The British breeding industry celebrated a top-flight 1-2 on Friday when NAZEEF (GB) led home BILLESDON BROOK (GB) in the Group 1 Tattersalls Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket Racecourses’ July Festival.
Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum’s latest homebred Group 1 winner recently landed the Group 2 Duke of Cambridge Stakes success at Royal Ascot last month and continues a magical season for his Shadwell Stud.
Nazeef displayed an abundance of tenacity to claw back her rivals over the final furlong of Friday’s contest and prevail by a neck. She has now won her last six starts, failing to come home in front only once on debut as a three-year-old last June, and has demonstrated impressive versatility by securing her six victories on ground ranging from good to firm to soft.
This latest success at the top level boosts her credentials as the best – as well as the most progressive – four-year-old filly in training in Europe at present.
Nazeef is a daughter of INVINCIBLE SPIRIT from the family of 2005 Group 1 Darley July Cup winner PASTORAL PURSUITS (GB) and that same year’s Group 1 Sprint Cup winner, GOODRICKE (GB). Her dam, HANDASSA (GB), is a 12-year-old daughter of DUBAWI who was purchased by Shadwell for 100,000 guineas at Tattersalls October Yearling Sale Book 1 in 2009 and went on to win the Listed Garnet Stakes in 2011.
Speaking with GBRI on Friday, Sheikh Hamdan Al Maktoum’s racing manager, Angus Gold, commented:
“She had very immature joints as a two-year-old, so John just had to feel his way with her a bit. We got four runs into her last year, but she then had a minor setback, so we weren’t able to run her in a Stakes race at the back end of the season, which was obviously the plan. As it’s turned out, I’m very glad we weren’t, because if she’d won a Stakes race, maybe Sheikh Hamdan would have retired her.
“So, we kept her in training this year because we thought she could win a Group race, and she’s risen to the top, which is fantastic. The main aim was to achieve the day she won the Listed at Kempton, as that made her a Stakes winner, and then she went and gave us a big thrill at Ascot and now she’s gone up another grade today.”
Speaking of a possible next target for Nazeef, Gold continued:
“I’ve had a brief chat with John Gosden, he thought possibly something like the Prix Rothschild in Deauville next against the fillies and mares one more time and then maybe give her a break, as she’s had three races in relatively quick succession. Touch wood, she takes her racing very well and she bounded out of Ascot. So as long as she’s well, and if Sheikh Hamdan agrees, we could go for something like that.
“At the moment, if we’re going to step her up, I think it would be at the end of the season. Jim has always felt, and I’ve always quietly agreed with him, that she might go a bit further over a mile and quarter. We could come back for the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at the end of the year or maybe the Champion Stakes if Sheikh Hamdan wants to go up in distance.”
Gold also gave an insight into what we can expect from this particular Shadwell family in the coming months and years:
“The dam has got a nice FRANKEL (GB) two-year-old in training with Gosden called MOSTAHDAF (GB). He’s a May foal and a nice horse as a type, but won’t be early. She doesn’t have a yearling but she has a DARK ANGEL foal at foot and I think she went back to Frankel this year.”
For the second time in as many months, it was the five-year-old Classic winner Billesdon Brook who took second place honours behind Nazeef.
Billesdon Brook, who returned triumphantly to the scene of her 1,000 Guineas victory when securing the Group 1 Sun Chariot Stakes last October, was bred and raised at Jeanette McCreery’s Stowell Hill Stud in Somerset. Her large ownership syndicate, Pall Mall Partners, was established by McCreery’s late husband Bob, a renowned figure in the bloodstock industry who bred the likes of OLD VIC (GB) and GALE FORCE TEN (GB).
Nazeef continues another spectacular year on the track for British-bred fillies, with Friday’s victory following hot on the heels of the success of fellow four-year-old DAME MAILLOT (GB) in the Group 2 Princess Of Wales’s Stakes at Newmarket on Thursday.
The 2018 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies’ Turf champion NEWSPAPEROFRECORD was back to her scintillating best on Saturday afternoon at Belmont Park in the Grade 1 Just A Game Stakes, putting her rivals to the sword with a facile three-length victory that was reminiscent of her two-year-old performances.
The Chad Brown-trained filly, who was raised at Richard and Sally Aston’s Goldford Stud near Malpas in Cheshire on behalf of her Lancashire-based owner-breeder Allan Belshaw, blew onlookers away with her juvenile hat-trick in 2018, winning each of her three contests by more than six lengths and hitting headlines with a powerhouse victory at America’s showpiece meeting at Churchill Downs in early November.
Burdened with great expectations heading into her three-year-old season, something looked amiss when she delivered a disappointing last-place performance in the Grade 1 Belmont Oaks Invitational Stakes after a brace of second places at Grade 3 level earlier on in the summer. A break of eleven months followed.
Her comeback performance earlier this month on 6th June in the Grade 3 Intercontinental Stakes over 7 furlongs at Belmont Park, which saw her put four lengths between herself and her rivals in typical pillar-to-post running style, suggested that the filly might nearing her brilliant best once again.
