THE VAULT’s contribution to the fun and excitement leading up to Breeders’ Cup 2011 will be in THREE instalments this week. Each article offers a FANTASY FIELD of some great thoroughbreds from the past. Many of the photos come from THE VAULT’s collection. Three fantasy fields have been selected: the BC Turf Classic, the BC Ladies’ Classic and the BC Classic. It’s up to you, the reader, to pick your order of finish. Winners in all three races will be posted November 6, 2011 on THE VAULT. So … go ahead … study the field … and PLACE YOUR BETS!!!!
FANTASY TURF CLASSIC
The FANTASY field has been assembled and all have drawn their posts. Here, without further ado, are all 14 of the distinguished entrants…….
1. NIJINSKY II (Northern Dancer ex. Flaming Page) owned by Mr. Charles Engelhard and trained by Mr. Vincent O’Brien, enters the Turf Classic field fresh off his run in the Prix de L’Arc de Triomphe, which he lost by a nose to Sassafras. Nijinsky II won the British Triple Crown this year, the first to do so since Bahram, thirty-six years earlier. Ridden by Lester Piggott, Britain’s Triple Crown champion will break from Post # 7.
2. MAHMOUD ( Blenheim II ex. Mah Mahal) owned by the Aga Khan and trained by Frank Butters, Mahmoud enters the Turf Classic fresh off a disappointing second in England’s St. Leger. Winner of the Epsom Derby, the swift and spirited Mahmoud will be ridden from Post #5 by Charlie Smirke.
3. PAPYRUS (Tracery ex. Miss Mattie) owned by Mr. Benjamin Irish and trained by Mr. Basil Earnest Jarvis is a grandson of Rock Sand. A seasoned runner, Papyrus has finished in the money 14 times out of 18 starts. The colt will be ridden by Steve Donoghue, his usual rider, and breaks from Post #2.
4. PHAR LAP (Night Raid ex. Entreaty) is trained by Mr. Harry Telford, who is also a co-owner of the gelding, together with Mr.David Davis. Phar Lap is fresh off a stint in Central America and is one of the oldest entrant in the field at age 6. The speedy New Zealand-bred has chalked up some 51 starts, racing almost all of these in Australia. In fact, the gelding has pretty much won every major race there! Phar Lap will make his American debut without his trainer, however — Mr. Telford is home in Australia. He may be the senior in the field — and he may lack a trainer — but don’t overlook this globetrotter! Phar Lap will be ridden by Tommy Woodcock, his usual rider, and breaks from Post # 8.
5. PETITE ETOILE (Petition ex. Star of Iran) is owned by Prince Aly Khan, son of the Aga Khan. Trained by Noel Murless, this talented grey mare is the first of two mares entered in the Turf Classic, as well as being the second oldest thoroughbred in the field, at age 5. She may be getting on in years, but Petite Etoile has only just won Great Britain’s Coronation Cup for the second straight year! Without the benefit of her regular jockey, Lester Piggot (who rides Nijinsky II), the little grey with the explosive turn of foot will be ridden by British jockey Doug Smith and will break from the extreme inside, in Post #1. In the footage below, several great fillies and mares of the 1970’s & 1980’s are featured, including Petite Etoile and All Along, who is also running in the BC Turf Classic.)
6. KELSO (Your Host ex. Maid of Flight by Count Fleet) is owned by Mrs. Allaire Du Pont’s Bohemia Stable and trained by Carl Hanford. The incomparable Kelso may be the only American bred and owned thoroughbred in this year’s Turf Classic field, but he is a monster whether on dirt or grass. America’s legend — the oldest in the field at the age of 8 — has defeated the likes of Carry Back, Never Bend and Crimson Satan, to name but a few. And the feisty gelding has already won Horse of the Year 5 times!!!! The mighty Kelso will be ridden by Ismael Valenzuela, who has been his regular jockey for the last three years, and will break from Post #13.
7. ALL ALONG (Targowice by Round Table, ex.Agujita by Vieux Manoir) is owned by Daniel Wildenstein and trained by Patrick-Louis Biancome. All Along is the second mare in the Turf Classic and one of the older thoroughbreds in the field at 6. However, she comes to us fresh off a close defeat in the Prix de l”arc de Triomphe, which she won at the age of 4, a year in which she raced to victory in the Canadian International as well as the Washington DC International Stakes. All Along has visited the Breeders’ Cup before: she finished second in the Turf Classic on her last try. Ridden by jockey Freddy Head, All Along will break from Post #6.
