July 15 (UPI) -- In an important weekend of international horse racing, Ten Sovereigns won the July Cup in England and Japan (the horse) won in France, pumping his chances for the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.
And, as Hong Kong wound up its season, the Kingdom of Bahrain announced a new 2,000-meters international race with a purse of 200,000 pounds sterling and big ambition for the future.
Here we go:
Ten Sovereigns scored his first win of the season in Saturday's Group 1 Darley July Cup at Newmarket, soundly spanking the favorite, Advertise, and 10 others including older rivals and announcing his candidacy for sprinting glory now that Blue Point has moved on to his second career.
Ten Sovereigns, a 3-year-old by No Nay Never racing for the Coolmore-Aidan O'Brien connections, kicked clear late and finished 2 3/4 lengths to the good of Advertise with ------ third. Winner of the Group 1 Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes in his 2-year-old finale, Ten Sovereigns finished fifth in the Qipco 2000 Guineas in his 3-year-old bow, then fourth in the Group 1 Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot, won by Advertise.
O'Brien has had success in the past turning back runners to the 6 furlongs of the July Cup and Saturday's effort fit that pattern. "We slowed him down all winter to try and get him to get a mile and he nearly got a mile in the Guineas," Racing Post quoted O'Brien. "He ran a very good race at Ascot but mentally looked like a horse who hadn't clicked into sprinting mood yet."
Jockey Ryan Moore concurred about Saturday's results. "He looked like a top-class sprinter and hopefully he can continue that for the rest of the season," Moore said.
Fairyland, a 3-year-old filly by Kodiac also trained by O'Brien, has a record similar to Ten Sovereigns'. She won the Group 1 Juddmonte Cheveley Park Stakes to wrap up 2018 and came up short in the Tattersalls Irish 1,000 Guineas and the Group 1 King's Stand a Royal Ascot.
In Friday's Group 1 Tattersalls Falmouth Stakes for fillies and mares at Newmarket, Veracious showed the way, then was all out through the final 100 yards to hang onto the lead, winner by a neck from One Master. The favorite, I Can Fly, was one-paced through the final furlong, settling for third, 2 3/4 lengths further back. Veracious, a Cheveley Park homebred 4-year-old filly by Frankel, scored her first win of the season and third from 10 starts for trainer Sir Michael Stoute. She finished fourth in the Group 2 Duke of Cambridge at Royal Ascot in her previous start.
Japan settled nicely behind the pace in Sunday's Group 1 Juddmonte Grand Prix de Paris at Longchamp for 3-year-old colts and fillies, came after the leaders inside the 400 meters and got there first by 1/2 length as the odds-on favorite. Slalom, after surviving an eventful start that included a brush with the rail, rallied to finish second, 3/4 length ahead of Jalmoud. Japan, a Galileo colt from the Coolmore-Ballydoyle combine, backed up his win in the Group II King Edward VII at Royal Ascot and boosted his chances for the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.
Trainer Aidan O'Brien said the Arc "always has been" in the plans, even when a temperature forced a long delay in getting Japan to the races as a 3-year-old. Now, he said, the path to that race could go through the Irish Champion Stakes or the Prix Niel at Longchamp on Arc Trials Day.
The Hong Kong racing season ended Sunday with John Size hanging onto his lead over John Moore for the trainers title and Zac Purton easily winning the jockey crown despite missing Joeo Moreira's record of 170 wins by two.
The Hong Kong Jockey Club continued its upward progression in total handle, but only thanks to a big increase in commingled wagering from punters in other countries. The handle from Hong Kong wagering was down 1.6 percent to just a sliver less than HK$1.6 billion. Commingling was up 13.5 percent. The total of commingling was just HK$18.8 billion and the new "world pool" added HK$238 million -- numbers that show almost unlimited potential for growth. Attendance was up 3.3 percent, showing gains at both Happy Valley and Sha Tin.
"Today we had record turnover for a season finale," said Winfried Engelbrecht-Bresges, Chief Executive Officer at the Hong Kong Jockey Club. "It has been a challenging year with a lot of ups and downs, so to end the season with an increase in turnover is one of several positives we will take into next season.
"The major growth driver was definitely commingling, which showed fantastic results and increased by 13 per cent," Engelbrecht-Bresges added. "But what counts is the gross margin, and, in the circumstances of a challenging environment we are very satisfied that we have seen that increase by 1 per cent to HK$5.54 billion."
Beauty Generation, on the back of four Group 1 victories, earned back-to-back Horse of the Year titles and also was crowned champion miler and most popular horse of the season.
The Bahrain Horse Racing Authority has announced the Bahrain International Trophy, a 2,000-meters race around two turns to be run for the first time Nov. 22 for a purse of 200,000 pounds sterling. The Trophy will be contested right-handed around two turns at the Rashid Equestrian and Horseracing Club, with a maximum of 14 runners. To be eligible, horses will need a rating of 95 or more from their home authorities.
"The foundation of the Bahrain International Trophy will begin a new chapter in the history of horse racing in the Kingdom of Bahrain and demonstrates the country's determination to establish itself as a premier horse racing destination," said Sheik Salman bin Rashed Al Khalifa, executive director of the REHC.
"The race provides an opportunity to attract the attention of the global media and market Bahrain internationally as well as prove that REHC has the infrastructure and leadership required to stage a successful international sporting event," he added.