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The Tin Man on the mend after surgery

Popular sprinter The Tin Man is on the mend after undergoing surgery on a career-ending leg injury sustained on the gallops.

The nine-year-old flag-bearer for the James Fanshawe stable fractured a cannonbone in a routine workout, and is recovering in Newmarket Equine Hospital.

The Tin Man was being prepared for a seventh season in action, albeit at a lower level than for most of a career which saw him win three Group Ones – the British Champions Sprint in 2016, the Diamond Jubilee (2017) and Haydock’s Sprint Cup (2018).

“He’s had an operation, and they’ve put three screws in his cannonbone – he took the operation well and he’s nice and comfortable,” said Fanshawe.

“He’ll obviously be retired from racing. Long-term he’ll be fine – he’ll be able to find a new career. I don’t know what that will be, but I’m sure we’ll find something useful for him to do.

“He’s been an amazing horse for the yard, and I know we weren’t intending to race at the same level this year, but he seemed to still be enjoying his training – and thank goodness he’s been repairable.

“He won £1.2million and won nine races – three of which were Group Ones. He was one of the horses bought for the Fred Archer syndicate, and he’s a wonderful advert for that.”

Fanshawe’s Breeders’ Cup Filly & Turf winner, Audarya, is set to make her seasonal debut this month – in either the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot or the Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh.

“She’s entered in the Prince Of Wales and she’s also in the Pretty Polly as well. We’ll see how she is in the next few days,” said the Newmarket handler.

“She seems in really good form and is really well.”

Fanshawe opts to hang fire with Breeders’ Cup heroine Audarya

Breeders’ Cup heroine Audarya is likely to make a high-profile return next month, despite having to miss her intended comeback at either Saint-Cloud or Sandown this week.

Trainer James Fanshawe was intending to take his mare to France on Wednesday for the Group Two Prix Corrida, and she also had Thursday’s Brigadier Gerard Stakes as a possible alternative.

Fanshawe decided against either option, though, after noticing Audarya was not quite on top form at home last weekend.

He said: “She’s fine. She was just a bit quiet at the weekend, and it’s a long trip to France, so that’s why we decided not to go.”

Audarya was both a Group One and Grade One winner as she improved dramatically through a brilliant international campaign last year, which she completed with a famous success in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf at Keeneland in November.

Both the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot and the Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh, the latter against her fellow fillies and mares, remain under consideration for her next month.

“The Prince of Wales’s would be a tough question to ask her first time out,” added Fanshawe.

“But I’m sure she’ll tell us. There’s the Pretty Polly 10 days later, so there are various options – we’ll see how she is.”

Wherever the five-year-old returns, her Newmarket trainer anticipates it will not be long delayed.

“We decided to give her a bit more time,” he added.

“It’s just looking at her – she was just not her usual bouncy self. So that’s why we haven’t gone this week.

“I was hoping to run her this week, and she’s not far from a race.”

Audarya poised to take up Saint-Cloud engagement next week

James Fanshawe’s Breeders’ Cup winner Audarya could start her season in the Group Two Prix Corrida at Saint-Cloud next week.

The mare was Fanshawe’s first ever runner at the hugely valuable American meeting, and provided the trainer with a thrilling Group One success when landing the Maker’s Mark Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf by a neck at 12-1.

The November performance was the last time Audarya was seen on the track, but Saint-Cloud may become the scene of her seasonal comeback as she holds an entry for the Prix Corrida on May 26.

“Audarya’s in good form,” Fanshawe said.

“She’s in good form and I’m hoping to start her off next week, she’s got a couple of options.

“She’s in the Prix Corrida at Saint-Cloud and she has a couple of other entries as well.”

Those entries include the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot and the Pretty Polly Stakes at the Curragh, with Fanshawe keen to navigate the earlier stages of the season before considering a return to the Breeders’ Cup in November.

“We’ll get the short-term targets out of the way first and then make a plan after that, we need to get her first run done and then we’ll know more about where to go next,” he said.

Audarya ran impressively on French soil twice last year when winning the Prix Jean Romanet and finishing third in the Prix de l’Opera, and Fanshawe is not ruling out crossing the channel again later in the season

“The race next week is for fillies and mares only and the conditions are good,” he said.

“There are good races across the country, but we’ll get this one out of the way first.”

Also under consideration is the option of moving the mare out of the company of her own sex and testing her against the colts, as illustrated by her entries in the Prince of Wales’s and the Coral-Eclipse.

“She’s won two Group One races against her own sex,” Fanshawe said.

“So we’ll see how we get on and see whether we can take on the colts at some stage.”

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.

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“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.”

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.

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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.”

