Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Gosden and Buick win three Group races in three days: Arctic Cosmos shocks English St Leger field

The John Gosden-William Buick combine won three Group races at week’s end. The precocious Buick was aboard Samuel on Friday in the Group II Doncaster Cup. It was a race over 3600 metres. The going was good and Samuel, a six year-old gelding, won from Tastahil and Motrice. Ten ran and Samuel, a 5/1 chance, clocked 3 52.99 seconds. Askar Tau, the 2009 winner, ran seventh.

Samuel is by Sakhee out of Dolores who’s by Danehill. The Doncaster Cup was Samuel’s second career victory. The Gosden pupil broke the duck at York in May 2008 in a listed race when in the care of J L Dunlop. Eddie Ahern rode. Gosden has said that the Prix du Cadran at Longchamp on Arc day is the next race for Samuel.

We will continue with the Gosden-Buick story. It is now Saturday at Town Moor (nickname for Doncaster) and the feature race is the St Leger, England’s oldest classic. It was the 234th edition of the 2900-metre race. Frankie Dettori, attempting to win his sixth St Leger, was on Rewilding, the Godolphin-owned sophomore, who was the even money favorite. Trainer Mahmood Al Zarooni, now part of the Godolphin empire, was seeking his first Classic win. As Rewilding, to the dismay of the fans, failed to fire and was beaten a long way from home, it was left to Arctic Cosmos, from John Gosden’s yard, who raised his game to give jockey Buick his first win in an English Classic. It was Gosden’s third victory in the St Leger. He won with Shantou in 1996 and with Lucarno in 2007.

Corsica set a fast pace. Total Command, Midas Touch and Arctic Cosmos raced in striking range. Rewilding was held up and Snow Fairy, Eddie Ahern up, was also kept way off the vanguard. As Corsica began to weaken, Arctic Cosmos took command inside the last 300 metres. Midas Touch was produced by Colm O’Donoghue. Corsica was staying on. Rewilding and Snow Fairy were beaten. Arctic Cosmos, with blinkers for the first time, ran on to win by a length and three quarters. The time was 3 3.12 seconds. The winner’s share of the purse was 283,850 pounds. Midas Touch took the runner-up berth and Corsica kept third. Arctic Cosmos, a 12/1 chance, is a son of North Light, winner of the 2004 Epsom Derby. The dam is Fifth Avenue Doll who is by Marquetry. It was only the third career win for Arctic Cosmos. Consider this-the two prior wins came on all weather surfaces at Kempton and Wolverhampton.

Jockey Buick spoke. “Winning a Classic is something special. He (Arctic Cosmos) was straight forward, he broke well and traveled well. The pace was good and he quickened when I asked him.”

Trainer Gosden talked about fulfilling a dream. “We always thought he was a St Leger horse and our dreams have come true. I tell you what, he won like a good un.”

The Arc de Triomphe now beckons for Arctic Cosmos who was introduced to the market by Paddy Power, the Irish bookmaking behemoth. An offer of 10/1 was made.

We move the clock 24 hours and the scene is the rain-soaked Longchamp in Paris. Sunday was ‘Arc trial’ day at the famous French racing venue. We will restrict our focus on the Grade II Prix Foy over one mile three furlongs and 204 yards. There were only six runners. Daryakana and Byword attracted the most support. Why are we looking at the Prix Foy? When the mud stopped flying, it was Duncan, a 10/1 chance, ridden by Buick and trained by Gosden, who had made it all. Timos headed Duncan for a moment but the latter reasserted himself and held Nakayama Festa, a Japanese runner, who found his best stride late. Duncan won by three parts of a length in 2 35.9 seconds.

Duncan is by Dalakhani out of Dolores by Danehill. Samuel, winner of the Doncaster Cup, is out of Dolores by Danehill. Dalakhani won the French Derby in 2003, was second to Alamshaar, another Aga Khan-owned colt, in the Irish Derby and ended his career by winning the Arc as the 7/5 favorite. Christophe Soumillon was the winning jockey. Duncan came off a fourth place finish in Goodwood’s Group III Coutts Glorious Stakes on July 30. The start before, Duncan was the bridesmaid to Harbinger in Royal Ascot’s Hardwicke Stakes.

John Gosden thought aloud. “English horses always have to make the running over here. He (Duncan) was genuine and when the Japanese horse came to him, he fought him off. He has won a trial and deserves a spot in the Arc but that will be a different ballgame.”

The Prix Foy was Byword’s first race over 2400 metres. The Prince of Wales winner was all at sea on the soft grass. Daryakana was not comfortable either on the rain-softened ground.

On Saturday at Doncaster, the Group II Eddie Stobart Park Stakes was taken by Balthazaar’s Gift. The Clive Cox trainee was ridden by Philip Robinson. Balthazaar’s Gift won by three parts of a length and ran the 1400-metre race in 1 24.3 seconds. Balthazaar’s Gift’s sire is Xaar. The dam is That’s Your Opinion who is by Last Tycoon.

Jockey Robinson explained. “Everything has got to drop right for him and it did today. He’s a Group I horse on his day.”

Tomorrow, we will look at what happened in the Curragh on Saturday. There were two more Group races at Longchamp on Sunday and we will see who won.

It has been a busy weekend. There is another hectic weekend coming up. On September 18, Balmoral Park hosts the ‘Super Night’ program. There are a number of stakes races (harness) for Illinois-bred horses. The races are worth 1.3 million dollars. It is a 100-mile round trip and we eat dinner and do not get back home until 1 30 AM Sunday.

Chicago September 14, 2010

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