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French import Arapaho wins Tancred Stakes

The Bjorn Baker-trained Arapaho (6 g Lope De Vega – Alzubra by Dansili) made the step from a Listed win at Canberra to Group 1 winner when claiming yesterday’s Tancred Stakes (Gr 1, 2400m) at Rosehill. 

The six-year-old became the fourth European-bred horse to win the Tancred in the last six years, as he travelled smoothly into the race before being unleashed by rider Rachel King in the final 400 metres, overhauling King Frankel (Frankel), before holding off the late challenge of $4 favourite Montefilia (Kermadec). 

“Absolutely thrilled. He’s been a great horse,” Baker said. “This time last year we couldn’t get a rider in a Benchmark 78 race, he was really struggling.”

Arapaho has five wins from 24 starts in Australia, and finished 11th in last year’s Melbourne Cup (Gr 1, 3200m) behind Gold Trip (Outstrip). 

The gelding will now target the Sydney Cup (Gr 1, 3200m), before Baker plots a return to the Melbourne Cup on the first Tuesday in November. 

“What he did last time in terms of getting to the Melbourne Cup, he just kept improving, improving,” Baker said. 

“He was 15th-up into the Melbourne Cup, so I think we keep him going and I’ll have him about 16th-up this time.” 

Arapaho, a €140,000 buy for Baker and agents Jim Clarke and Mark McStay from the 2020 Arqana Deauville Autumn Mixed Sale, scored a convincing win in the Canberra Cup (Listed, 2000m) last time out, and also has wins in the Premier’s Cup (Gr 3, 2000m) at Randwick and last year’s Grafton Cup (Listed, 2350m) since his import to Australia, where he is owned by a Carl Holt-led syndicate. 

In a seven-start European career, Arapaho won three times, earning a Listed success at Longchamp before finishing sixth in the Poule d’Essai des Poulains (Gr 1, 1600m). 

The former Andre Fabre-trained gelding is one of two stakes winners out of Listed scorer Alzubra (Dansili). 

He is the 18th Group 1 winner for his former shuttle sire Lope De Vega (Shamardal) from 1,115 starters.

Veteran Cascadian too good in Australian Cup

Eight-year-old Cascadian (8 g New Approach – Falls Of Lora by Street Cry) showed age to be no barrier to elite-level success when striking to win the Australian Cup (Gr 1, 2000m) at Flemington yesterday. 

The Godolphin-owned gelding struck for his third Group 1 success, one which was threatened after Cascadian flew home for second in the All-Star Mile (1600m) at Moonee Valley last time out. 

Sent off a $4 chance, Cascadian defeated Numerian (Holy Roman Emperor) by three-quarters of a length, with Pounding (Exceed And Excel) the same margin back in third. 

Victory for Cascadian resulted in the Australian Cup trophy staying within the illustrious Cummings family, after James Cummings’ brother Edward won the race with Duais (Shamus Award) last year. The pair’s grandfather, Bart Cummings, won the Australian Cup no less than 13 times. 

“I’m privileged as a young Cummings to be here on the big stage and have competitors in races like these,” Cummings said.

“I had a very stern meeting with my brother Edward yesterday and talked to him about how I might be able to go about winning this and at the conclusion of it he said, ‘you go and win it this year and I’ll be back to win it next year’.

“That’s the beauty of having the confidence that we are in these races and we’ve got the teams behind us to be competitive.”

Ben Melham rode Cascadian, earning his first victory in the Group 1. 

“I was confident enough; I had the right horses in front of me, and we wanted to duck and weave on him because, watching his tapes, we feel that’s how he races best [because] being wide and exposed, he’s had a lot of goes here at Flemington and he’s never won one,” Melham said.

“James has done a tremendous job to bring him here in that condition and to back up his All-Star Mile run with a sensational win like this is fantastic.”

Cummings could next target Cascadian at the Queen Elizabeth Stakes (Gr 1, 2000m) at Randwick, where he would meet stablemate and nine-time Group 1 winner Anamoe (Street Boss).