Audarya flies the flag for Fanshawe at Breeders’ Cup

James Fanshawe is relishing the prospect of sending out his first Breeders’ Cup runner when Audarya contests Saturday’s Maker’s Mark Filly & Mare Turf.

The daughter of Wootton Bassett was winning a handicap on the all-weather at Newcastle as recently as early August, but has made huge progress since by claiming a surprise Group One win in the Prix Jean Romanet before finishing a close third in the Prix de l’Opera.

Fanshawe is well aware of the task facing his charge in America, but is adamant she is not there just to make up the numbers.

He said: “It’s a very different track to what she’s been racing on – it’s round two bends and much tighter.

“She’s a very well balanced filly, so I don’t think that will be a problem, and what will suit her is a truly-run race.

“At this time of year you’re just hoping your filly is in the same form as she has been for her last two races, as you’re going into the winter and some thrive and some start to hibernate.

“She seems well and is showing no signs of that. I hope she’ll run a very big race.”

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British hopes are also carried by John Gosden’s Terebellum.

Impressive in the Group Two Dahlia Stakes at Newmarket in early June, the Godolphin-owned four-year-old was subsequently narrowly denied Group One glory in both the Queen Anne at Royal Ascot and the Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket.

However, she could finish only fifth on her latest appearance in the Sun Chariot.

Gosden said: “It was very, very soft ground for Newmarket in the Sun Chariot. They seldom called it heavy and that was the description they were giving on the day.

“She found that a little bit too testing. Like most horses, she likes what we call good ground.”

Aidan O’Brien’s Peaceful and Cayenne Pepper, from Jessica Harrington’s yard, represent Ireland.

Following three successive runner-up finishes, Cayenne Pepper ran out an impressive winner of the Group Two Blandford Stakes at the Curragh in September.

“I think it probably was a career-best last time,” said Harrington.

“I was convinced she was a mile-and-a-half filly, but in the Irish Oaks and in the race at Cork (Give Thanks Stakes), she was in front until the last half-furlong and got run out of it.

“Bringing her back in trip for the Blandford, and winning it like she did, I really was absolutely delighted with her.”

Kevin Ryan is looking forward to saddling Glass Slippers
Kevin Ryan is looking forward to saddling Glass Slippers (PA)

Saturday’s Breeders’ Cup action gets under way with the Filly & Mare Sprint, for which Bob Baffert’s Gamine is the likely favourite.

The following race is the Turf Sprint, in which Kevin Ryan is set to saddle dual Group One-winning filly Glass Slippers, who was last seen finishing second when bidding for back-to-back wins in the Prix de l’Abbaye.

Ryan said: “She’s a top-class filly and the Breeders’ Cup is a very important meeting – it’s nice to have a filly that is good enough to run there.

“She comes out of her races very well – she’s very tough and genuine.

“She’s one of the best I’ve trained. She’s just been a very progressive filly who has kept on improving and I’m very privileged to have her to train.”

Chad Brown’s Complexity and the Brad Cox-trained Knicks Go are among the leading contenders for the Big Ass Fans Breeders’ Cup Dirt Mile, while George Weaver’s Vekoma and Steven Asmussen’s unbeaten colt Yaupon lock horns in the Breeders’ Cup Sprint.

Cox’s Monomoy Girl is a hot favourite for the Breeders’ Cup Distaff, ahead of Kenny McPeek’s Swiss Skydiver.

Weld ranks Tarnawa as his best shot at Breeders’ Cup success

Dermot Weld believes Tarnawa represents his best ever chance of claiming Breeders’ Cup success at Keeneland next week.

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 has so far eluded him.

Tarnawa will cross the Atlantic with excellent claims of breaking his duck following back-to-back Group One wins in France – following up a hugely-impressive display in last month’s Prix Vermeille with a more gritty performance in the Prix de l’Opera on her return to Paris.

Weld said: “I’ve been delighted with Tarnawa. We purposefully planned an autumn campaign with her. She won the Prix Vermeille very nicely and went back and won the Prix de l’Opera and has progressed from those two Group One wins.

“We’ve kept her on the same training schedule. She’s a very straightforward filly to train. She did a nice bit of sharp work last week and I was very happy with the way she went.”

Tarnawa is entered for both the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf and the Maker’s Mark Filly & Mare Turf in Kentucky – and Weld confirmed she is set to take on the boys in the longer of the two races, with Christophe Soumillon keeping the ride.

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He added: “It’s pretty certain that she’ll go to the Turf. It’s a pretty tight track with a short straight and there will likely be a bigger field in the Filly & Mare race, so the chance of getting a bad draw increases.

“Christophe Soumillon will definitely ride her. I thought he gave her two perfect rides when she won her two Group Ones and you don’t break a winning combination.”

