Golden Sixty arrives center stage in Hong Kong, defeating Beauty Generation in Sunday's Celebration Cup. Photo Courtesy of Hong Kong Jockey Club
Sept. 28 (UPI) -- Contrail set up a Triple Crown try in Japan, Golden Sixty promised stardom with a Hong Kong victory and both Breeders' Cup berths and Kentucky Derby points were passed out in England in weekend horse racing.
Into the bargain, a Breeder's Cup slot was earned in Brazil and Australia's springtime racing season hit full simmer.
We've got all the North American action elsewhere. But here's what happened internationally -- much of it, as noted, with potential impact on American racing to come.
Away we go.
Saturday was a big day for the 2-year-olds at Newmarket with a pair of Group 1 events plus a Breeders' Cup "Win and You're In."
In the Group 1 Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes, Supremacy took the early lead, then was all out through the final furlong to hold off the favorite, Lucky Vega, and win by 1/2 length.
Minzall was third with Her Majesty's runner, Tactical, not quite able to sustain his bid and finishing fourth. Supremacy, a Memhas colt trained by Clive Cox, backed up his victory in the Group 2 Richmond Stakes at Goodwood July 30 and now has three straight wins.
Lucky Vega won the Group 1 Phoenix at the Curragh July 9 but then was fifth in his last race, the Group 1 Vincent O'Brien National over the same course.
"I'm overjoyed," Cox told Racing Post. "He's a complete speedball and likes to get on with it. I'm really excited about him for next year as well because I think he's got more developing and strengthening to do over the winter. He's just pure class."
Alcohol Free contested the pace from the start of the Group 1 Juddmonte Cheveley Park Stakes, then held gamely to win by 1/2 length over the favorite, Miss Amulet, with Umm Kulthum another head in arrears in third.
Alcohol Free, a No Nay Never filly trained by Andrew Balding and ridden by Oisin Murphy, took a giant step forward while winning for the second time in three starts.
"She's a super filly," Racing Post quoted Murphy. "She's a Group 1 winner now and certainly fits into the 1,000 Guineas category. ... Andrew has done a top job with her because he's had to carefully manage her training regime. She's very generous at home and he's kept a lid on her."
New Mandate, stepping into group company for the first time, posted an authoritative victory in Saturday's Group 2 Juddmonte Royal Lodge stakes at Newmarket, holding off Ontario by a cozy 3/4 length.
Cobh, the early leader, salvaged third, 1/2 length better than Gear Up. Pleasant Man completed the order of finish. New Mandate, a New Bay gelding, scored his third straight win with Frankie Dettori up for trainer Ralph Beckett.
The Royal Lodge was not only a "Win and You're In" for the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf but also an early leg of the European Road to the Kentucky Derby.
As a gelding, neither the upcoming Futurity nor England's top 3-year-old races will be open to New Mandate and Beckett indicated a trip to Keeneland in a few weeks' time might be the start of a different path for the youngster.
"We will think about it," Beckett said of the Breeders' Cup. "I think if he got beat today I wouldn't be so positive about going. But now he's done that, we'll certainly think about it."
Into the bargain, New Mandate earned 10 points toward claiming Europe's entitled spot in the starting gate for Kentucky Derby 147 next May Day so the Commonwealth could become a familiar site for him.
A Breeder's Cup berth -- for the Juvenile Fillies Turf -- also was on offer in Friday's Group 2 Shadwell Rockfell Stakes at Newmarket with Isabella Giles picking up that Annie Oakley.
The Belardo filly scored her fourth win from five starts for trainer Clive Cox, winning handily as the second-favorite in a field of five. The favorite, Monday, had a bad Friday while invading from Ballydoyle, finishing fourth, more than 10 lengths adrift of the winner.
It's early innings to be sure but High Definition's performance in Saturday's Group 2 Alan Smurfit Memorial Beresford Stakes at the Curragh certainly must have had the Coolmore lads thinking about the 2021 Classics.
The Galileo colt, out of the Fastnet Rock mare Palace, made it 2-for-2 in his young career with a late-running, 3/4-length win over Monaasib. The early pacemaker, Snapraetera, got home third. After racing next-last in the big field, it appeared with only a furlong left there was no way High Definition could get the job done.
But he did, gobbling up ground and then cruising smoothly by Monaasib.
Palace, a full brother to Innisfree, who won the 2019 Beresford and finished second to Kameko in the Group 1 Vertem Futurity, earned 10 points on the European Road to the Kentucky Derby but trainer Aidan O'Brien appears to have other targets in mind.
"He's lovely and puts away a lot of ground," O'Brien told Racing TV. "He's a big, rangy horse with a massive, big stride and is one to really look forward to. ... I'd say we'll put him away now. He could start in a Guineas and he looks like he'll be a middle-distance horse."
Sunday's Group 3 Celebration Cup at Sha Tin Racecourse was billed and well promoted by the Hong Kong Jockey Club as a showdown between two-time Horse of the Year Beauty Generation, making his 8-year-old debut, and reigning BMW Hong Kong Derby champ Golden Sixty.
