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King’s Stand goal for Breeders’ Cup hero Golden Pal

Wesley Ward will target the King’s Stand at Royal Ascot next summer with Golden Pal following his sensational display at the Breeders’ Cup.

Mowed down late by Michael Bell’s The Lir Jet in the Norfolk Stakes on his first visit to Britain earlier this year, the Uncle Mo colt made a successful return to his homeland at Saratoga in September before blitzing his rivals in the Juvenile Turf Sprint at Keeneland.

While Golden Pal has the option of running against his own age group in the six-furlong Commonwealth Cup at the Royal meeting in June, Ward views the King’s Stand over five furlongs as a more suitable target.

“We’re really excited about bringing Golden Pal back to Royal Ascot. It was a great day at Keeneland and we’re really looking forward to 2021,” said the Washington-born trainer.

“We’re working from the King’s Stand backwards. I think we’ll go for the Commonwealth Cup with Campanelle and let the colt run against the older horses in the five-furlong race.”

Campanelle won the Queen Mary Stakes at Royal Ascot four months ago before claiming Group One glory in France in the Prix Morny.

Campanelle won the Queen Mary under Frankie Dettori
Campanelle won the Queen Mary under Frankie Dettori (Julian Finney/PA)

The daughter of Kodiac was well fancied to double her top-level tally in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, but had to make do with minor honours in fourth behind the hugely-impressive Aunt Pearl and the Irish pair of Mother Earth and Miss Amulet.

Ward added: “I think it was maybe the end of the long season for her. We got her back home early after Deauville and prepared for the race, but there was a lot of training involved.

“I don’t want to take anything away from the winner, because she ran great.

“We’re already looking forward to Royal Ascot next year with Campanelle, too.”

French Guineas target for Miss Amulet

Miss Amulet will be aimed at next year’s French 1000 Guineas after her meritorious run at the Breeders’ Cup.

Ken Condon’s charge was having her eighth start of a busy campaign, in which she has won the Lowther Stakes at York and finished second in the Cheveley Park Stakes at Newmarket.

Bought for just £7,500, the daughter of Sir Prancealot changed hands halfway through the season and now runs in the colours of Michael Tabor’s wife, Doreen.

She was just denied second in the Juvenile Fillies Turf at Keeneland behind the brilliant Aunt Pearl when caught on the line by Aidan O’Brien’s Mother Earth, owned by the Coolmore partners.

“The mile was always a question mark – but to my eyes she got it well, and we were delighted with her,” said Condon.

“She’s had a busy season, but she’s retained her form well, and there is plenty to look forward to next year.

“I think her main aim early on will be the French Guineas – we think that might suit her better. I know all the Guineas are run over a mile, but some tracks are stiffer than others.

“The winner the other night (Aunt Pearl) is obviously very good – she set sensible fractions, and we knew then it would be difficult to come from behind, but we were delighted with how our filly finished off and put a bit of daylight between the fourth, who won the Prix Morny (Campanelle).

“She’s been on the go since the first week racing resumed. She’s been to England twice – that was her eighth run, so credit to her, she has exceeded all expectations.

“She’s very reliable. When you get to this time of year you never know with fillies, but she handled the travel and produced a great run.

“We know if she doesn’t stay a mile we have the option of coming back in trip, but I had a quick exchange with Michael Tabor after the race and I think the French Guineas is where we are going.”

Audarya to stay in training next year

James Fanshawe has confirmed his Breeders’ Cup heroine Audarya will stay in training as a five-year-old.

The daughter of Wootton Bassett came of age in the second half of 2020, taking a seismic leap from winning at handicap at Newcastle before immediately following up in the Prix Jean Romanet at Deauville.

She showed that was no fluke when going close in the Prix de l’Opera, and then benefited from an inspired Pierre-Charles Boudot ride in the Filly & Mare Turf on Saturday.

“It was the day of a lifetime,” said Fanshawe.

“We probably had a few fillies in the past that should have been there but for one reason or another didn’t go. She had been very progressive, and after the Prix Jean Romanet it became a target if everything kept going the right way – and it did, fortunately.

“When we got the 11 draw I was thinking it wasn’t great, because I thought we’d be keen with no cover. Geoffrey de La Sayette rides her every day, and he is also French, so I let him sort the instructions out with Pierre-Charles – and somehow they got it spot on.

“You can see my emotions, because there is a clip on the Internet from a lurking camera man who I forgot was filming! Going into the last corner, she was off the bridle and maybe coming to the end of her run, but she really stuck her head down and ground it out.”

Audarya was a first Breeders’ Cup runner for Fanshawe, who left with only good memories of the meeting.

