British-bred Sobetsu ran out an impressive winner of the Group 1 Prix Saint-Alary over 10 furlongs at Deauville, France, on Sunday.
Sobetsu, drawn wide in stall 11, broke smartly under William Buick and was settled just off of the pace.
The most striking part of her performance came when Buick asked her to quicken around two furlongs from the finish. Godolphin’s Darley homebred quickly put daylight between her and her ten opponents before ultimately winning eased down by three lengths from Vue Fantastique and fellow British-trained runner Coronet.
Following the likes of Makfi, Postponed and Al Kazeem, Sobetsu is another top-level winner for Darley’s leading stallion Dubawi, who is based at Dalham Hall Stud in Newmarket.
Her next appearance seems ground dependent with the G1 Oaks at Epsom Downs earmarked as the preference over the French Oaks, the G1 Prix De Diane, should the ground be soft enough at Epsom.
Trainer Charlie Appleby said: “His Highness Sheikh Mohammed watched the race and was straight on the phone after they crossed the line – he was delighted.
“We’ve always held Sobetsu in high regard and she wintered particularly well. I am confident she will stay a mile and a half, but the key to her is this soft going and today’s ground really suited her.”
Punchestown’s showpiece race was won by a British-bred jumper for the third day in a row as Wicklow Brave galloped to a front-running success in the BETDAQ Champion Hurdle.
The Willie Mullins-trained gelding, owned by Wicklow Bloodstock (Ireland) Ltd, was following in the hoof prints of British-bred Sizing John, who confirmed his standing as the season’s premier staying chaser in Wednesday’s Coral Punchestown Gold Cup, and Thursday’s Ladbrokes Champion Stayers Hurdle hero Unowhatimeanharry.
Wicklow Brave has become a rare top-level winner over hurdles and on the Flat, having landed the Irish St. Leger last September at the Curragh.
Bred by Millsec Limited, he was sired by the British-bred stallion Beat Hollow, who first stood at Juddmonte’s Banstead Manor Stud in Newmarket before becoming an increasingly prominent dual-purpose sire.
He is out of British-bred mare Moraine, who also produced three-time Flat winner Brass Ring and bumper winner Glacial Drift.
British-bred Unowhatimeanharry gained another Grade 1 prize with a thrilling victory in the Ladbrokes Champion Stayers Hurdle at Punchestown.
The nine-year-old has been a remarkable success story for Harry Fry and JP McManus, winning last year’s Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle and adding this season’s Long Walk, Long Distance and Cleeve Hurdles to his haul.
He was third to another British-bred star, Nichols Canyon, in the Sun Bets Stayers’ Hurdle, but reversed placings in Ireland after he beat the Cheltenham Festival hero by a head in a terrific battle down the home straight.
Unowhatimeanharry was bred by Graham Smith, who used to train in Leicestershire but now concentrates on dealing in sport horses.
Smith said: “I trained the mare, Red Nose Lady, and put her in foal to Sir Harry Lewis as the Hanbury family are friends and he was the sire of their very good horse Mighty Man.
“I had him until he was four and put him in the sales but they told me he was too small and would only make a polo pony. So I put an advert in Horse & Hound offering him for sale and a lady rang up and said it was her 50th birthday and wanted to buy herself a present. I think we agreed four or five thousand pounds.
“He later cropped up with Harry Fry and hasn’t stopped winning. He had always galloped and jumped well, but you would never have thought he would turn out as good as he has.”
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