Fredricson in the Purple in London Palace Pier Repeats Win in France
With all the excitement of the Olympic Games over, there is a short respite before the Paralympics begin next week. In the meantime, there was the London leg of the Longines Championship Global Tour, a 5 star CSI. The best of the dressage competition was in Germany, a 3 star CDI in Donauschingen in southern Germany, just next to the Swiss border. Racing had another relatively quiet week just before the major Ebor meeting at York with several top Group 1 races occurring during the week. However, there was the select yearling sale at Arqana in Deauville France and some good racing to boot.
The band wagon rolls on with the continuation of the Longines Champions Tour, this time in London. Along with all the top showjumpers returning from Tokyo, most of whom were ready to take their chances once again, but with different horses from the Olympics, Uliano Vazzani from Italy, another Tokyo returnee, set the 1.60M course. There were 13 obstacles with 16 jumping efforts required which had to be jumped in 84 seconds over the course set at The Royal Chelsea Hospital overlooking the river Thames. This was a truly international class with 35 combinations representing fifteen different countries coming before the jury.
Augustin Covarrubias from Colombia set them off and had 21 faults and was one of only three riders unable to ride the course within the time. There were no clears until the eleventh horse appeared, Faut-Il Des 7 Vallons ridden by Gregory Wathalet from Belgium; and was immediately followed by another clear from another Belgium rider, Nicola Philippaerts riding Katanga V H Dingeshof. There were six clear first rounds, and a third clear from another Belgian riders put them well in the hot seat with half of the clears being from Belgium. The third was Niels Bruynseels riding Ilusionata Van’t Meulenhof.
The other three riders were from Great Britain, in the shape of veteran rider John Whitaker riding Unick du Francport; another from Germany, Christian Ahlmann riding Clintrezo Z and finally the on form Peder Fredricson from Sweden riding Catch Me Nots. Gregory Wathelet was the first in for the jump off, collected 4 faults in a quick time of 36.16 seconds, the quickest of the six riders. His Belgian compatriot Nicola Philipaerts was next and she had two poles down leaving the arena with 8 faults. Christian Ahlmann was next, and he too collected 8 faults. This was looking tricky, half the clears gone and no sign of a double clear round. All was not lost as the final Belgian representative Niels Bruynseels came in and took the lead with a clear in 39.44 seconds. Peder Fredricson was next in and left all fences intact in a time of 37.79 seconds. The final rider, John Whitaker, could he win this for GB? He rode a master class round of near perfection, but just missed out, riding a clear in 37.93 seconds, just a smidgen slower than Peder. So, Peder Fredriison was the winner with John Whitaker on second and Niels Bruynseels was third.
This was the tenth Longines Champions Tour round with Sergio Alvarez Moya from Spain leading the table overall, although London was not his friend as he got 8 faults in the first round. Overall, Edwina Topps-Alexander is in current second place, and again London was not her friend. Peder Fredricson did his position no harm in London and is in third place with Ben Maher in fourth.
Racing and Deauville Yearling Sales.
The race if the weekend with no doubt, was the Prix Jacque de Marois, a Group 1 contest for 3 year olds and up over one mile. Like the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood, this race is considered one of the best mile racing in Europe if not the world, and on this occasion there were eight runners; and was certainly a much stronger renewal than the Sussex. This was a mouth-watering race, and is the best we have seen this year between the younger three year olds and older horses. The main protagonists were thought to be this year’s classic winning Poetic Flare and last year’s champion miler Palace Pier. Seven of the runners were colts with the eighth, a filly trained by Jessica Harrington in Ireland – Alpine Star. The favourite was Palace Pier, trained by John and Thady Gosden and ridden by Frankie Dettori. Poetic Flare was another foreign raider, from Ireland again, trained by Jim Bolger and ridden by Kevin Manning. There were only three French trained runners, two from Andre Fabre, Midtown, ridden by William Buick for Godolphin and Victor Ludorum ridden by Mickael Barzalona, again for Godolphin; and the third of the French trio was Ecrivain, trained by C. Laffon-Parias and ridden by Maxim Guyon. Aidan O’Brien had one runner for Ryan Moore to ride, Order of Australia winner of The breeder’s Cup mile last autumn; and the final runner was from Richard Hannon’s yard – Chindit who was ridden by Pat Dobbs.