Pierre-Charles Boudot returns on Audarya with Jacko and James Fanshawe (right) welcoming her back
Pierre-Charles Boudot returns on Audarya with Jacko and James Fanshawe (right) welcoming her back (Michael Conroy/AP)

“We won, which obviously makes an awful lot of difference to your experience, but we were beautifully looked after,” he told Sky Sports Racing.

“There were also 2000 people each day – which given we’ve been racing in lockdown (in Britain), made a huge difference. All the Brits and Irish were together cheering each other on – the whole thing was fantastic.

“It was sad that Alison (Swinburn), her owner, and Anthony Stroud, her manager, couldn’t get over because of covid. But I’ve had a chat to them after the race, and the plan is to keep her in training as a five-year-old.

“She’s been very progressive. They broke the track record at Keeneland on Saturday – so providing everything is ok, she’s a very exciting filly to have in the yard.

“She’s got the scope to keep progressing and has kept going the right way. You never know with horses, but there’s no reason she can’t keep going the right way next year.

“Next year’s Breeders’ Cup is a long way off – but I don’t think she’ll be starting too early. She’ll have a nice long break now, and we’ll see how things are in the spring.”

Colin Keane looks back with pride on season to remember

Colin Keane has finally had time to reflect on a stellar season which was capped with a first Breeders’ Cup success on Tarnawa.

Keane admits getting the ride on Dermot Weld’s filly was simply a case of being in the right place at the right time – but with all bar one rival behind him turning into the straight, he advertised his talents on a world stage.

The landmark victory came on the back of him being crowned Ireland’s champion jockey for a second time – after a thrilling battle with Shane Foley – in a year in which he also rode his first two Classic winners on Siskin and Even So for his boss, Ger Lyons.

“It couldn’t have gone much better and winning at the Breeders’ Cup was just brilliant,” said Keane of 2020.

“The year started off with us winning a Classic with Siskin and then it went from strength to strength. We were lucky enough to win another with Even So, I won the Matron on Champers Elysees, winning the battle to be champion and topping it off with a Breeders’ Cup winner.

“Thankfully it all fell right for us. It was a hard year, especially giving up two weeks with quarantine (to ride Siskin in the Sussex Stakes), so we really had to knuckle down, but it was worth it.”

Siskin provided Colin Keane and Ger Lyons with a first Classic winner in the Irish 2000 Guineas
Siskin provided Colin Keane and Ger Lyons with a first Classic winner in the Irish 2000 Guineas (PA Wire)

Keane cannot speak highly enough of Lyons, for whom Siskin and Even So were his first Classic successes, too.

“I’ve been riding for the right people, I ride for a great boss so I’m very lucky,” said Keane.

“I wouldn’t be in the position I am today without Ger to be honest, he got me going and has brought us to where we are.”

While Keane’s agent Ruaidhri Tierney cast his net far and wide in the search for winners in the closing weeks of the season, one trainer who did not employ the champion was Weld – yet when Christophe Soumillon was ruled out at the 11th hour having tested positive for Covid-19, it was Keane who was called upon.

Colin Keane punches the air after coming round the whole field to win on Tarnawa
Colin Keane punches the air after coming round the whole field to win on Tarnawa (Darron Cummings/AP)

“It was just a case of being in the right place at the right time last weekend,” said Keane.

“It’s not the way you want it to happen, but I’ll take it. Mr Weld isn’t someone I’ve ridden for much to be honest, so to get a ride in a big race and win on her for him is great.

“We’d talked about it (tactics) and while we didn’t make a plan as such, Mr Weld said he wanted me to either be on the inside or the outside, but not the middle – as she’s a filly who likes a bit of space and she has a very good turn of foot.

“Turning in I wasn’t looking to go between them, I just wanted to give her as clear a run as possible and she picked up very well.

“You’d like to think she’s up there with the best about, it is very hard to beat Magical, she’s one of the very best, rock solid and never runs a bad race. Going there you’d be thinking if you’re second to Magical you’ve run a good race. It takes a very good one to beat her.”

With two titles already in the bag, Keane is hopeful of keeping his momentum going into next season and he even picked up rides for Aidan O’Brien’s powerful Ballydoyle stable in the closing weeks.

“Every year we set a target to beat the previous year’s tally – I didn’t think that would be possible this year because of Covid and my quarantine, but my agent did a great job in getting me on the right horses and we got into a great rhythm,” explained Keane.

“It was September it all seemed to click, I had over 20 winners and it really got me going. I was lucky enough to team up with Aidan towards the end on a few spares with Seamie (Heffernan) suspended and Wayne (Lordan) injured and thankfully some of them won.

“I’ve a lot to thank my agent for, he’s done a very good job.”

Authentic retired to stud following Breeders’ Cup Classic glory

Kentucky Derby and Breeders’ Cup Classic winner Authentic has been retired to stand at Spendthrift Farm.

