Golden Slipper, but we are guaranteed to be hearing plenty about his sire Justify this season as the likes of City Of Troy, Ramatuelle and Opera Singer swing back into action. 

In the meantime two other sons of Scat Daddy are off the mark with their first winners in these very early days of the European juvenile programme. Sergei Prokofiev supplied Arizona Blaze to win at the Curragh’s opening day, as mentioned above, while on Saturday at La Teste de Buch, Sweet Chop became the first winner for his sire, the G2 Railway S. winner Van Beethoven, who stands at Karwin Farm.

The only other freshman to have sired a winner in Europe is New Approach’s son Hey Gaman (GB), who was beaten a neck when second to Olmedo (Fr) in the G1 Poule d’Essai des Poulains and now stands at Haras du Taillis. His son Eagle Gate (Fr) won in Marseille on Wednesday.

Vive Les Turistes

France has led the way on the Flat front in the last few weeks and the country’s racing administrators are celebrating the fact that 2023 saw a 17% increase in attendance figures across French racecourses, including trotting tracks. This certainly bucks the trend being seen in other countries. 

There has been an early TDN Rising Star among the French ranks in the three-year-old Puchkine (Fr) (Starspangledbanner {Aus}), who remains unbeaten in four starts for Jean-Claude Rouget after landing the Prix Torrestrella at Toulouse on Wednesday. While he is on course for the Poule d’Essai des Poulains, his fellow Rising Star of the same day, Clipper Logistics’ Night Raider (Ire) (Dark Angel {Ire}) is on course for the 2,000 Guineas after keeping a clean sheet with an emphatic win at Southwell for Karl Burke. 

Also at Toulouse, Dancing Queen (Fr), from the penultimate crop of Le Havre (Ire), enhanced the Classic dream of her trainer Fabrice Vermeulen when winning the mile maiden on Saturday. She carries the colours of Haras du Logis Saint Germain, which won the Poule d’Essai des Poucliches of 2020 with Dream And Do (Fr) (Siyouni {Fr}). Unlike that filly, Dancing Queen is not a homebred as she was bred by Peter Savill, for the former BHB chairman who has recently returned to the forefront of British racing politics, if not in an official capacity.

Another who had gone into the notebook last October when winning the Prix de Saint-Desir on debut was the Wertheimers’ Bright Picture (Fr) (Intello {Ger}). He has done nothing but confirm that good impression with two further wins, the latest in the Listed Prix Francois Mathet on March 16. As a gelding, he cannot be aimed at the Classics but he is clearly highly regarded, and our colleagues at Jour de Galop dubbed him ‘the next Junko’ after his stakes victory at Saint-Cloud. 

That is high praise indeed, and we will see the G1 Hong Kong Vase winner Junko (GB), another son of Intello, at Meydan in Saturday’s tantalising G1 Dubai Sheema Classic. While Junko was bred by Wertheimer et Frere, Bright Picture is a rare sales purchase, bought from his breeder John Carrington for €72,000 at the Arqana October Yearling Sale. The brothers’ support of their stallion Intello also led to the purchase of Pao Alto (Fr), who went on to win the G3 Prix La Force among his five victories. 

Thinking of Stefano Cherchi

We end his column with a heavy heart while, at the time of writing, Stefano Cherchi remains in a serious condition in hospital in Canberra, Australia. The 23-year-old jockey sustained serious head and internal injuries when his mount Hasime (Aus) fell, bringing down two other horses, at Canberra’s meeting last Wednesday.

An enormously popular figure in Newmarket, where he served his apprenticeship with Marco Botti, Cherchi is originally from Sardinia. He remains in the thoughts of his many friends throughout the racing world. 


The post Seven Days: A Good Week If Your Name is Egan appeared first on TDN | Thoroughbred Daily News | Horse Racing News, Results and Video | Thoroughbred Breeding and Auctions.

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