International News Wrap

9 min read

Broome Gets Long-Awaited Stakes Victory in Ballysax

A leading light for Australia’s (GB) (Galileo {Ire}) first crop as a 2-year-old last year with two Group seconds Broome broke through impressively when winning the G3 P.W. McGrath Memorial Ballysax Stakes by eight lengths.

Trained by Aidan O’Brien, the colt joins Coolmore greats Galileo (Ire) (Sadler’s Wells {Ire}), High Chaparral (Ire) (Sadler’s Wells), Yeats (Ire) (Sadler’s Wells), and Fame and Glory (GB) (Montjeu {Ire}) as horses to win the Derby trial.

Broome was last early on as the leaders opened up multiple lengths on the field. As the leading pair was caught by the field, Broome made his move, flying past the field and continuing to pull away in the final 200 metres.

He led home a quinella for Coolmore and Aidan O’Brien with his grandsire’s Sovereign (Ire) finishing second with another four lengths back to the rest of the field.

Broome comes from the family of former Australian shuttle sire Zoffany (Ire) (Dansili {GB}) with Zoffany’s half-brother Rostropovich (Ire) (Frankel {GB}) finishing fifth in last year’s Group 1 Cox Plate and Melbourne Cup.

Never No More A Guineas Hope For No Nay Never

No Nay Never (USA) (Scat Daddy {USA}) struck again on Saturday at Leopardstown when his son Never No More won his first stakes race in the Ballylinch Stud ‘Red Rocks’ 2000 Guineas Trial Stakes.

The highly regarded Aidan O’Brien trainee was making his second start of the year after winning easily at Dundalk on March 24. It wasn’t an easy victory with Never No More only catching the previously undefeated Madhmoon (Ire) (Dawn Approach {Ire}) in the closing strides of the race to win for the third time in five starts.

“He got a nice position and when Ryan [Moore} eased him out he found plenty for him,” O’Brien told Thoroughbred Daily News. “He’d be very happy with nice ground, but he handled the ease well today. We could look at a Guineas with him, either France or England, and he could be a French Guineas horse. He’s tactical and he seems to get that trip well. He finishes off and he did that in Naas as well.”

The sires of the top two finishers have both shuttled to Australia with No Nay Never’s first 2-year-olds hitting the track next season. Dawn Approach (New Approach {Ire}) has two crops of racing age in the southern hemisphere, including Group 1 New Zealand Two Thousand Guineas runner-up Dawn Patrol.

Lady Kaya Proves She Can Stay in Guineas Trial

Lady Kaya (Ire) (Dandy Man {Ire}) came back from a 189-day layoff ready to run, taking out the Ballylinch Stud ‘Priory Belle’ 1000 Guineas Trial Stakes by 2 ¼ lengths.

The filly went to the lead early on and never gave it up, even pulling away in the stretch. It was the filly’s first victory since winning in her second start by 10 lengths with a second behind Skitter Scatter (USA) (Scat Daddy) in the Group 1 Moyglare Stud Stakes also a big result on her resume as a 2-year-old.

The result convinced trainer Sheila Lavery the filly is able to handle a mile with a Guineas now the goal for the filly.

“I’m so lucky to have her and everybody at home has done a great job. Although it looks like she’s done that really easy, she puts an awful lot more in than you think and I’ll see how she comes out of it. She handles Newmarket, we know that from running last year in the Cheveley Park, but my gut would say the Irish Guineas as she won’t do two. I’ll discuss it with (owner) Joanne (Lavery), but she’ll make the decision for me,” Lavery told Thoroughbred Daily News.

Roadster Pays Back Baffert Faith

When asked who his next big horse was last year, Bob Baffert had no hesitation naming Roadster (USA) (Quality Road {USA}). The colt paid off his trainer’s faith in him on Saturday when winning a duel with his Champion 2-year-old stablemate Game Winner (USA) (Candy Ride {Arg}) to take home his first Grade 1 in the Santa Anita Derby.

Near the back of the field and looking like he wasn’t going to have a chance at the win with a few hundred metres to go, Roadster was impressive kicking into gear under Mike Smith. It wasn’t an easy victory with Roadster winning by half-length but was enough to lock him a spot into this years Kentucky Derby.

“It was a great finish. They were both finishing well, they were fighting; Game Winner is a fighter. It was a great stretch run . . . at the eighth pole I knew I was going to win, I just didn’t know which one, but it was exciting. They’ll both like a mile and a quarter (distance of the Kentucky Derby). I think Game Winner’s next race will be better. I’ve been bringing him along really easy.”

Assuming all goes according to plan over the next four weeks, Baffert will have two horses in the Derby with Game Winner also earning a spot.