Owned in a partnership by the farm which included the MyRacehorse syndicate, the Into Mischief colt also won the Grade One Haskell Invitational and finished a narrow second in the Preakness Stakes.

Authentic made all in Saturday’s Classic at Keeneland, beating his Bob Baffert-trained stablemate Improbable by two and a quarter lengths in the hands of John Velazquez.

He will stand for a fee of $75,000.

“Authentic is a once-in-a-lifetime kind of horse, and Mr. (B. Wayne) Hughes (Spendthrift owner) is very proud that we are able to share him with 5,300-plus MyRacehorse owners through what has been an incredible run,” said Ned Toffey, general manager of Spendthrift, in a statement.

“That alone made this decision different and very difficult. Ultimately, we just felt there wasn’t a lot more to accomplish for a Kentucky Derby and Breeders’ Cup Classic winner, so we have made the decision to retire Authentic to stand alongside his champion sire Into Mischief.

“We believe in the sire line and feel Authentic is a big part of its future. It is very rare that you come across a three-year-old as well-bred, talented and accomplished as Authentic.

“We cannot wait to see his contributions to the breed, and we’re thrilled to continue his journey with all of the 5,300 MyRacehorse owners from the racetrack to the breeding shed.”

Weld uncertain of future plans for Turf victor Tarnawa

Dermot Weld is unsure what the future holds for Tarnawa after the filly provided him with his first Breeders’ Cup victory at Keeneland on Saturday.

The master of Rosewell House has enjoyed huge success on the international stage, with a pair of Melbourne Cup victories and multiple top-level wins in America featuring on his illustrious CV – but a Breeders’ Cup winner had so far eluded him.

However, Tarnawa put that particular anomaly right in spectacular style in Kentucky – and speaking from his County Kildare yard on Sunday morning, Weld spoke of his immense pride and delight.

“The Breeders’ Cup Turf is always one of the best races in the world and it was lovely to win it,” the trainer said on Racing TV’s Luck on Sunday programme.

“It feels exceptionally good – the Breeders’ Cup was the one major event I wanted to win a big race at.

“Nowadays I train 80 horses, so it’s a much smaller team than most of the opposition, so you’ve got to pick your spots very carefully and very well.”

Tarnawa’s chances of success had seemingly suffered a significant blow in earlier in the week after jockey Christophe Soumillon, who had steered her to successive Group One wins in France this autumn, was forced to miss the ride after testing positive for Covid-19.

However, recently-crowned Irish champion jockey Colin Keane proved a more than able deputy.

Dermot Weld was thrilled with Tarnawa
Dermot Weld was thrilled with Tarnawa (Brian Lawless/PA)

Explaining the sequence of events, Weld added: “Keeneland is a very tight turf track and it’s nice to know your horse as you need everything in your favour when you’re going into a race like the Breeders’ Cup Turf.

“She always breaks slowly, so we decided on Thursday that we’d school her out of the stalls on the track and arranged with Christophe Soumillon to do that, which he duly did.

“She jumped out nicely for him, Christophe was delighted with her, but an hour later I heard he was positive for Covid-19, so we needed a replacement jockey.

“I was extremely satisfied with my filly and the decision was whether to go for an American rider or wait and get a European rider.

“Javier Castellano has ridden winners for me and was available, Frankie Dettori was riding in the race (on Lord North) and I just thought ‘why not go with Colin Keane’. He was out there, he was riding in the Mile beforehand and he’s an outstanding young rider.

“Colin has only ridden for me once before, at Cork – usually he’s riding against me.”

Weld admitted the success was tinged with sadness as he thought of his former stable jockey Pat Smullen, who died earlier this year following a long battle with cancer.

“The only aspect of the great victory of last night that was sad was thinking how much Pat would have enjoyed riding Tarnawa,” said Weld.

“They were basically made for each other because she’s a tough filly and a classic stayer with speed – she’s the sort of horse that Pat rode exceptionally well.”

On whether Tarnawa will return to race on as a five-year-old in 2021, the trainer added: “No decision has been made on whether she will be retired or whether she’ll be racing again next year.

“We’ll see how she comes out of the race. His Highness (Aga Khan, owner) has a history of retiring fillies at the end of their three or four-year-old career, so whether an exception will be made for her or not, I don’t know.

“She’s an amazing filly in that she won on very fast ground in America last night and she’s won on very heavy, testing ground a few weeks ago in Paris.”

Authentic on top in Classic showdown

Kentucky Derby hero Authentic gave Bob Baffert a fourth Breeders’ Cup Classic success at Keeneland.

The three-year-old made virtually all the running and dug deep when needed to hold his year-older stablemate Improbable in the closing stages.

John Velazquez – celebrating his first win in the Classic – soon had Authentic in pole position, but he was shadowed by another stablemate, Maximum Security, with his old adversary Tiz The Law not far behind.

