Champions Tour in Madrid and More Classics in Ireland
The European classic merry go round continued this weekend with the running of the Irish one and two thousand Guineas at the Curragh. Sport horse activity also gingerly continues to open up with spectators allowed in the UK anyway, but there are still cases of EVA which both the authorities and the event organisers have to beware of. The big show jumping event took place in Madrid over the weekend, which included the second leg of the Longines World Champions Tour.
With little of any substance going on in the dressage arena, it was left to the show jumpers to provide an FEI 5 star CSI. Another show behind closed doors, but the Madrid spectacular did at least take place – The Global Champions Tour. Thirty four took on the 14 jump course with 17 jumping efforts required with time allowed of 166 seconds. The course was designed and built by Santiago Varela and team from Spain. Teddy Vlock (Israel) was first to go, and it wasn’t until the 17th horse in, Scott Brash riding Hello Jefferson, was there a clear round. Scott must have thought his luck was in as there was not another clear until near the end of the class when France’s Olivier Robert came in and collected the second clear, meaning that only those two would take part in the jump off. Representatives from fifteen nations took part in this competition. Scott Brash set off first in the jump off and scored another clear giving Olivier Robert riding Vivaldi des Meneaux a target of 39.26 seconds to take the win. This he did achieve in 36.74 seconds, which gave him a comfortable victory. In third place with 4 faults was Ireland’s Darragh Kenny riding VDL Cartello.
The Longines Global Champions Tour comprises of 15 rounds, of which this in Madrid was the second. After two rounds, Scott Brash from Great Britain is in the lead on 68 points with Bart Bles from the Netherlands in second with 63 points and Olivier Robert third on 60 points. The next LGCT is in St Tropez, France.
More Show Jumping News
The Nations Cup leg in Europe at Falsterbo in Sweden has been cancelled it was announced this week. Another victim of the on-going Covid virus in mainland Europe we are afraid.
Signs are starting to appear that some riders and owners have decided that they will not attend the Olympic Games in Toyo in a couple of months’ time. Eric Lamaze has said that he will not be available for the games due to on-going health reasons. This is a blow to the organisers as Eric is a former Champion at this level. It is also known that others are considering their positions, although no final announcements have yet been made.
The first of the Guineas to be run was for the colts, The Irish Tattersalls Two Thousand Guineas. This was the 100th running of the race in Ireland at the Curragh, and was possibly one of the most open renewals ever with the eleven runners all holding some credentials to take the winner’s podium. Many of the runners have already been seen this season in the Newmarket equivalent race at the beginning of the month, including the winner of the Newmarket contest – Poetic Flare – bred, owned and trained by the 79 year old Jim Bolger. However, on this occasion, the ground was very different. At Newmarket the ground was perfect good to firm going, but here in Ireland, with all the recent rain, the ground was heavy – not even yielding, which seems to be the usual for Irish courses. How would any of the colts manage in this really heavy, almost waterlogged course? Poetic Flare, on the other hand, has had a busy few weeks, as he not only won in Newmarket but was also sent to Paris for the French 2000 Guineas only last weekend when he came sixth behind the O’Brien trained St Mark’s Basilica. Jim Bolger was attempting to make Poetic Flare only the tenth horse to achieve the English and Irish Two Thousand Guineas double. Perhaps, far more relevant, Jim was also trying to win his first Irish Guineas ever!! An astonishing fact as the great Irish trainer has won many top Group 1 races and classics throughout the world in his long career, including Derbys, Breeders Cup races, countless Guineas in other countries, but never in his own! Having squealed about the ground, actually the horses seem to travel through it remarkably well. At the off, both Lucky Vega, trained by Jessie Harrington and La Barrosa, trained by Charlie Appleby for the Godolphin team were both thought to have excellent chances, but like the other Guineas run this year, this was thought to be a very open contest. Mac Swiney, was pushed into the lead in the very early stages of the race, another owned, bred and trained by Jim Bolger and ridden by Rory Cleary. This was the second string to the Bolger bow, but clearly was a horse that was not going to be beaten, despite Poetic Flare coming up on the inside and tried to beat his stable mate in the final furlong. It was not to be and Mac Swiney won by a shot head from Poetic Flare, a one two for Jim Bolger which finally meant that he had broken his duck in this race. In third was Van Gogh, one of two trained by Aidan O’Brien in the race and fourth was Lucky Vega. The Godolphin runner was well beaten into sixth place.
The second of the two day meeting at the Curragh saw two Group 1s. The first was the fillies mile classic, the One Thousand Guineas, and the Tattersalls 1 ½ mile race, The Tattersalls Gold Cup. There were 14 runners, six of which were trained by either Aidan or Joseph O’Brien. Again, many of the rivals had already been seen out in other classics this year, but one who wasn’t and was sent off favourite was the Joseph O’Brien trained Pretty Gorgeous, who was having her first run but was well noticed last season with her win at Newmarket for the Bet 365 Fillies Miles Group 1 contest last October. Others of note were Joan of Arc, a winner twice this term and trained by father Aidan, and Fev Rover, who was third in this Newmarket equivalent race at the beginning of the month and UK trained by Richard Fahey. Like yesterday, the ground was heavy going. The race ended in a tussle between two of the Aidan O’Brien runners, Joan of Arc and his second string, Empress Josephine. The Empress took the honours from Joan of Arc by a short head. Another very close run affair! No Speak Alexander was third. Empress Josephine is by Galileo out of Lillie Langtry which makes her a full sister to Minding, another brilliant Aiden O’Brian protégée. She is next likely to sent out to Royal Ascot for the Coronation Stakes.
In the Tattersalls Gold Cup, the winner was Helvic Dream, trained by Noel Meade, better known for his jumps training abilities, but given the weather and conditions, who would know the difference! In second was Broome by a short head from the Bally Doyle stables of Aidan O’Brien, with another trained by jumps trainer Willie Mullins coming third by a further single length, True Self. The winner is by Power, out of a Danehill Dancer mare. This was Noel Meade’s first Group1 winner on the flat ever.