The race set off with both Poetic Flare and Palace Pier nearer the back than front. The only filly, Alpine Star took the lead taking a keen hold with Ryan Moore keeping Order of Australia near the lead. With several needing to held up and covered up if possible, Victor Ludorum found himself near the front at the half way point. Into the straight, and the race started in earnest with both Frankie Dettori and Kevin Manning starting their bid for glory. The two raced ahead leaving the other six in their wake with Frankie just getting the better with Palace Pier by a neck only. This was Palace Pier’s second triumph in this race as he won it last year. Poetic Flare was second with Order of Australia taking third spot. This was the eighth race of ten runs which saw Palace Pier leading the field home. He has now won over 1.5 million pounds during his racing career. Afterwards, John Gosden reported that he always wanted to come back for this race, and although the horse was not as fit as he would have liked, his class and jockey pulled him through.
The Arqana Select Yearling Sales in Deauville.
The summer sale of yearlings at on the Cote de Normandie is always an anticipated event. This sales has come on in leaps and bounds over the last few years with some of the top bloodstock being presented to the great and good, and particularly wealthy! This year’s renewal saw four Galileo’s (now deceased) and several Frankels as well as many other top sires with off-spring on offer to whet the appetite. In the past few years, a lot of the yearlings purchased ended up being brought to be trained in the UK, so with the new Brexit regime, it would be interesting to see whether those trainers and British agents would be as active this year as in the past; and also whether Shadwell continue to be as active in the yearling market with the death of its founder earlier in the year, Sheikh Hamdam.
The top lot of the first of the two evening sale sessions was a filly by Kingman, purchased by Anthony Stroud for 950,000 euros for Godolphin. The filly’s half-brother did the pedigree no harm by winning the Superlative Stakes, a Group 2 race in Newmarket recently. She was brought as a brood mare prospect with the aim of gaining black type on the way. The top five sale prices were all fillies with the exception of a Dubawi colt who was the second highest price of the session, selling for 750,000 euros.
During the second evening session of the sale, the fireworks started with lot 108 collecting 2.4 million euros, paid by British agent Charlie Gordon Watson and the Dubawi filly will remain in France under the expert guise of Andre Fabre. The February born filly was out of Tipique who had two unsuccessful runs but as a young mare, her first foal Babylone was the recent winner of the Group 2 Prix de Malleret at Longchamp. Her grand sire is Galileo and her grand dam was the winner of the Prix Marcel Boussac, Denebola. A filly with a lovely pedigree, tracing back to the good Niarcos family’s mares, and being by sire of the moment, was always going to bring a big price. Others of note in the sale was another filly, this time by Kingman, brought by fellow Brit agent Oliver St. Lawerence for 1.5 million euros. He is a half-brother to a recent listed race winner Angel Bleu in the UK. Listing all the big priced yearlings seems a rather pointless exercise, but to say that the final figures from the two day sale showed some slackening of prices in terms of averages and medians, but all in all, it was deemed a successful renewal of the sale with Brexit and other factors which could have worried the market badly did not seem to arise. The average for the sale was 257,136 euros with a 75% sale rate. The average was down by 11% on the 2019 sale figures.
Nestled in the foothills of the Alps in southern Germany, at Donnauschingen, saw the best of the dressage CDI classes. In a rather below par Grand Prix as all the top riders were taking a break following their Olympic exploits. Laura Tomlinson from Great Britain took the Grand Prix with 74.152% riding her own Rose of Bavaria. In second was Lyndal Oatley from Australia riding Elvive with 73.717% and Lara Butler, again from Great Britain taking third, riding Kristian. It cannot be reported too often that in a German hosted dressage CDI, there were no German riders in the top three!!! Laura Tomlinson also won the Grand Prix Special with 77.277% with Sweden’s Patrik Kittel in second riding Fiontini with 76.085% Lyndal Oatley was third. The score for Laura Tomlinson was a personal best.