British-bred horses maintained their dominance in the Lexus Melbourne Cup as CROSS COUNTER (GB) led home a sensational one-two-three-four in the great Australian race.
Not only were the winner, along with second-placed MARMELO (GB) and third home PRINCE OF ARRAN (GB) trained in Britain, they were following last year’s winner REKINDLING (GB) as being products of the country’s breeding industry. Fourth-placed FINCHE (GB), a son of the mighty FRANKEL (GB) was also bred from the Juddmonte operation but had joined Australian-based trainer Chris Waller.
British-bred horses have now won an extraordinary 40 Flat Group 1 races worldwide in 2018. These 31 individual horses, including the likes of Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe and Breeders’ Cup star ENABLE (GB) and the top-class CRACKSMAN (GB), were bred by 25 different breeding operations.
Cross Counter was the horse who rose to the occasion at Flemington under a cool Kerrin McEvoy and quickened past Marmelo close to the line to score by a length.
Trained in Newmarket for Sheikh Mohammed’s Godolphin by Charlie Appleby, he is the first British horse to win the Cup in its 157-year history. He was sired by TEOFILO out of Godolphin homebred WAITRESS and was adding another major triumph after the Derby victory of MASAR back in June.
Hugh Anderson, Godolpin’s managing director (UK and Dubai), spoke on behalf of Sheikh Mohammed:
“I know that winning the Melbourne Cup is the realisation of a dream, it’s something that he has been aiming for for many years and actually when you look at this year, just in the last six weeks he has sent out Group 1 winners in France, in America and here. It’s what Godolphin’s all about and for Charlie Appleby and his team, to win the Epsom Derby and the Melbourne Cup in one year is absolutely outstanding.
“Everybody at Godolphin congratulates them and I think everybody in the racing world congratulates them. It really is an absolutely stellar end to a stellar year.”
MARMELO, bred by his part-owners Edward and Christabel Goodwin from Deepwood Farm Stud in Berkshire, ran a mighty race for trainer Hughie Morrison, having taken ninth last year. Charlie Fellowes was similarly thrilled with Prince Of Arran, bred by Rabbah Bloodstock Limited, who had only won the Gr.3 Lexus Stakes on Saturday to earn a place in the race.
Hughie Morrison said: “They are small owner-breeders back home, Edward and Christabel, and what an achievement to get a second in the Melbourne Cup. We’ve got to be happy.”
LADY AURELIA became the latest American-trained filly to have had her resale price dramatically boosted on the back of Royal Ascot success yesterday, when selling at the Fasig-Tipton November Sale for $7.5million to her breeder and original co-owner Barbara Banke of Stonestreet Stables as a broodmare prospect.
Lady Aurelia burst on to the global racing scene at Royal Ascot 2015, when she stormed away by 7 lengths to win the Group 2 Queen Mary Stakes for two-year-olds over five furlongs (1,000m).
At the time, her European jockey Frankie Dettori commented: “It was breathtaking. To win a sprint at Royal Ascot by seven lengths – I have never seen anything like it, especially from a two-year-old.”
She was subsequently awarded the title of Cartier Two-Year-Old Filly, becoming the first ever American-trained winner of a Cartier award.
Lady Aurelia’s 2017 season began with another convincing win at Keeneland, after which attention turned once again to Royal Ascot.
Lining up in the Group 1 King’s Stand Stakes over the same five furlongs meant taking on the older males for the first time. No matter: the filly was visually impressive again, pulling away by three lengths from PROFITABLE, who had won the race in 2016.
Half of Lady Aurelia’s ten appearances were in Britain, with her two Royal Ascot wins affording her her global reputation. Barbara Banke said yesterday after securing Lady Aurelia for broodmare duties: “We’ve raced a few over there [in Europe] and plan to do it again. It really is a global business”.
When it was announced that Lady Aurelia would sell at the November Sale, Fasig-Tipton president Boyd Browning commented: “Lady Aurelia is a truly special offering based upon her accomplishments around the world, highlighted by two wins at Royal Ascot. She has the potential to become a broodmare of historic proportions.”