Yesterday’s win over a mile, which was delivered in similarly unfussy fashion, looks to have confirmed just that, with beaten rivals including Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Mile champion UNI (GB).
Newspaperofrecord’s breeder, Allan Belshaw, operates under the banner of his engineering company Times Of Wigan Ltd and boards his mares at Goldford Stud with the Astons. The dual Grade 1 winner is the most successful filly so far from a dynasty established by Belshaw’s foundation broodmare SIMPLY TIMES.
“It’s nice to have her back. It was great to see her win the race at the beginning of the month after the disaster that was her three-year-old year, but she’s just confirmed that it was not a flash in the pan,” Richard Aston told GBRI on Sunday morning.
“Simply Times boarded here and a lot of her offspring were born and raised here. She was an amazing mare – she had 10 runners, 10 winners from I think 12 foals. It was an incredible record. Everything that ran out of her won and she’s responsible for all of these – she’s the mother of FOREVER TIMES (GB), whose the mother of SUNDAY TIMES (GB) and also the mother of QUESTION TIMES (GB), who’s the mother of LATROBE, PINK DOGWOOD and DIAMOND FIELDS. It’s a family that has exploded into brilliance.
“There’s nobody more deserving of all the success than Allan, because he’s ploughed a lone furrow in many respects. He loves to choose the stallions. For however long, 30 or 40 years, he’s been racing and breeding horses and to create such a dynasty is extraordinary.”
Newspaperofrecord was sold to Klaravich Stables and Chad Brown for 200,000 guineas at Book 1 of the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale in 2017. The filly’s subsequent success has played its part in the burgeoning American interest in the prestigious yearling sale. Eleven months on from her Breeders’ Cup victory, a number of American buyers joined Brown in making the journey across the pond to last year’s renewal of Book 1, where they together purchased 58 horses for a combined outlay of 13,450,000 guineas. This was double the previous year’s total of 29 yearlings bought for a total of 6,775,000 guineas.
“This year’s foal is a full-sister [to Newspaperofrecord, by LOPE DE VEGA] – I don’t think that there would be any chance that she will be sold,” Aston continues. “Allan will put her into training.
“Sunday Times is in foal to KINGMAN (GB) and the three-year-old filly, DAILY TIMES (GB), she’s in foal to BLUE POINT.
“Allan’s got lots now of the immediate family and we’re in a very favourable position, I’d say.”
Unbeaten three-year-old PALACE PIER (GB) landed his first top-flight success on Saturday when claiming the Group 1 St James’s Palace Stakes in what was a poignant victory for his co-breeders, Highclere Stud and Floors Farming.
The latter, located just outside Kelso in the Scottish borders, is the breeding operation of the late Duke of Roxburghe, who died in August 2019.
The John Gosden-trained three-year-old son of KINGMAN (GB), who stands at Banstead Manor Stud for a fee of £150,000 in 2020, saw off rivals WICHITA and champion two-year-old PINATUBO in the closing strides under the unstoppable Frankie Dettori. The victory was particularly impressive given that the colt was stepping into pattern company for the first time.
Palace Pier carries the silks of Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Al Maktoum, who purchased his latest flag-bearer for 600,000 guineas at Tattersalls October Yearling Sale Book 1 in 2018. This prestigious sale was also represented in the winner’s enclosure on the closing day of Royal Ascot 2020 by Group 2 Queen Mary Stakes victor CAMPANELLE.
Palace Pier’s next target will be the Group 1 Prix Jacques Le Marois at Deauville, a race that his sire also won for Gosden in 2014.
Palace Pier is the third foal out of the Highclere mare BEACH FROLIC (GB), who has Book 1-bound yearling colt by HIGHLAND REEL and is in foal to BLUE POINT.
Reflecting on their partnership with Floors Farming, Highclere’s John Warren told GBRI:
“I bought Beach Frolic’s granddam Miss D’Ouilly thirty years ago and the Duke of Roxburghe owned a third of her. When I bought her, he asked me if he could take a piece, so he was involved all the way through, even though she’s lived with us.
“It’s a great shame that the Duke of Roxburghe is not alive to be able to enjoy it. That’s the only sadness of the day.”
Noting what a win at the Royal meeting means for the operation, Warren continued:
“It’s so lovely to think that we’re producing horses of that calibre when we are commercial breeders. It’s a great thrill for the whole team at Highclere because we’ve got a tremendous, committed team and it’s a big family affair.
“Carolyn is very much involved with the horses’ welfare and development, and Jake and I on the matings and the mare-stallion strategy.
“It’s what we all strive to do and it’s great when all the effort that you put into it pays off.”
Warren further commented:
“The family is very straightforward.
“When Palace Pier won last time, it sounded as if the betting market was hoping the horse would go for an English Derby on the back of it. I was rather anxious that the family don’t normally stay a mile and a half. It’s a top-class miler so he (John Gosden) has trained it brilliantly to exploit the distance.”
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