And, while Golden Sixty indeed won with Beauty Generation dead-heating for second, the race clearly was more of a preliminary than a showdown.
Golden Sixty raced well off the pace, found a clear path on the outside at the top of the lane and cruised the rest of the way. Beauty Generation worked closer to the early lead but then found himself boxed in early in the stretch run.
By the time Zac Purton found room for Beauty Generation, Golden Sixty was gone and the second-place tie with Champions Way was the best he could do.
It's also worth noting Beauty Generation was giving Golden Sixty 17 pounds, neither was racing at an optimum distance and both were making their seasonal debut.
"He felt great and fresh today," said Golden Sixty's rider, Vincent Ho. "Once I got a clear run I knew he'd run them down. I think he is one of the best horses in Hong Kong at the moment.
"I think he was around 70 to 75 percent fit before this run and after this he should go up even more, of course with the aim of December," Ho added, referring to the Longines Hong Kong International Races on Dec. 13.
Beauty Generation's trainer, David Hayes, admitted, "It was always going to be a big ask to give a young champion like Golden Sixty so much weight. But I think Beauty Generation would have finished a clear second with a better run and I'm very happy with the way he went."
Beauty Generation and Golden Sixty could meet again in the Oriental Watch Sha Tin Trophy Handicap at 1 mile Oct. 18, where the latter again would have a big swing in the weights. Later, it's set weights.
Friday night at The Valley, Pippie showed the way and then found the wire just in time to post a mild upset in the Group 1 Charter Keck Cramer Moir Stakes, beating Trekking home by 3/4 length.
Bella Vella was third and the favorite, Fabergino, beat only one rival in the 1,000-meters event. Pippie, a 5-year-old mare by Written Tycoon, was having her first start of the season. Trainer Chris Meagher said there are plenty of options for Pippie, including the Manikato and the Darley Sprint.
On Saturday, Russian Camelot stalked the early speed in the Group 1 Hyland Race Colours Underwood Stakes at Caulfield, seized the lead approaching the clock tower and strode out to win by 1 3/4 lengths.
Humidor was second, trailed by Arcadia Queen and Gailo Chop. Russian Camelot, a 4-year-old, Irish-bred son of Camelot, went to the post favorite after finishing second to Fierce Impact in the Group 1 Makybe Diva in his seasonal debut Sept. 12.
Trainer Danny O'Brien lauded Russian Camelot as the best he's trained and all indications are the colt could be on to the Cox Plate.
Ole Kirk edged North Pacific in Saturday's Group 1 De Bortoli Wines Golden Rose Stakes for 3-year-olds at Rosehill Gardens with King's Legacy third and the favorite, Rothfire, fourth.
Ole Kirk, a Written Tycoon colt, had been second in both the listed Rosebud Stakes and the Group 2 Road to Rose in preparation for Saturday's mild upset. The Caulfield Guineas or even The Everest could be on the colt's agenda. Ole Kirk was produced by Naturale, a full sister to Black Caviar.
With the autumn Grade 1 season just around the corner, some of Japan's top horses are gearing up for action.
At Chukyo on Sunday, heavy favorite Contrail returned from a four-months break and got away to a 2-lengths victory over Weltreisende in the Grade 2 Kobe Shimbun Hai for 3-year-olds.
Contrail, a Deep Impact colt, waited in mid-pack and closed sharply for the win, remaining undefeated after six starts. Contrail's tally already includes the Grade 1 Hopeful Stakes at Nakayama last December, the Grade I Satsuki Sho or Japanese 2,000 Guineas at Nakayama in April and the Grade I Tokyo Yushun or Japanese Derby in May.
He now can sweep the Triple Crown with a win in the Grade 1 Kikuka Sho or Japanese St. Leger Oct. 25.
In Sunday's Group 2 Sankei Sho All Comers, Curren Bouquetd'or, second last year in three Grade 1 events, was second again, outfinished by Centello in her first race since February.
Curren Bouquetd'or, a 4-year-old Deep Impact filly, was bridesmaid in the 2019 Yushun Himba, Shuka Sho, and Japan Cup and much is expected this season by trainer Sakae Kunieda and owner Takashi Suzuki. Centello, a 5-year-old mare also by Deep Impact, has competed a bit farther down the class ladder.
Pimper's Paradise, the 2-1 favorite, came from well back to win Sunday's Group 1 Grande Premio Brasil at Hipodromo da Gavea in Rio De Janeiro by 1 1/2 lengths over Olympic Impact.
The victory was worth a "Win and You're In" spot in the Longines Breeders' Cup Turf in November at Keeneland.
Pimper's Paradise, a 5-year-old son of Put It Back, finished third in the Group 1 Gran Premio Latinoamerica in March, then went on to win the Group 1 Matias Machline in Sao Paulo on June 27.