There was all to play for at the top of the straight, where Authentic pulled out more when challenged by Improbable and would not be denied. Global Campaign was third.

Baffert – recording his 17th career Breeders’ Cup victory – said: “It was really disappointing about the Preakness (second to Swiss Skydiver), he’s a quirky individual but Johnny knows him so well and the horse is getting better and better. He’d been working unbelievable and Johnny knows him well and got him in a rhythm.

“After two races, the Santa Anita Derby and the Preakness, he came back blowing, and I didn’t have him as sharp as he should have been and we needed to tighten the screws. I was proud of my horses in the race and it was a good run from Improbable, but I think you saw the best Authentic today.

“I told Johnny ‘that is the horse you rode in the Derby’ – he’s spring-loaded and you can ride him with confidence and be aggressive. He’s getting better and better. He’s caught up with the older horses.

“I knew I had him right back to his best, as he’d matured and was making right, but for some reason when I looked at the Tote board he was showing 5-1.

“He’s just an unbelievable horse and I’m so happy for the connections, especially Wayne Hughes. Those are his colours. We were hoping those colours would be in the Kentucky Derby, but it’s great the way it’s ended. We would have loved a one-two-three.

John Velazquez with Authentic following Breeders' Cup Classic glory
John Velazquez with Authentic following Breeders’ Cup Classic glory (Michael Conroy/AP)

“I was proud of my horses and what a way to end after what I’ve gone through this year. I love this sport and it’s just a great day.”

Asked about the future for Authentic, Baffert said: “I would love to have the horse back in the barn, but unfortunately I don’t get a vote on that one. Whatever happens he has been a saviour.”

Velazquez said: “We talked about tactics and agreed to take advantage and get him to the rail in front. After that he did everything I wanted him to do.

“I didn’t think there was too much speed in the race and once I got him running past the wire for the first time it was looking good for us. The horse came back (from the Preakness) and sealed the deal – he was the best horse in America today.

“I’ve been chasing this race for quite a while and to have the opportunity to do it and to win it is incredible. What a feeling.”

Tarnawa and Keane swoop for Turf glory

Dermot Weld and Colin Keane teamed up to great effect as Tarnawa stormed to victory in the Breeders’ Cup Turf at Keeneland.

Crowned champion jockey once again in Ireland, Keane was replacing the luckless Christophe Soumillon, who also missed a winning ride on Order Of Australia in the Breeders’ Cup Mile. It was his first ride for veteran trainer Weld, who was also enjoying his first Breeders’ Cup success.

Tarnawa could have gone for the Filly & Mare Turf, but connections chose this stiffer task for the in-form three-year-old, who had won the Prix Vermeille and Prix de l’Opera on her last two starts for her owner the Aga Khan.

Keane had her at the back of the field as Channel Maker and United set the pace, with Aidan O’Brien’s Magical in a handy position not far off the lead.

Channel Maker set sail for home at the top of the straight, but the pack closed in a furlong out with Keane producing Tarnawa with a perfectly-timed run that saw her keep Magical at bay by a length. Channel Maker was another length away in third.

Weld’s son, Mark, said: “It doesn’t get any bigger than this. These overseas prestige races in the autumn are what we train them for and I’m sad my dad is not here, but the Covid situation put paid to that.

“It was Colin’s first ride for us and there were no instructions. We left it completely up to him and as soon as I saw Colin pull her out, it was a like a jet seeing a runway and off she went.

“My father has been a long-standing supporter of American racing ever since Go And Go won the Belmont back in 1990. He worked in the United States as a boy and it’s very special to him.”

Keane said: “Mr Weld gave me a call and told me what was happening, and then he rang again today and said it would have been lovely if I’d sat on her before, because she takes a bit of knowing.

“They had worked with her at the stalls while she had been here and when I spoke to Oisin Orr he said the filly had done one of her pieces of work before she left Ireland.

“It’s been a brilliant year, it’s lovely to get this victory going home and it’s definitely the icing on the cake for the year we’ve had.”

Order Of Australia leads home remarkable Mile clean sweep for O’Brien

Order Of Australia led home a one-two-three for trainer Aidan O’Brien with a shock victory in the Breeders’ Cup Mile at Keeneland.

The three-year-old colt only got into the race after One Master was scratched on Thursday and was sent off an unconsidered 73-1 outsider.

His jockey Pierre-Charles Boudot himself only got the ride after Christophe Soumillon tested positive for Covid-19 and completed an unlikely double after he also replaced Ioritz Mendizabal on Audarya in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf.

Order Of Australia had only won two of his seven previous races and had fallen short in two previous attempts at the top level – but he came good when it mattered, to give O’Brien his first win in the race.

Halladay made the running until the straight, where there was all to play for until Order Of Australia swept on the outside to take the honours under another confident ride by Boudot.

