Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Makfi ends Goldikova's Group I streak in Jacques le Marois: Overdose, the Budapest bullet, goes for 15th consecutive win

The La Jolla Handicap was the ninth race at Del Mar on Saturday. Sidney’s Candy, a son of Candy Ride, won the race. Joel Rosario was the winning jockey. The 10th and last race was a 1200-metre race on the all weather track for maidens. Teddy’s Promise, Joel Rosario up, was all the rage at even money. The Salt Lake filly had run a promising second in her debut and many felt that there was more to come. However, it was Sugarinthemorning, a Pat Valenzuela mount, who broke her duck. Trained by Ron McAnally of John Henry fame, Sugarinthemorning was making her debut. What is special about this story? Sugarinthemorning’s sire is Candy Ride. The dam is Social Belle who is by In Excess, an Irish sire who is making a name for himself. Candy Ride will be heard from a lot more in the weeks to come.

Goldikova’s unbeaten run this year came to an end in Sunday’s Prix Jacques le Marois on rain-softened grass at Deauville. Only for Green, Goldikova’s stablemate, set the pace. Olivier Peslier had the Freddie Head-trained mare in range and hit the front with 350 metres to go. Paco Boy, held up by Richard Hughes, was let loose. It was, however, Makfi, the 2000 Guineas hero at 33/1 at Newmarket, who mounted the most serious challenge. Goldikova, despite not being at home on the very soft ground, was kicking on. Paco Boy was gaining ground but was unable to go clear. Christophe Soumillon asked Makfi for more and the Dubawi colt moved into another gear. The le Marois was over in a matter of strides. Makfi strode out majestically to sail past Goldikova. The Mike Delzangles-conditioned Makfi won by two and one half lengths in a time of 1 39.4 seconds for the (straight) mile race. A neck separated Goldikova and Paco Boy.

The le Marois was worth 303,398 pounds to the winner. Makfi was 7/1 with the British bookmakers. Goldikova was a 4/6 chance and Paco Boy was at 5/2 and 9/4. In the French tote, Goldikova, who was seeking her eleventh Group I victory, was the 13/10 favorite. Eight ran.

Makfi’s poor showing in the St James’ Palace had confounded his followers. It was revealed after a thorough examination that the sophomore had a throat infection.

Trainer Delzangles could not conceal his excitement. “It is absolutely super. He put his (Royal) Ascot trip behind him. We knew he was in terrific form. He acted on the ground better than the others,” he said.

Christophe Soumillon reacted. “This horse (Makfi) is like Sea The Stars.”

Fred Head, Goldikova’s trainer, spoke in very plain terms. “We were beaten by a better horse on this day. We had no excuses. Our target is the Breeders’ Cup (turf) Mile. I have not decided what we’ll do before that. May be, the Prix Moulin or the Prix le Foret at the Arc weekend.”

Makfi is headed for the Moulin and the plan calls for a trip to Churchill Downs for a tilt at the Breeders’ Cup (turf) Mile. The Goldikova-Makfi story has just begun.

On Sunday at Deauville, there was a Group II race, Prix Guillaume d’Ornono. It was a 2000-metre grass race for three year-olds. Scalo, an invader from Germany, proved the best in the seven-runner field. Scalo won by two lengths in a time of 2 13 seconds. Andy Wohler, a big name in Germany, was the winning trainer. Scalo is a sophomore colt by Lando out of Sky Dancing by Exit To Nowhere. In the French tote, Scalo was a 88/10 chance. Maxim Guyon was aboard Scalo.

Do you remember R P Cleary? He is the young Irish reinsman who rode in India. Cleary had reason for celebration at Dundalk on Sunday. He was aboard Truly Genius, a 33/1 chance, who won the 3 15 PM race over 1200 metres. There were eleven runners.

Here is a look at Tuesday’s Juddmonte International at York. It is the opening day of the Ebor meeting at the Knavesmire (that’s how York is referred to)and it is a four-day campaign. Nine run in the Group I Juddmonte International and the Racing Post calls the race a ‘four-way clash of the titans.’ The 2/1 favorite is Rip Van Winkle who comes off a solid second to Canford Cliffs in Goodwood’s Sussex Stakes. Aidan O’Brien, who won the Juddmonte in 2000 with Giant’s Causeway and with Duke of Marmalade in 2008, commented. “Rip Van Winkle is in good form. He came on from his first run at Ascot to his second in the Sussex. We are looking forward to his run.”