Juddmonte Seals Ticket to Kentucky Derby With Tacitus

One of the best-bred horses on the Kentucky Derby trail this year, Tacitus (USA) (Tapit {USA}) solidified his position in the Kentucky Derby field when winning the Grade 2 Wood Memorial and taking over the points lead on the Road to the Kentucky Derby.

Tacitus took his spot behind the leaders soon after the break but was involved in traffic trouble around the first turn that would see the colt have to wait out an inquiry to be declared the official winner. Running down duelling leaders that had opened up lengths on the field proved to be an easy task for Tacitus but he wasn’t the only horse with the same accomplishment.

It was a battle down the straight between Tacitus and Tax (USA) (Arch {USA}), though Tax yielded the lead over to his rival to finish second with Shadwell’s Haikal (USA) (Daaher {USA}) third.

Tactius is the fifth generation of his family to be campaigned by Juddmonte Farms. From 2014 U.S. Champion Older Female Close Hatches (USA) (First Defence {USA}), this is the extended family of Group 2 Silver Slipper winner and sire Domesday (Red Ransom {USA}) and Group 2 Queen of the South winner Trick Of Light (GB) (Dansili {GB}) with the colt’s fifth dam being the blue hen Best In Show.

Vekoma Earns Trip to Kentucky Derby With Blue Grass Stakes Victory

Keeneland set an opening Saturday attendance record on Saturday when 34,775 people came to watch Vekoma (USA) (Candy Ride {Arg}) win the Grade 2 Blue Grass Stakes.

The favourite in the race, Vekoma was never far from the front and took control rounding the far turn. Vekoma didn’t look back after getting the lead and won by 3 ½ lengths over Win Win Win (USA) (Hat Trick {Jpn}), who nosed out Signalman (USA) (General Quarters {USA}) for second.

“I’ve really never had a colt like this in all the time I’ve trained,” said trainer George Weaver. “Nothing would surprise me. If he comes out of it well, we’ll go to Louisville (for the Kentucky Derby) and see what happens. I’m pretty torn up. I’m excited. I grew up in Kentucky and came to the Bluegrass when I was a kid, every year. Winning this race is very special.”

An interesting stallion prospect himself, Vekoma is from the family of former Australian shuttle stallions Street Sense (USA) (Street Cry {Ire}) and Danehill Dancer (Ire) (Danehill {USA}).

Bellafina Provides Quality Road With Grade 1 Double

Bellafina (USA) (Quality Road {USA}) provided her sire with the first part of a Grade 1 double at Santa Anita on Saturday when she won the Grade 1 Santa Anita Oaks for her third straight victory.

Making the case that she may be the top 3-year-old filly in the nation, she dominated a small field that included American Pharoah’s Grade 1 winning half-sister Chasing Yesterday (USA) (Tapit {USA}) by 5 ¼ lengths. Godolphin’s worldwide success also hit Santa Anita less than a day after their victories at Royal Randwick with Flor de La Mar (USA) (Tiznow {USA}) finishing second for the operation. Chasing Yesterday was third to give Bob Baffert a 2-3 finish.

Bellafina comes from the extended family of Group 1 New Zealand One Thousand Guineas winner Hasahalo (NZ) (Savabeel), Group 1 Toorak Handicap winner Sober Suit (Noalcoholic {Fr}) and Group 1 Emirates S. winner Titanic Jack (Encosta De Lago).

Out For a Spin Pulls Major Upset In Ashland

In what looked like an open edition of the Grade 1 Central Bank Ashland Stakes on Saturday it was the longest shot on the board – at odds of 52-1 – who pulled the upset to earn a spot in the Kentucky Oaks.

Tracking last year’s champion 2-year-old filly Jaywalk (USA) (Cross Traffic {USA}), Out For A Spin (USA) (Hard Spun {USA}) had a battle on her hands to get the lead. Jaywalk yielded but Restless Rider (USA) (Distorted Humor {USA}) took up the fight with Out For A Spin showing she isn’t afraid to step up when winning by a neck.

“She hasn’t done much wrong,” said trainer Dallas Stewart. “She’s won her last two out of three, and she did it impressively. She trains great. In this great game that we have, there are ups and downs, and this an up. Great to have a win today with this big, beautiful filly. She took it (almost) wire-to-wire, and Paco (Lopez) gave her a great ride. We’re going take it to the Kentucky Oaks (G1) from here.”

By a former Australian shuttle sire, Out For A Spin also has another Australia connection. Australian agent Craig Rounsefell bought the filly’s stakes winning half-sister at the Keeneland November Breeding Stock Sale for US$400,000 in 2016. It was the second time this weekend Rounsefell saw a major update to one of his purchases with the agent buying Group 1 Inglis Sires’ winner Microphone’s dam last year for $70,000.