The son of Australia kept on to hold his stablemates Circus Maximus and Lope Y Fernandez, giving Ballydoyle a remarkable clean sweep.

Kameko, the 2000 Guineas winner, had every chance under Oisin Murphy but finished out of the places, as did Irish Guineas victor Siskin.

O’Brien said: “We always thought that as the season went on a mile on fast ground on a flat track would be ideal for Order Of Australia.

“He’s a horse that quicken very well and he had been working well.”

Boudot – who would have ridden the William Haggas-trained One Master – said: “I spoke to Aidan, who was very confident about this horse. He said I should be positive and as he is fast and a proper horse I should ride him from on the pace.

“He travelled very nicely throughout and produced a good turn of foot when I asked him.”

He added: “Christophe gave off a positive test for Covid and my horse got into the race as One Master was a non runner.

“It’s a dream come true for me and I’m thankful to my agent, who must be one of the best in the world.”

Kameko’s rider Oisin Murphy said: “I got him into the perfect position that I wanted going down the back. I thought the track would suit him and that he would travel, but he didn’t pick up.

“While this is disappointing, it doesn’t indicate how good he is. It’s just that he has trained hard all year, he’ll make a wonderful stallion.”

Colin Keane said of Siskin: “He behaved himself down at the stalls, but gave me the impression in the race that the year had caught up with him.”

Audarya strikes for Fanshawe in Filly & Mare Turf

Newmarket trainer James Fanshawe struck with his first runner in the Breeders’ Cup when Audarya came with a late run to claim the Filly & Mare Turf at Keeneland.

The four-year-old had stepped up to the mark at the top level with victory in the Prix Jean Romanet and third place in the Prix de l’Opera on her opening two attempts, and did so again with a determined effort.

She was ridden for the first time by Pierre-Charles Boudot, who Fanshawe called in as a late substitute for Ioritz Mendizabal after he tested positive for Covid-19.

There was drama at the start when Starship Jubilee unseated her rider Florent Geroux after stumbling coming out of the stalls.

Shane Foley rushed up the Jessica Harrington-trained Cayenne Pepper from her wide draw to lead by the first turn, with the main American hopefuls Mean Mary and Rushing Fall close by.

They looked like fighting out the finish once Cayenne Pepper had weakened by the home turn – but Boudot and Audarya had other ideas.

She hit the front in the final furlong and battled on gamely to score by a neck from Rushing Fall, with Harvey’s Lil Goil half a length away in third place.

Fanshawe was attending the Breeders’ Cup for only the second time – the first being in 1986 when assistant to Sir Michael Stoute as he ran Sonic Lady and Milligram.

He said of the Alison Swinburn-owned filly: “We took it step by step with her and found that she really improved for a step up to a mile and a quarter.

“She won a tiny race at Newcastle and then managed to win the Group One Romanet in France after which we mapped out a proper campaign, which started with a very good run in the Prix de l’Opera, in which she was done by the lack of pace.

“It then left us with six weeks before the Breeders’ Cup and Alison was very keen to go.

“We did have a slight concern before Deauville about whether she would handle soft ground, because she is a very good mover, but it seems she can go on anything.

“I said to Pierre-Charles she might be a bit keen and to try to get a bit of cover, but how he got from stall 11 to the rail was just incredible. She kept finding under a wonderful ride from the jockey.

“The plan now will be for her to remain in training and if she remains in one piece hopefully she will come back to the States to run in this race at Del Mar.”

He added: “Alison was unable to come this time, but she will be having quite a celebration.

“It was bad luck on Ioritz, but he shares the same agent as Pierre and she just kept finding when he asked her in the final two furlongs.”

Glass Slippers records famous success in Turf Sprint

Glass Slippers gave Europe a first ever victory in the Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint when striking for North Yorkshire trainer Kevin Ryan at Keeneland.

Winner of the Prix de l’Abbaye in 2019 and just touched off from a poor draw in last month’s renewal, the four-year-old filly showed just how much she thrives in the latter part of the campaign with a dramatic success.

Glass Slippers – who landed the Flying Five at the Curragh on Irish Champions Weekend – was not the best out of the gates and Tom Eaves was happy to place her towards the rear of the field, but near the rail.

Up front, Bombard and Into Mystic shared the early pace with Wildman Jack, Texas Wedge and Leinster joining in as the runners approached the top of the stretch.

At that point, Eaves started to make his move on Glass Slippers, who was helped when a gap appeared as the early trail-blazers started to go back.

Glass Slippers responded in game fashion and galloped on strongly all the way to the line, scoring by half a length from Wet Your Whistle with Leinster third.

Ryan – having just his second Breeders’ Cup runner – said: “It’s been a funny year for us in the UK, and with this filly you have to plan her races out as she is a filly who improves as the year goes on.

