July 22 (UPI) -- A 2-year-old colt and a 3-year-old filly showed massive promise of things to come during the weekend's international Thoroughbred racing program.
It was A'ali backing up a victory at Ascot with another Sunday at Deauville. And Star Catcher captured Saturday's Kerrygold Irish Oaks at the Curragh, surely the first Group 1 race sponsored by butter.
It's no surprise that Frankie Dettori was aboard both winners.
A'ali, with Dettori riding for trainer Simon Crisford, was much the best in Sunday's Group 2 Darley Prix Robert Papin for 2-year-olds at Deauville, tracking down pacesetter My Love's Passion inside the final 100 meters, then powering to a 3/4-length victory. Jolie was third. A'ali, an Irish-bred colt by Society Rock, backed up his win in the Group 2 Norfolk Stakes at Royal Ascot and now is a candidate to give Crisford a long-delayed win at the top level soon.
"We're going to look at an obvious step up to Group 1 level," Crisford told Racing Post. "Where that is, we're not sure just yet. He's in the Prix Morny. He's in the Phoenix. He's in the Nunthorpe and at the moment I'd say the Prix Morny is the most likely target for him."
Dettori took Star Catcher right to the front in Saturday's Group 1 Kerrygold Irish Oaks and found plenty left in the late going. Fleeting came running late but never got to even terms, finishing second by 1/2 length. The favorite, Pink Dogwood, was another 4 1/2 lengths back in third. Star Catcher, a Sea the Stars filly trained by John Gosden for the Oppenheimer family, upped her 2019 record to 3-for-4. She entered off a win in the Group 2 Ribblesdale.
"It was a matter of getting the fractions right and Fleeting came to me, but Star Catcher could have gone on again," Racing Post quoted Dettori.
Gosden reflected on both the quality of the ride and his embarrassment of riches. "We'll think about the Yorkshire Oaks although we also have Coronet, Lah Ti Dar, Anapurna and maybe Enable," the trainer told RP. "We'll see how Star Catcher comes out of this race before making a plan. There's also the Vermeille to consider."
To be fair about the sponsorship by butter: Kerrygold is best known for its dairy spread but also produces Kerrygold Irish Cream Liqueur and cheese, including one infused with that liqueur. The brand exceed 1 billion Euros in annual global sales earlier this year, becoming the first Irish-based food brand to reach that level.
We're digressing, I know, but an old Kerrygold television ad campaign featured a lovely gray steed and included the line, "Who's taking the horse to France?" There was a decided undercurrent of double entendre.