Alcohol Free Juvenile Group 1 and a World Cup Qualifier
The main equestrian news of the week again involved racing. With the autumn coming on apace, juvenile Group 1 races are being run around the globe. In St Tropez, showjumping put on its 5 star Grand Prix; and a rare Dressage World Cup qualifier did actually take place in Hungary. Ireland held the main horse trials of the week in Ballindenisk.
The weekend saw the first of the juvenile Group 1’s at Newmarket, The Middle Park and Cheveley Park for colts and fillies respectively, each over 6 furlongs. The Middle Park for 2 year old colts only attracted eight runners and was considered to be a decent but open renewal of the race. Clive Cox’ trained Supremacy won from pillar to post, not easily but a clever tactical race ridden by jockey Adam Kirby saw them out. Cox said afterwards that the horse was in great form coming into the race and he expected that he would be campaigned over sprint distances as a three year old and not the classics. Supremacy is by the first season stallion Mehmas, who has done brilliantly well this term and out of a mare by Arcano. This was the horse’s third win from four runs. In second was Lucky Vega by ½ a length trained in Ireland by Jessica Harrington.
The Cheveley Park saw eight fillies go to post. Alcohol Free took the honours for Andrew Balding and Oisin Murphy. She ran very freely to start with but settled down to win by ½ a length for long established owner Jeff Smith. An emotional Balding said afterwards that he hoped that she would go for the classics next year. Alcohol Free is by No Nay Never out of Plying by Hard Spun. Rather well named!! In second was Miss Amulet trained by Kevin Condon and ridden by Ryan Moore. Both races were sponsored by Juddmonte Farms.
In the USA at Santa Anita, there were another brace of Group 1’s. The first for 3 year old and up fillies, The Rodeo Drive Stakes with six runners was won by Tim Yakteen trained Mucho Unusual. The second of the brace was The American Pharaoh Stakes with seven runners for two year olds only and was taken by Peter Miller trained Get Her Number by ¾ of a length in a rather strung out finish of the 1 mile ½ furlong distance.
The feature race in Australia was the De Botoli Wines Goldene Rose Stakes at Rosehill, a seven furlong contest for 3 year olds only. It was won by Ole Kirk for trainers Michael Wayne and John Hawkes. Nine started and Tommy Berry was the successful jockey.
On a final note, have we seen the 2021 Epsom Derby winner? Aidan O’Brien sent out High Definition for the Beresford Stakes, (Group 2) at the Curragh. He is a huge horse with plenty of growing and maturing to do. Well last for the whole of the race, he just scooted up in the final furlong beating the other 12 runners by ¾ of a length. The Galileo colt has just had two runs, winning them both. If he wins any classics next year, you heard it here first!!!!
At Fot (Budapest) in Hungary, there was the rare site of a World Cup Dressage qualifier. The Grand Prix was won by France’s Morgan Barbancon riding Donnerhall II OLD on a personal best score of 72.457%. This was the first major win for Morgan for over two years at the top level. The combination went on to win the Grand Prix Freestyle to Music with 76.575%. In Hagen in Germany, Isbell Werth and Dorethee Schneider took the top 4 star CDI classes on offer. Werth was riding DSP Quantaz and Schneider was on Lordswood Dancing Diamond.
At Grimaud in France, the jumping festival continued with a 5 star CSI Grand Prix. Frenchman Cedric Longis designed a 13 jump course with 16 jumping efforts required from the 49 runners. Belgian riders took the two top places with Niels Bruynseels took the top prize of 50,000 euros riding a 14 year old BWP mare, Gancia de Muze in 39.7 seconds and a double clear. Second was Jos Verlooy riding Igor, also with a double clear and in 40.28 seconds. There were 15 clear in the first round with 8 of those going on to get a second clear. There were less than 2 seconds between the top eight which made this a tight and exciting class. The best of the French was Roger Yves Bost who came fifth.
The main horse trials event was in Ireland with a CCI 4 star (long) at Ballindenisk. With increased Covic numbers in Ireland, all the riders had to wear face masks during all parts of the competition which must have been quite horrendous. However, all the top 5 in the class were from Ireland, the winner being Sam Watson riding Imperial Sky with a total of 30.5 penalties. He was clear in both the cross country and showjumping faze. The same applied to second placed Sarah Ennis riding Horseware Woodcut Garrison finishing on their dressage score of 32.1. In third was Camilla Speirs riding Lucas.
The Tokyo Olympic Games committee have agreed new proposals for the Games next year to make them Corona Virus friendly. There will be tighter control on who can attend and a streamlining of transportation as well as adjusting the numbers and activities of those spectators allowed.
And finally, The UAE have had all their FEI sponsored equestrian activities suspended following the flouting of rules with regard to competitors at the 2020 Endurance competition. This is not the first time that the UAE have fallen foul of the FEI. In 2015, there were serious worries over the welfare of the competing horses. They have been banned from holding any events until December 2020, unless it is an Endurance event, in which case the ban lasts until March 2021. They have also been heavily fined for breach of the rules.