“We knew she goes round a bend very well, as she had won at Chester, and Tom had a word with Ryan Moore who told him to take his time and opt for the shortest route. Being over five and a half furlongs that extra half a furlong was massive.

“She has always been a good traveller and thrives wherever she goes, although she had not been this far, but through the week as she was drinking and eating well we got happier with every passing day.

“It’s great that she will be back for another season next year and if things go to plan I would love to come back to run in this race at Del Mar.”

Ryan’s only other Breeders’ Cup runner, East, was second to Newspaperofrecord in the Juvenile Fillies Turf in 2018.

“This is what we do the job for and I’m very lucky to have had some very good horse,” he went on.

“I wasn’t able to attend my first Breeders’ Cup, but it’s great to come out here and this filly is very special.”

Delighted owner Terry Holdcroft said: “I’ve been breeding horses for over 40 years and she is the best I’ve ever bred.

“It’s lovely that we kept her and didn’t sell her. Kevin has put an incredible amount of time and detail into training the filly.

“We had a programme at the start of the year and we didn’t budge from it. We won a qualifying Group One in Ireland and only just missed out on the Abbaye and one of the reasons to keep her in training is that things might change – we haven’t been able to go racing at home and it was such a great opportunity to be able to come here and watch her run.”

Eaves said: “Kevin knows this horse like the back of his hand and he told me he couldn’t have been happier with her. I didn’t chase the pace and waited and rode my luck. There was a lovely gap for us rounding the turn.

“This is a day I will never forget.”

Monomoy Girl justified her short price when winning the Breeders’ Cup Distaff for a second time.

The five-year-old took the prize in 2018 but was restricted to only three starts in the interim, winning them all.

Brad Cox’s mare showed she was as good as ever when overcoming a wide berth to regain her crown and give her trainer a fourth Breeders’ Cup win of the weekend.

Her main rival Swiss Skydiver ruined her chance when she stumbled leaving the stalls, though the Preakness winner did her best to get into the race on the turn for home.

However, she could not maintain her challenge and weakened in the straight as Monomoy Girl and Florent Geroux lifted the prize from Valiance and Dunbar Road.

It was also redemption for Geroux as he had been unshipped from Starship Jubilee on leaving the stalls in the Filly Mare & Turf.

Cox said: “She is a champion. I’m very proud of her and I thought she was better than she had ever been coming into this and she proved that was her trip.

“It was a very fast time on a fast racetrack. She’s just a tremendous filly. I thought we were in a good spot at the eighth pole and Florent did a fantastic job.

“I’m very fortunate to be part of her – I think we’ve seen greatness.”

Monomoy Girl is due to go to the sales, but asked if that decision might be reversed, co-owned Sol Kumin said: “We will go out and enjoy tonight, get on the phone and put up a game plan and figure it all out, but ultimately it will be concentrating on what is best for her.”

Fellow co-owner Stewart Grant said: “Considering that she had some training issues, most people would have packed it in and sold her, but we love to race and with a very special team headed by Brad we were able to put her together again.

“Her career speaks for itself, with all the Grade One wins, two Breeders’ Cups and an Eclipse award.”

As for Swiss Skydiver, trainer Kenny McPeek said: “She stumbled at the start and Robby (Albarado) said after she left a little awkward that he kind of got stuck down inside and she was struggling down in there.

“But Monomoy Girl is a great filly, she’s deserves all the fame status.

“We’ll regroup and get a programme together for next year and come back at them again.”

He added: “There’s a very good chance (be back as a four-year-old). I’m a little worried about her finish, that’s uncharacteristic of her but we’ll go over her thoroughly and see what we’ve got.

“I think physically she’s probably fine but it wasn’t her day.”

Essential Quality proves all class for Godolphin in Breeders’ Cup Juvenile

Essential Quality maintained his unbeaten record to spark Kentucky Derby dreams for Godolphin with victory in the TVG Breeders’ Cup Juvenile at Keeneland.

Much of the pre-race discussion focussed on the Steve Asmussen-trained Jackie’s Warrior, who had won each of his previous four starts and was all the rage to cement his place as winter favourite for next year’s ‘Run for the Roses’.

Joel Rosario was forced to take a lead behind the red-hot pace on Jackie’s Warrior – who has looked so brilliant from the front – but once he did hit strike for home it was for just a matter of strides before huge outsider Hot Rod Charlie took over and threatened to cause a major shock.

Luis Saez looks to the skies after claiming Breeders' Cup Juvenile glory with Essential Quality
Luis Saez looks to the skies after claiming Breeders’ Cup Juvenile glory with Essential Quality (Mark Humphrey/AP)

However, Essential Quality came from further back under Luis Saez and ultimately won with authority – completing a big double for trainer Brad Cox following the success of Aunt Pearl in the preceding Juvenile Fillies Turf.