8. GOLDEN FLEECE (Nijinsky II ex. Exotic Treat by Vaguely Noble) is owned by Mr. Robert Sangster and trained by Mr. Vincent O’Brien. Golden Fleece joins the BC Turf Classic field with an undefeated record on the turf, that includes the Epsom Derby. The brilliant son of Nijinsky II is considered by Vincent O’ Brien to be one of the greatest thoroughbreds he has ever trained, right behind his distinguished sire and the great Sir Ivor. Golden Fleece will break from Post #11, with jockey Pat Eddery in the irons. How good is Golden Fleece? Have a look here at his Derby victory….
9. SINGSPIEL (In The Wings by Sadler’s Wells ex. Glorious Song by Halo) is owned by Sheik Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, who also bred him. The spectacular bay colt is trained by Sir Michael Stoute, who has conditioned him to take victories worldwide, including the Dubai World Cup, the Japan and Coronation Cups and the Canadian International Stakes. Like the mare, All Along, Singspiel tried for a win in the BC Turf Classic but was trounced by Pilsudski. Ridden by Frankie Dettori, this globe-trotting champion will break from Post #9. In the footage of Singspiel, readers will be interested to find him beating a determined Desert King (sire of the incomparable Makybe Diva).
10. ANABAA (Danzig ex. Balbonella, grandsire Vaguely Noble) is owned by Alec Head who also trains the dark bay son of Danzig. A sprinter of talent, the Turf Classic might prove a stretch too long for the colt, although trainer Head and jockey, Olivier Peslier remain confident. And why not? This is a Euro champion with a huge will to win! Anabaa will break from Post #3.
11. LAMMTARRA (Nijinsky II ex. Snow Bride by Blushing Groom) is owned by Saeed Bin Maktoum Al Maktoum and is trained by Saeed Bin Suroor. Although lightly raced (due to illness) this outstanding chestnut son of Nijinsky has never been defeated, with victories in the Epsom Derby and Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in the same year. So stunning was his Derby win, where he seemed to materialize out of nowhere to set a world record, that jockey Mick Kinane should have no problem bringing him ahead in the stretch. Footage of Lammtarra’s smashing Derby win is below….watch for the chestnut at the back of the pack come home! Lammtarra breaks from Post # 10.
12. TEA TRADER (Tea Tray by The Tetrarch ex. Epitaph by Absurd) may look like the “dark horse” in this field, but this big, gorgeous grandson of The Tetrarch has won the ARC Royal Stakes in Australia and another four races in Mexico and the USA. Additional information on this fellow is sparse: this reporter has twice visited Tea Trader and been unable to uncover either his owner or trainer! The New Zealand-bred is probably best-suited to a sprint, but his works have been impressive and suggest he might just have the right stuff to go a distance. Breaking from Post #4, he’ll be able to save some of that dazzling energy — Tea Trader may just prove to be the spoiler!
13. SHERGAR (Great Nephew by Sharmeen by Val de Loir) is owned and bred by H.H. the Aga Khan and trained by the brilliant Sir Michael Stoute. In all of his 8 starts, Shergar has been in the money and has won 6, including the Epsom and Irish Derbies. His wins in each and every race have been absolutely breathtaking. Walter Swinburn, who rides the handsome chestnut with the big, white blaze in the Turf Classic feels that Shergar is the best he’s ever ridden. Nor does Swinburn feel that he’s really gotten to the bottom of him. Shergar breaks from the farthest outside post, #14, which in no way bothers his connections. Their champion is fit and ready to run the race of his life! For those unfamiliar with Shergar, below is his Epsom Derby romp:
14. SEA BIRD (Tom Cupid by Native Dancer ex. Sicilade) is owned and bred by Jean Ternyck and trained by Etienne Pollet, who also trained his sire. The talented colt comes to the BC Turf Classic off his mind-boggling win in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. Earlier this year, he annexed the Epsom Derby. The grandson of Native Dancer will be ridden by his regular jockey, Pat Glennan and breaks from Post # 12. Below is footage of Sea-Bird’s Epsom and Arc wins: