Talented Danceteria looks to have the perfect profile for Australia
Reference has frequently been made to Washbourn-owned horses in this column throughout the summer, with both Thundering Blue (Exchange Rate) and Chief Ironside (Lawman) exhibiting the qualities needed to succeed in the southern hemisphere on more than one occasion. While Washbourn does not have a reputation for selling his stock and this columnist is unsure of his predisposition towards Australian racing, I am certain he could, rather fittingly, fill a boat full of exciting prospects for the Spring Carnival should he wish to do so as Danceteria looked a gelding with legitimate Group-race aspirations at the weekend.
Despite heading into this contest on the back of a hat-trick, Danceteria needed to improve to defy a 5lb rise for winning a match-race over the same course and distance last month. However, he found another jolt of progression under crack apprentice Jason Watson, tanking into the seven-runner affair before being set alight meeting the rising ground to win by a very comfortable three and three-quarter lengths. The quartet of three-year-olds in the line-up came to the fore late on and in beating three in-form and feasibly-handicapped rivals in the shape of Alternative Fact (Dalakhani), Kaanoon (Bated Breath) and Caliburn (Camelot) Danceteria has run to at least a mark of 105 and the ceiling of his ability remains as yet unclear, particularly as he is likely to appreciate the return to faster ground.
The victory was a welcome success for former Haras de Bonneval shuttler Redoute’s Choice (Danehill), whose impact in Britain has been somewhat stilted, but Danceteria looks to be the best horse he has produced on a northern hemisphere covering and the three-year-old certainly possesses the necessary attributes to be a stakes performer in Australia should his compass ever be pointed in that direction.
Teodoro showcases spring credentials at Haydock
A galloping track with a long home straight would not usually be deemed the perfect conditions under which front-runners would flourish, but Haydock has increasingly favoured horses racing on the speed in recent seasons and the pace bias evident on the round course when the ground is fast was once again beautifully exploited by jockey Richard Kingscote on Saturday as Teodoro (Teofilo) made all to win the Rose Of Lancaster Stakes (Gr 3, 1m2.5f) by three and a quarter lengths.
Trained by Tom Dascombe, whose desire to run his better prospects at the course has dovetailed perfectly with Kingscote’s ability to set efficiency fractions on uncomplicated horses, Teodoro took a big step forward on his previously solid handicap form to post a figure in excess of 110 at the weekend and despite the obvious tactical advantage he gained by making the running, connection of the four-year-old would not be out of place in considering a tilt at the Caulfield Cup (Gr 1, 2400m) on the back of this effort.
Although holes can be picked in the overall quality of this piece of form – the pair of three-year-olds at the head of the market failed to run to their marks as Zaaki (Leroidesanimeaux) hung left under pressure on the quickest ground he has raced on so far while Elwazir (Frankel) proved too keen in the early stages before weakening inside the final two furlongs – neither factor should be used to detract from the broader impression created by Teodoro, who has a thoroughly likeable attitude and will be well suited by returning to 1m4f.
Connections mooted a tilt at York’s Ebor Handicap (1m6f) later in the month as a potential next target and while he would have plenty in hand on official figures under a 4lb penalty, an extended stamina test at a track whereby he will face strong competition for the lead might not be the best exploitation of his skillset. However, it is easy to image him bowling around Caulfield on fast ground – the winning time broke the Racing Post standard on Saturday, underlying his preference for a quick surface, despite his impressive physical frame – and the lucrative middle-distance programme on offer throughout the entirety of the Spring Carnival could make Teodoro a real money spinner in the southern hemisphere.
Is Best Solution a danger to Winx’s Cox Plate crown?
Charlie Appleby has firmly established himself as the number-one trainer for Sheikh Mohammed’s Godolphin operation in recent years and while Saeed bin Suroor is enjoying a healthy season in Britain numerically – saddling 50 winners at a strike-rate of 25 per cent – he has secured only one pattern-race success on these shores, with Best Solution (Kodiac) landing the Princess Of Wales’s Stakes (Gr 2, 1m4f) at Newmarket last month.
In light of this, there has been something quite striking about the way bin Suroor has so definitively nominated an Australian campaign for his two best performers, with Benbatl (Dubawi) heading to the Cox Plate (Gr 1, 2040m) and Best Solution on target for the Melbourne Cup following his success in the Grosser Preis von Berlin (Gr 1, 2400m) on Sunday.
Preventing Winx (Street Cry) from winning for the fourth consecutive year at Moonee Valley or breaking the British-trained hoodoo on the Flemington showpiece would be a striking way for bin Suroor to re-establish himself within the shop window of global trainers, while also reaffirming his status within the Godolphin hierarchy internally, and while Best Solution’s stamina for two miles would have to be taken on trust, there can be no doubt he heads towards the Australian spring in peak forming having secured his first top-tier win at the weekend. In running to a Racing Post Rating (RPR) of 113, Best Solution did not have to be at his very best to defy Sound Check (Lando) by a neck, but he showed a good attitude to lead inside the final half-furlong and he is clearly thriving at present.
Alpha Centauri furthers her authority in Europe
Finally, Winx is undoubtedly the darling of Australian racing, but it would be easy to argue she is only the second-best female thoroughbred currently in training as Alpha Centauri (Mastercraftsman) enhanced her claims to the top spot with a devastating victory in the Prix Jacques le Marois (Gr 1, 1600m) at Deauville on Sunday. The RPR of 124 awarded to this first success against male opposition seems towards the low-end of the possible figures she could have achieved, and the ease of the victory suggests she is capable of running to a mark heading towards 130 in the future. Jessica Harrington’s star will be incredibly tough to beat for the remainder of the campaign, while she has proved a much-needed flagbearer for the European season as a whole.