Dick Turpin has been supplemented to the 650,000-pound race over 2000 metres. The Richard Hannon-schooled Dick Turpin has the distinction of beating Canford Cliffs early in the season. In the Jean Prat, Dick Turpin registered an easy win. Hannon and Hughes are optimistic that Dick Turpin will stay the 2000-metre distance. It must be pointed out that Dick Turpin, a three year-old, is taking on older horses.

Khalid Abdullah has two entries. They are formidable. Byword, the Prince of Wales hero, will be ridden by Maxim Guyon. Twice Over chased Byword in the Prince of Wales. In Sandown’s Coral Eclipse, Twice Over made it all in effortless fashion. Twice Over finished ahead of Rip Van Winkle in the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita last November.

Now we will look at what is happening in the jockeys’ area. Ryan Moore will miss the Ebor meeting at York. Peslier and Fallon will ride Michael Stoute’s horses. Jockey Moore is a private person. Hardly any detals have come out about the injury. Tony Hind, Moore’s agent, was brief. “I can’t get hold of Ryan. I spoke to Michelle, his partner. She told me to take Ryan off his rides this week. She said that she wound ring me later in the week.”

Gary Stevens is 47 years old. Stevens was aboard a two year-old trained by Todd Pletcher. Thatcatismine finished the gallop and as the finish line came up, the freshman collapsed and died.. A heart attack or a ruptured aorta may be the cause. Stevens fractured his left collarbone. You may remember that Robby Albarado suffered a clavicle fracture. We now know the connection between clavicle and collarbone.

Stevens said, “this is a quick reminder why I’m not doing this anymore.”

Here is what is strange about the Stevens story. Trainer Todd Pletcher was fined 200 dollars for employing unlicensed help. Stevens does not have an exercise rider’s license.

Nash Rawiller is the leading rider in Sydney, Australia. Rawiller has been suffering from pneumonia since late July. He had two rides on Monday. He has three rides at Randwick on Wednesday. Rawiller has had weight problems and that’s why I am devoting a paragraph. Jockeys do not have easy lives. It is a constant struggle.

“I feel fine and ready to go again. I am at 57.5 kgs and that’s fine with me. I don’t want to overdo things in my first few meetings on the return,” jockey Rawiller said.

The last item in this blog is a race run at Kincsem Park in Budapeest, Hungary. On Sunday, the 1000-metre race was taken by Overdose. It gave Overdose, who is called the Budapest bullet, a 14 for 14 record. It was Overdose’s second win after a 13-month hiatus because of foot injury. He is the horse who won the Prix Abbaye in 2008 and the race was declared a no contest because of a gate malfunction.

Overdose won Sunday’s race by ten lengths. The time was a sparkling 56.4 seconds. Overdose, by Starborough, is a five year-old. I do not know anything about Starborough. Gary Hind was aboard. Czech-born and English-speaking Gary Hind rode in Kolkata in 1992-93-94. Christophe Soumillon was scheduled to ride Overdose but opted to be at Deauville to ride Makfi in the Jacques le Marois. It was a wise choice, after all. Josef Roszival trains Overdose, who despite losing a shoe, bolted.

Owner Zoltan Mikoczy spoke. “One, he (Overdose) won by over five lengths. Two, the time was 56.4. If there are no problems, we will go to Germany.”

Jockey Hind expressed his happiness. “His action today was very good considering the ground. Unique horse, that’s what he is. It is a special day with a happy ending. I’m a small wheel in a big chain but it is great to be part of it. No matter how much money you have, I can never buy moments like today.”

Overdose will go to Baden Baden (Germany) to race in the Goldene Peitsche, a race he won two years ago. It is a Grade II event to be run on August 29.

Suraj Narredu has 1,000 wins. I am thinking of writing a story about him and use it in the RWITC site.

Kantharos is the name of the two year-old who is making headlines in America. More on him in the next blog. We will look at the final leg of the Canadian Triple Crown.

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