Hot Rod Charlie was second ahead of Keepmeinmind in third, with Jackie’s Warrior only fourth.

Cox – recording his fifth Breeders’ Cup winner – said: “It was a tremendous effort from Luis, who stayed at him the whole way.

“He has an amazing amount of stamina and is a spectacular horse for the Godolphin operation.

“I was hoping he wouldn’t flatten out, but that never looked like happening and moving forward we will point him at the Kentucky Derby.”

It was a first Breeders’ Cup victory for Saez, who said: “Today he was very focussed and really responded when I got at him. He ran right by them.”

Asmussen felt the strong early pace contributed to Jackie’s Warrior’s downfall.

He said: “It (the pace) was too much too soon.

“He’d accomplished a lot coming here and obviously we planned on winning and ended up coming fourth.

“Pace makes the race and it did not set up well for us today.”

Aunt Pearl produces power-packed performance in Juvenile Fillies Turf

Aunt Pearl was a brilliant all-the-way winner of the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf at Keeneland.

Brad Cox’s filly was the clear favourite to extend her unbeaten record to three following a Grade Two victory at the track a month ago and took a step up to the highest level in her stride with an awesome front-running display.

Florent Geroux’s mount made a smart start and quickly opened a clear gap over the rest of the field, with Wesley Ward’s Queen Mary and Prix Morny heroine Campanelle leading the chasing pack for much of the way under Frankie Dettori.

In truth, however, the remainder never looked like landing a blow on Aunt Pearl from the home turn, as she kept pouring it on and passed the post with plenty in hand.

The Irish pair of Aidan O’Brien’s Mother Earth and Ken Condon’s Miss Amulet made late gains to finish second and third respectively, with Campanelle weakening into fourth.

Cox said: “She did a similar opening quarter to what she did in the Jessamine Stakes here – I felt pretty confident she would have some kick left and she certainly did.

“I don’t think there’s any doubt (she can improve) and if you dig into her pedigree a little bit it looks like she could maybe even go beyond a mile.

“She’s a super talented filly and I’m very proud of her.”

Geroux raised the possibility of a trip to Britain for Aunt Pearl in 2021, saying: “She’s phenomenal – she’s purely gifted.

“Her workouts in the morning have been exceptional. She goes so fast, but she comes back to me (settles).

“I hope we can go to England with her next year – that would be great.”

Syndicate spokesman Michael Dubb said: “We have bought a lot of horses overseas through Liz Crow and this was one of the fillies. We knew from the beginning that she was the best.

“Brad is a genius. He plots everything and has enormous attention to detail. In fact he just lives and breathes horses. I do think she is in a league of her own and wherever we go, it will be another great ride.

“She has so much natural speed that we decided to let her roll as there was no reason to take it away from her.

“We will talk to the partners and of course to Brad, we will leave it up to him to plot a campaign.”

Asked if a trip to the UK could be on the agenda, Dubb said: “I leave everything up to my trainer and I don’t want to start telling him where he should run.”

Of Campanelle, who was trying a mile for the first time, Dettori said: “I had to chase her out of the gate before restraining her and that meant giving the winner four lengths.

“I think she would get seven furlongs, and at least we tried.”

Fire At Will silences big guns in Juvenile Turf

Aidan O’Brien’s Battleground had to make do with the runner-up spot as Fire At Will claimed a surprise victory in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf at Keeneland.

A son of War Front out of the yard’s Arc heroine Found, Battleground was strongly fancied to provide O’Brien with a fifth victory in this Grade One contest following the previous triumphs of Wrote (2011), George Vancouver (2012), Hit It A Bomb (2015) and Mendelssohn (2017).

Winner of the Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot and the Vintage Stakes at Goodwood this summer, Battleground raced in midfield for much of the way and was still back in the field rounding the home turn, as Wesley Ward’s front-runner Outadore set sail for home.

Michael Maker’s Fire At Will reeled in the leader inside the final furlong before pulling nicely clear in the hands of Ricardo Santana Jr.

Battleground finished strongly for Ryan Moore to beat Outadore to second, with Jessica Harrington’s Cadillac not far behind that pair in fourth.

Ralph Beckett’s pair of New Mandate and Devilwala, as well as Michael Bell’s The Lir Jet, finished unplaced.

Maker said of the 33-1 winner: “I thought he was way overpriced – he’s done nothing wrong and is a very professional and classy horse.”

Moore said of Battleground: “He ran a lovely race, I like him a lot. He’s a horse with a big future.

“He ran on really well at the finish, but the winner had gone.”

Shane Foley was happy with Cadillac, and may have been closer with a shade more luck.

He said: “He got shuffled back on the first turn, but then ran on in the straight. He stays the trip very well.”

Frankie Dettori, meanwhile, felt the season had caught up with New Mandate.

