Features

Some fascinating contenders enter quarantine in Newmarket

They include recent Grosser Preis Von Baden (Gr 1, 1m4f) winner Best Solution (Kodiac), who spearheads a four-pronged assault for trainer Saeed bin Suroor, the Ronnie Arculli-owned Red Verdon (Lemon Drop Kid), who will carry the same silks as three-time Melbourne Cup (Gr 1, 3200m) runner-up Red Cadeaux (Cadeaux Genereux), and the Roger Charlton-trained Withhold (Champs Elysees), who has featured towards the head of the market for the Flemington showpiece since his two and three quarter-length success in the Northumberland Plate (2m) at Newcastle in June, for all his connections face an anxious build-up to the race given he was allocated the forty-ninth slot when the order of entry was published earlier in the week.

However, the list of horses scheduled to undertake the two-week quarantine regime also includes a number of less-familiar names, although fast-forward two months and there is a strong likelihood that plenty of these participants will carry a much greater gravitas in terms of their southern hemisphere reputation by the time the spring carnival has drawn to a close.  

Teodoro aimed at Caulfield Cup

The Tom Dascombe-trained Teodoro (Teofilo) doesn’t hold an entry in the Melbourne Cup, but the four-year-old has been nominated for the Caulfield Cup (Gr 1, 2400m) and his place in the first shipment looks a shrewd move by connections given he boasts pieces of European form that would entitle him to run a significant race at Caulfield next month, for all he would probably need to pick up a penalty to obtain a place in the final line-up.

Teodoro’s latest run, a well-beaten sixteenth in the Ebor Handicap (1m6f) at York, is easily forgiven given he was stepping up beyond a mile and a half for the first time, while that performance came only two weeks after a herculean effort to land the Rose Of Lancaster Stakes (Gr 3, 1m2.5f) at Haydock by three and a quarter lengths.

Teodoro was allocated an official rating of 111 on the back of that success and while front-running tactics on the round course at Haydock have produced some implausible results this season – tactics that were executed impeccably by jockey Richard Kingscote on this occasion – there was much to like about the way Teodoro carried himself when allowed to bowl along at the head of proceedings. Indeed, his two best performances have been achieved under forcing rides and while Teodoro surprised many with the amount of pace he displayed when making a breakthrough success at Pattern level, his earlier form was achieved over twelve furlongs and he hit the line strongly on more than one occasion at this trip.

As such, Teodoro looks to boost the right blend of speed and stamina to make him a potent force in the Caulfield Cup, albeit on the proviso he does not do too much in front, while his relish for fast ground ought to ensure underfoot conditions are in his favour as well. Given the word ‘soft’ is now a regular feature in going descriptions across Europe as autumn begins to take hold, Teodoro’s participation in Australia this spring appears to be a feather in the race-planning cap of his connections, win, lose or draw.

Finche set to join Waller’s stable

Nine places above Teodoro in the order of entry for the Caulfield Cup lies Finche (Frankel), who was formerly trained by Andre Fabre but is set to transfer to the care of Chris Waller on his arrival in Australia later this month.

A lightly-raced four-year-old, Finche maintained exalted company earlier in the season, running fifth behind Cracksman (Frankel) in the Prix Ganay (Gr 1, 2100m) before achieving a similar level of form when occupying the same position behind Waldgeist (Galileo) in the Grand Prix de Chantilly (Gr 2, 2400m) in June. Given a nine-week break and reverting to front-running tactics, Finche made all in the Prix de Reux (Gr 3, 2500m) at Deauville in August, beating the Alain Couetil-trained Tiberian (Tiberius Caesar) by a comfortable length and three quarters posting a Racing Post Rating of 111 in the process. A half-brother to a brace of Group 1 winners in Proviso (Dansili) and Byword (Peintre Celebre), Finche looks capable of further progress in the southern hemisphere and he is an exciting addition to Waller’s all-conquering team.

Finche came home two- and three-quarter lengths to the good of the OTI Racing-owned Casterton (Fastnet Rock) in the Prix de Reux and his former stable companion, who achieved a peak RPR of 108 when winning the Prix Lord Seymour (Listed, 2400m) at Longchamp in April, also entered quarantine yesterday. He is set to remain under Fabre’s care for the foreseeable future and the four-year-old, who is out of a winning sister to High Chaparral (Sadler’s Wells), holds a nomination in the Melbourne Cup, although he currently lies seventy-first in the order of entry.

Moroney welcome Marathon Man and Sound Check

Michael Moroney’s Ballymore Stables are set to welcome two new acquisitions to their ranks as both Marathon Man (So You Think) and Sound Check (Lando) have been purchased by Paul Moroney Bloodstock and are currently being quarantined prior to a southern hemisphere switch.

The former has not been sighted since finishing runner-up in the Morocco Cup (Gr 3, 2000m) at Longchamp in June, after which he was sold for £380,000 at the Goffs London Sale on the eve of Royal Ascot, but he does not hold any significant future engagements.

Sound Check, on the other hand, boasts nominations in both the Caulfield Cup and Melbourne Cup having taken his form to a new level in recent starts, achieving an RPR of 113 when finishing third in the Grosser Preis von Hamburg (Gr 3, 2000m) in July, while he was awarded the same figure when occupying the runner-up spot in the Grosser Preis von Berlin (Gr 1, 2400m) at Hoppergarten in August, finishing strongly to get within a neck of Best Solution. His previous form over extreme stamina tests – being awarded the Oleander-Rennen (Gr 2, 3200m) at Hoppegarten in the stewards’ room from the Hughie Morrison-trained Nearly Caught (New Approach) – implies his overall improvement has coincided with a drop back in trip and he will be of interest when granted a strong pace to chase over middle-distance this spring.

Gustavus Vassa could grab some prizes in minor company

Finally, Willie Mullins came within half a length of landing the Melbourne Cup in 2015 as Max Dynamite (Great Journey) finished with a flourish to run Prince Of Penzance (Pentire) close and he has one recruit in quarantine at present in the shape of the Highclere Thoroughbred Racing-owned Gustavus Vassa (Equiano), who has shown steadily-progressive form over middle-distances this season, despite not being bred to stay any further than a mile. He is unlikely to have any pretensions of competing in Group 1 company given the level of ability he has displayed thus far, but he could be a useful performer in minor Pattern company.

 

For comprehensive coverage of the spring carnival challengers don’t miss the Quarantine Diary and Contender Profiles coming up over the next few weeks in ANZ Bloodstock News.

 

Horses in Quarantine in Newmarket

Count Octave, Andrew Balding (UK)

Duretto, Andrew Balding  (UK)

Red Verdon, Ed Dunlop (UK)

Withhold, Roger Charlton (UK)

Sound Check, Michael Moroney (AUS)

Finche, Chris Waller (AUS)

Dal Harraild, Ciaron Maher and David Eustace (AUS)

Casterton, Andre Fabre (FRA)

Danon Distance, Shozo Sasaki (JPN)

Pharrell, Jean-Claude Rouget (FRA)

Marathon Man, Carlos Lerner (FRA)

Shraaoh, Chris Waller (AUS)

Langley, Yoshito Yahagi (JPN)

Benbatl, Saeed Bin Suroor (UK)

Best Solution, Saeed Bin Suroor (UK)

Prince Of Arran, Charlie Fellowes (UK)

Prize Money, Saeed Bin Suroor (UK)

Gustavus Vassa, Willie Mullins (IRE)