Lady Aurelia was yesterday following in the footsteps of 2016 Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes winner TEPIN, who was knocked down for $8million at the 2017 renewal of the sale. Tepin was initially acquired by racing owner Robert Masterson for $140,000.
British-bred superstar ENABLE (GB) became only the eighth horse in history to win the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe on two occasions as the Juddmonte homebred triumphed in a famous finish at Longchamp on Sunday.
Only seen once since her victory 12 months ago due to an injury setback, John Gosden’s filly was following in the hoofprints of TREVE, the only other dual winner in the last 40 years as she held on by a short neck from fellow British-trained raider SEA OF CLASS.
Enable was winning her sixth Group 1 under Frankie Dettori, having carried all before her last season in the likes of the Investec Oaks and King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes (Sponsored By QIPCO).
With her owner-breeder Prince Khalid Abdullah in attendance in Paris, Gosden suggested that she could well return to challenge for an unprecedented third Arc in 2019.
She is a notable success story for her sire NATHANIEL, who is based at Newsells Park Stud in Hertfordshire. Her dam CONCENTRIC (GB) was also a Juddmonte homebred who has produced a winning three-year-old half-brother CENTROID (GB), in training with Dermot Weld. A two-year-old half-sister ENTITLE (GB) has made one start for Gosden and Concentric has a yearling FRANKEL (GB) filly to come.
Trainer John Gosden said: “Prince Khalid is the owner-breeder, he wanted to come here. I’ll talk to him but if she’s in good form there’s no reason we wouldn’t want to come (to the Arc) again. She wasn’t at her best today, she’s had a difficult year to here. It’s entirely down to the filly and her guts and a wonderful ride from Frankie. She’s a wonderful filly.”
What was already an exceptional season for British-based breeders continued throughout Sunday afternoon, starting when WILD ILLUSION (GB) landed the Gr.1 Prix de l’Opera.
Godolphin’s homebred daughter of Dalham Hall Stud’s DUBAWI, trained in Newmarket by Charlie Appleby, had already won the Gr.1 Qatar Nassau Stakes at Goodwood in August as well as finishing second in the Investec Oaks. She had also taken the Gr.1 Prix Marcel Boussac on this card last year.
MABS CROSS (GB), touched off by fellow British-bred ALPHA DELPHINI (GB) in the Nunthorpe Stakes at York, claimed a narrow top-level victory of her own in the Prix de l’Abbaye.
Michael Dods’ filly, who finished fast and late to prevail by a head, was sired by Cheveley Park Stud’s DUTCH ART (GB) and is homebred by David Armstrong’s Highfield Farm near Chorley in Lancashire.
There was another memorable result in the last of the seven, the Prix de la Foret. It went to Lael Stables’ homebred ONE MASTER (GB), trained by William Haggas and the latest from a dynasty founded by speedy broodmare SUPERSTAR LEO.
British-bred runners got off to the best possible start on Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe weekend as CALL THE WIND (GB) claimed the Group 1 Prix du Cadran at Longchamp on Saturday.
Bred by American businessman George Strawbridge, who has kept mares in Britain for many years, the four-year-old is from a family which has been consistent in providing success for their owner-breeder.
He was also providing yet another top-level victory for Banstead Manor’s FRANKEL (GB), following the efforts of CRACKSMAN (GB), WITHOUT PAROLE (GB) and SOUL STIRRING in Japan.
The winner is out of Strawbridge homebred IN CLOVER (GB). His half-sister WITH YOU (GB) took the Gr.1 Prix Rothschild this summer, with her sister, WE ARE (GB), landing the Prix de l’Opera on this weekend four years ago.
Call The Wind had not stepped out of conditions class during a lightly-raced career for Freddy Head and was stepping up markedly in trip but showed great tenacity to lead home the well-fancied HOLDTHASIGREEN by a length and a quarter.
Winning trainer Freddy Head said: “The dam has produced three Group 1 winners now and we’ll have to think about Ascot (for the Gold Cup) next year.”
Earlier in the afternoon, the British-bred OSTILIO (GB), trained by Simon Crisford for owner-breeder Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum, had claimed top honours in the Gr.2 Prix Daniel Wildenstein.
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