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Breeders' Cup 2017
HRN Original Blog:
Across the Pond

Big Guns Clash in Juddmonte International

Wednesday marks the first day of the York Ebor festival in England. Highlighting the six-race card is the Juddmonte International (Eng-I), a 10-furlong contest for 3yos and up.


A field of six will go to the post, led by the dual-group I winning tandem of Midday and Twice Over. Trained by Sir Henry Cecil, both runners are owned by Prince Khalid Abdullah, who is seeking to capture this race for the first time. (Formerly known as the Benson and Hedges Gold Cup, Juddmonte Farm took over the sponsorship in 1989)


Emirates Airline Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (gr. IT) winner Midday is seeking to become the first distaff winner of the International since In the Groove captured the race in 1990. The daughter of Oasis Dream enters the race off of an impressive two-length victory in the Nassau Stakes (Eng-I) at Glorious Goodwood July 30. Prior to that race she was second twice, in the Pretty Polly Stakes (Ire-I) and the Investec Coronation Cup (Eng-I). Regular rider Tom Queally will be aboard.


Stablemate Twice Over has recently rounded back into form, after putting in some rather dull performances since his try in this year’s Dubai World Cup (UAE-I). After three lackluster efforts in group I company, Cecil dropped Twice Over back into a group II race. Twice Over rewarded his connections with a superb 1 ¼-length victory in the Sky Bet York Stakes (Eng-II) July 23. Young Ian Mongan will have the mount.


Aidan O’Brien, in the midst of a major ‘hot streak’, sends out three runners in the race, led by Await The Dawn. The 3-year-old son of Giant’s Causeway has won five of his six lifetime starts, by a combined 21 ¾-lengths. In his last race, the Hardwicke Stakes (Eng-II) at Royal Ascot, Await The Dawn rolled to an easy three-length win. That victory stirred talks of a shot at the Breeders’ Cup…not in the Turf, but in the Classic, where he would seek to go one better than his sire, who came up a neck short to the mighty Tiznow.


There was some speculation as to who would ride not only Await The Dawn but most of the Ballydoyle horses in England, due to Ryan Moore’s shoulder injury. It came as somewhat of a surprise that O’Brien has named his 18-year-old son, Joseph, as the jockey. While the younger O’Brien has tasted group I success this season (riding Roderic O’Connor to victory in the Irish 2000 Guineas), it was thought that Seamie Heffernan, Colm O’Donoghue, or Jamie Spencer might get the mount.


Of the two other Ballydoyle horses entered in the race, Roderic O’Connor would probably be considered the more serious contender. Already a dual group I winner, the son of Galileo seems to be much more suited to going a mile rather than stretching out past that. Colm O’Donoghue will ride.


The field is rounded out by Windsor Palace, entered as a pacemaker for the Ballydoyle team, and Zafisio, a group I winner in France as a juvenile. Now a 5-year-old, the son of Efisio has suffered various setbacks, and will be making his first start in nearly a year.





Goldikova Falls Short (Again) in Jacques Le Marois


For the second straight year, Goldikova had to settle for second in the Prix Jacques Le Marois (Fr-I; hey, I know that’s not the full name of the race—but you try typing/spelling the full moniker. Trust me--it’s better for everyone if I just shorten it).


Last year, she was upset by British classic winner Makfi. This time around she ran into the buzz saw named Immortal Verse, runaway winner of the Coronation Stakes (Eng-I) at Royal Ascot. Immortal Verse, a daughter of Pivotal, now has won two group I races, and certainly has a bright future ahead of her. Trainer Robert Collet has indicated that the bay filly may next appear in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (Eng-I), where she would meet the mighty Frankel. She should not be overlooked there; her sharp turn of foot and sweeping last-to-first moves just might cause a bit of heartburn for Frankel’s connections.


I would also look forward to seeing her in the Breeders’ Cup Mile…if not this year, certainly in 2012. Immortal Verse hails from the immediate family of Last Tycoon, winner of the inaugural Mile in 1984. Like Last Tycoon, Immortal Verse just may very well be overlooked by the bettors, too.


Returning to Goldikova, the 6-year-old mare lost nothing in defeat. Goldi was carrying seven more pounds than Immortal Verse, had an outside post position, and was stuck on the outside the entire race. She also had to deal with course conditions that weren’t to her liking. (Softened by overnight rain, the course was officially listed as “good to soft”; the emphasis being on the “soft”) It also probably didn’t help that she was making just a two-week turnaround. This may not affected her as a 3 and 4-year-old, but it probably wasn’t to her benefit this time.


