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Joshua Tree Wins Another Canadian International

Joshua Tree (IRE)(8) with Jockey Lanfranco Dettori aboard dashes to victory at Pattison Canadian International in Toronto, Canada on October 14, 2012.
Joshua Tree, piloted by renowned jockey Frankie Dettori, made every pole a winning one, taking Canada’s richest horse race, the Grade 1, $1.5 million Pattison Canadian International, by a half-length over a charging Dandino, Sunday at Woodbine.

It was a record-tying third International win for Dettori, who previously scored with Mutafaweq in 2000 and Sulamani in 2004. Robert Watson also won three Internationals, from 1942-44, but that was before the event became a turf race in 1958.

It was also the second International win for Joshua Tree, who notched the 2010 edition when trained by Aidan O’Brien, as he joined George Royal (1965-66) and Majesty’s Prince (1982, 1984) as the only two-time winners of the race since 1958.   He entered as the field’s leading money winner, with over $2.2 million and earned an additional $900,000 for his front-running effort on Sunday.

Last year, the Irish-bred finished second to longshot Sarah Lynx, when conditioned by Marco Botti for new owners Khalid al Nabooda and Kamel Albahou. This year, they returned for another crack and prevailed in the Breeders’ Cup Win and You’re In event, which provided an all-expenses paid berth to the BC Turf on November 3 at Santa Anita.

 
“That was always the plan, try to get to the front,” said an elated Dettori.  “I’m very happy after half a mile. I was able to dictate my own tempo. When I kicked for home at the quarter pole, I knew I had plenty of horse left. Woodbine has been phenomenal for me. The E.P. Taylor (turf) has been very lucky. I just love the place, love the people. It’s the best turf track in North America, so for us Europeans it makes life a lot easier.   But also you need the horse that answers every call and he did for me. I was able to set my own fractions, but when I asked him to pick up, he did. He fought right to the line.”

Dettori sent Joshua Tree, a five-year-old son of Montjeu, right to the front, posting early fractions of :25.52, :51.59 and a dawdling 1:17.17 for six furlongs, while being stalked by Air Support and favoured Imperial Monarch.

After the mile was reached in 1:43.05 over a ‘good’ E.P. Taylor Turf Course, the field turned for home and Joshua Tree quickly opened a couple of lengths on his pursuers.   But he needed all of it, as 25-1 shot Dandino and jockey Jim Crowley closed quickly down the centre, overtaking the Roger Attfield-trained Forte Dei Marmi, an 8-1 shot, near the wire by a half-length for second.   It was another one and one-quarter lengths back to fourth-place finisher, Wigmore Hall, two-time winner of the Northern Dancer.  The final time for the mile and one-half was 2:30.89.

 
Joshua Tree had entered the International off a solid third place finish in the Prix Foy at Longchamp on September 16, when ridden for the first time by Dettori, behind Japan’s Triple Crown winner and recent Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe runner-up, Orfevre.   But he’s had a busy campaign, after beginning the season in Dubai in February, and was making his 10th start of the year in the International.

 
“It was always the plan (to bring him back to Woodbine one more time) and we are delighted for him that he won for us,” said Lucie Botti, wife and assistant trainer for husband Marco.  “He is a great horse to us, very consistent.  He’s just a superstar for us.”

It marked the third year in a row that champion Montjeu had sired the International winner, as Sarah Lynx is one of his daughters as well.   Joshua Tree remained the 11th different Irish-bred to win since 1958.

Jim Crowley, jockey of runner-up, Dandino, said he just missed winning the race.
“(Dandino) ran a simply phenomenal race. Down the lane, he was always battling back.  He wouldn’t quit. I had a great trip. Another stride or two and I think we could have won it.”

Sent postward a co-second choice (along with Reliable Man) to the 9-5 favourite Imperial Monarch, who faded to sixth, Joshua Tree paid $10.70, $6.10 and $4.40, combining with Dandino ($20.80, $11.30) for a $120.80 (8-2) exactor.  An 8-2-3 (Forte Dei Marmi, $5.80) triactor was worth $1,536.80, while a $1 superfecta [8-2-3-6 (Wigmore Hall)] returned $4,142.80.

 

 

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Older Comments about Joshua Tree Wins Another Canadian International...

Joshua Tree quite obviously loves the turf course at Woodbine. 2 wins and a 2nd in the past 3 running's of the Canadian International shows that. His form coming in was rock solid as well, having scored a win, a 2nd, and a 3rd at G2 level in 3 races prior to coming to Woodbine. He was always going to be at least one of the top 2 or 3 horses to beat in this race. With that being said, Dandino in 2nd was the real eye catcher of the race to me. He forced to go very wide through the stretch, but Jim Crowley had him absolutely motoring, cutting back Joshua Tree's lead with every stride. So much so that if the race had been another 10 yards, if even that, Jim Crowley would've likely stolen Frankie Dettori's thunder on the day, IMO. I think Imperial Monarch and Reliable Man would've both been seen to much better effect in the race if there had bin a bit more cut in the ground on the day. They're both better when the turf is relatively soft as apposed to being good to firm.

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