He said: “I think he’s over the top, he ran with the choke out. It was one (run) too many.”

Golden Pal scorches to Juvenile Turf Sprint success

Royal Ascot runner-up Golden Pal dominated from the front in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint at Keeneland.

Mowed down late by Michael Bell’s The Lir Jet in the Norfolk Stakes in June, the Uncle Mo colt had since blitzed his rivals in a stakes race at Saratoga after connections abandoned plans to return to Britain for a tilt at the Nunthorpe at York.

With Irad Ortiz Jr in the saddle, Golden Pal was the red-hot favourite to provide trainer Wesley Ward with back-to-back in the Grade Two contest following the victory of Four Wheel Drive 12 months ago – and the result was scarcely in doubt.

Ward’s charge made a rapid start from his wide berth, enabling him to cross the field and take an early lead.

Ortiz Jr briefly took his mount back, before giving him his head before the home turn and he quickly put clear daylight between himself and his rivals.

His advantage was being eroded late on, but Golden Pal was ultimately well on top at the line, with Cowan a fast-finishing second.

Nigel Tinkler’s Flying Childers winner Ubettabelieveit fared best of the European raiding party in third after blowing the start.

Ward said: “He’s just amazing. I got a little worried on the backside when Irad took a hold of him as he lost a little momentum, but then he just accelerated down the lane and he’s a champion colt.

“When he showed a bit of acceleration passing the quarter-pole I knew we were OK, although I got a little worried in the last part. I was hugging my son, but we got there!

“Royal Ascot here we come – we’re going to get it this year!”

Winning owner-breeder Randy Lowe was a proud man – and outlined big plans for next year.

He said: “I bred him out of my mare Lady Shipman and right from the moment he was born and put his chin in the palm of my hand I knew he was going to be special.

“Winning a race at the Breeders’ Cup has been my ambition for 35 years so this is one of the greatest days of my life.

“I named him Golden Pal after my mentor John C Mabee, whose best horse was Best Pal.

“Regarding Wesley, he has chased me for a few years to send him one and because he liked this horse so much, I thought let’s let him have a try.”

He added: “In the race Irad tried to pull him back because we’d spent a lot of time teaching to rate, but then he let out a notch (of rein) and he was in control.

“Owing to the Covid restrictions we were unable to go to Royal Ascot to see him run, so we threw a breakfast party in the Red Rock Casino in Las Vegas. I remember as we watched the race develop I couldn’t believe it when he got caught.

“I think the plan will be to rest him and then bring him back here at Keeneland in early April, but the big plans are the King’s Stand Stakes, the Nunthorpe and the Breeders’ Cup again next year.”

Coral make Golden Pal the 9-2 favourite for the King’s Stand, ahead of Battaash at 5-1.

Ubettabelieveit ran an excellent race in defeat
Ubettabelieveit ran an excellent race in defeat (Francesca Altoft/PA)

Tinkler was delighted with the performance of Ubettabelieveit, saying: “We put ear plugs on him so he wouldn’t hear the bell so loud and obviously he fell out of the stalls, but it probably helped him in some ways because he got a good run through.

“We’re obviously delighted with him and I thought the jockey (Rowan Scott) gave him a great ride.

“He probably didn’t quite get the trip – he’s a five-furlong horse, it was five-and-a-half today and in the last 50 yards he just got a little bit tired, but we’re very pleased.

“We know he’s a very good horse and we’re fortunate to have him. We’ll look forward to next season and he’ll have a good break now.”

Hollie Doyle was out of the places on the Archie Watson-trained Mighty Gurkha, on what was her first Breeders’ Cup ride.

She said: “He jumped well, but we hit a flat spot and lost our position and then he couldn’t quicken in the straight. It’s been a great experience and I’ve loved every minute here.”

Vequist claimed top honours in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies for trainer ‘Butch’ Reid and jockey Joel Rosario.

The previously unbeaten Dayoutoftheoffice made much of the running and had most of her rivals in trouble at the top of the home straight.

However, she was unable to resist the late surge of Vequist – who had been unlucky when second to Dayoutoftheoffice last time out – against the far rail.

Joel Rosario celebrates aboard Vequist
Joel Rosario celebrates aboard Vequist (Michael Conroy/AP)

Reid said: “It was her first time going round two turns, but she is a super filly with very good speed.

“She can click off 12-second eighths (of a mile) almost endlessly and we knew she was doing very well coming into this.

“She was actually sold and the new owners Gary Barber and Tom McGrath chose to stay with me, which is something that doesn’t happen very often.

“It’s sensational.”

Barber said: “Oh my God, this is just awesome! There’s nothing like this in any sport and I’m a huge sports fan. Joel, well what can you say – what a ride. I hope we have a champion filly for next year.

“We were adamant we would keep her with Butch.”