Look for her to rest and regroup, and reappear next on Oct. 2 in the Prix De La Foret (Fr-I), an event she won last year on her way to defending her title in the Breeders’ Cup.


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Older Comments about Big Guns Clash in Juddmonte International...

Great call on Sea Moon, that was impressive. I think he has a great shot in the St. Ledger. Seville just doesn't have the killer instinct. I think Midday also hangs a bit when she gets the lead. How many times does she seem to be on her way to victory only to get passed at the wire? She is a great mare but I would never trust her to win.
Twice Over! Nice race! Midday--Queen of the 2nds... forgive the "his" reference above...she is classy even in her 2nds...
Seville looks pretty good right now...will break his 2nds streak?
Big race for Sea Moon
Sea Moon- 6 lengths winner at 9/2
AtD 4/5 - T 9/2 -M 2/1
Seville looks pretty good right now...will break his 2nds streak?
Both Namibian and Sea Moon are good chances to upset Seville. Agree with orangeman88 that the odds on Await the Dawn are tough to take when Twice Over may have his confidence back and Midday is running strong, both at better odds. But if Await the Dawn runs to his hype, he should win.
@orangeman88, Seville's 2nd over 12f in the G1 Irish Derby and the G1 Grand Prix De Paris is the top form in the Great Voltigeur Stakes by some way. But keep a close eye on the Juddmonte horse trained by Sir Michael Stoute named Sea Moon. He's won 2 of 3 starts and was only beaten a shoulder in his one loss. 12f will suite him down to the ground, and he's really improving at a fast rate.
Does it scare you that he has an inexperienced jockey searching for his first G1? Plus, I believe its Aidan's son. I find it hard to take him at 4-5 even though he probably should win.
  • mary.schweitzer · While I'm wishing someone a bit more experienced was riding, "young'' J.P. O'Brien has already won a group I...and a classic to boot. He won the Irish 2000 Guineas on Roderic O'Connor back in May. He almost stole the Epsom Derby, too. · 2253 days ago
  • mary.schweitzer · While I'm wishing someone a bit more experienced was riding, "young'' J.P. O'Brien has already won a group I...and a classic to boot. He won the Irish 2000 Guineas on Roderic O'Connor back in May. He almost stole the Epsom Derby, too. · 2253 days ago
I agree that he has Aidan's confidence, and I think its a nice horse but there are a lot of questions to be answered for a horse that is 4/5 right now. I would rather take the 2/1 on Midday or the 9/2 on Twice Over. If the odds get reversed however, I'd be happy to take Await the Dawn. Do you guys have any feelings on the Group 2 before the International? Seville is even but he seems to hang on the lead to me, which makes him vulnerable in my eyes. Namibian is my choice.
orangeman88- Aiden's son seems to be doing ok. He just need experience in races like this and they are giving it to him. Would Aiden really ride him if he thought htat he wouldn't give him a good ride?
Love Midday--just concerned about her 17-day turn around after going 1 1/4.
I think Await The Dawn can and will win the Juddmonte International Stakes on Wednesday. But he'll have to be at his very best to beat Midday, and who knows which Twice Over is likely to show up? As he was beaten by a very narrow margin in this same race by Rip Van Winkle in 2010. The one thing that I do find a little surprising is that Await The Dawn has been made market favorite for this race instead of Midday? This will be Await The Dawn's first ever attempt at G1 company, and Midday has 6 G1 win's to her credit.
I agree medlocke ... if he is let go as the 3rd choice, it would be a steal. Like I said, I am rooting for the mare, but I recognize Await The Dawn is ready to step, and is the horse to beat in here.
Await The Dawn has been crying out for G1 company, and he finally gets it tomorrow!! This horse is lightly raced, but he's won 5 of 6 career starts. Including having bolted up at Chester in the G3 Huxley Stakes and at Ascot in the G2 Hardwicke Stakes. Proving that he stays beyond 10f, all the way to 12f. Mark my words, this horse will beat Midday in the Juddmonte International Stakes tomorrow!! American racing fan's should keep a sharp eye on Await The Dawn. Because he'll be coming stateside to represent Coolmore/Ballydoyle in this year's Breeders Cup Classic. You look at Await The Dawn's pedigree, sired by Giant's Causeway out of a Dixieland Band mare, and it suggest that he may be even more lethal on conventional dirt than he's been so far on turf.
With all the great females of recent years, not much is said about Midday, who has had an excellent career. Rooting for her tomorrow.

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