Asked whether he felt Tarnawa was his best chance heading to a Breeders’ Cup, Weld said: “Unquestionably.

“It would be lovely to win a Breeders’ Cup race. I’ve had very few horses with the serious chance that I believe she has of winning.”

Just a length behind Tarnawa when third in the Prix de l’Opera was Audarya, who will become multiple Group One-winning trainer James Fanshawe’s first ever Breeders’ Cup runner when she lines up for the Filly & Mare Turf.

“It’s very exciting, because for a stable of our size, when you’re never going to be champion trainer or anything like that, it’s about finding a good horse and doing a good job with what you’ve got,” said the Newmarket handler.

James Fanshawe has high hopes for Audarya
James Fanshawe has high hopes for Audarya (Tim Goode/PA)

“Training winners is great and every winner you’re really grateful for, but to have the chance to go for a race like this is what the game’s all about.

“It’s tough competition at the Breeders’ Cup and I hate going with only half a chance. I feel this filly is really well, we’ve talked about it for a while and that’s where we’ll go.”

Audarya was winning a handicap on the all-weather at Newcastle as recently as early August, but has made huge progress since by claiming a surprise Group One win in the Prix Jean Romanet before proving that effort was no fluke behind Tarnawa on Arc weekend.

Fanshawe added: “We’ve always really liked the filly. We’d won the Romanet before with Ribbons (2014) and Speedy Boarding (2016), so I always had that race at the back of my mind. She was in good form, so we said we’d have a cut at the Romanet and she won it well.

“Having won the Romanet, we went for the Opera and she ran very well there. She was beaten barely a length and her rating has gone up from 101 to 116 this year.

“I always find if I go for a big race as an afterthought it doesn’t come off, but the Breeders’ Cup is nicely spaced after the Opera and she seems in good form.”

The Tin Man drops in class for Bengough challenge

Veteran sprinter The Tin Man has his sights lowered for the rescheduled Coral Bengough Stakes at York on Saturday.

It has been over two years since James Fanshawe’s stable stalwart claimed the third of his three wins at Group One level in the Sprint Cup at Haydock, adding to his previous wins in top-level company in the Qipco British Champions Sprint and the Diamond Jubilee at Ascot.

However, he has run some fine races in defeat since – most recently finishing sixth in his latest tilt at Sprint Cup glory – and drops to a Group Three for a race that was saved from last Saturday’s abandoned meeting at Ascot.

“He’s coming back from a Group One to a Group Three. He’s seems in really good form – the obvious question mark is the going, but he has handled soft ground before,” said Fanshawe.

“He’s been running really well this year. Before the Sprint Cup he was narrowly beaten in a Group Three (Hackwood Stakes) at Newbury and he is still enjoying it.

“We’ll see how he gets on this weekend and take it from there.”

The Tin Man’s seven rivals include David O’Meara’s Stewards’ Cup hero Summerghand, Kevin Ryan’s Brando and the Michael Dods-trained Dakota Gold, who has won four times from seven appearances at York and finished second on two other occasions.

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Dods said: “He was actually meant to run in the Rous Stakes at Ascot last weekend, but obviously that meeting was called off and when they switched the Bengough to York, we thought it made sense to run him.

“He seems in good form. It’s a very competitive race, but hopefully he’ll run well.”

Fresh from saddling an across-the-card four-timer at Sedgefield and Newcastle on Wednesday, Rebecca Menzies is looking forward to running Stormy Girl, who claimed a Listed prize at Pontefract in August.

“She’s a very good filly who will also have a big year next year as well, I hope,” said the County Durham-based trainer.

“She’s a big, strong filly who will definitely hold her own as a four-year-old.

“She’s already proved that she can be competitive in Group races and hopefully a Group Three is within reach.”

Brad The Brief (Tom Dascombe), Hareem Queen (Karl Burke) and Kurious (Henry Candy) complete the line-up.

Listed honours are up for grabs in the coral.co.uk Rockingham Stakes.

Dods is represented by Blackrod, who steps up in class after a dominant display at Hamilton a few weeks ago.

“He’s a very nice horse,” Dods added.

“It’s a warm race and he has a bit to find on ratings, but he’s an improver and I don’t think he’ll disgrace himself.”

Simon and Ed Crisford’s French Group Three runner-up Legal Attack, Richard Fahey’s pair of Internationaldream and Regional and the Queen’s Light Refrain, trained by William Haggas, also feature.

The most valuable race on the final day of the season on the Knavesmire is the £75,000 Coral Sprint Trophy.

The weights are headed by Mr Lupton and Kynren, third and fifth respectively in the Ayr Gold Cup three weeks ago.

Further down the field is Kevin Ryan’s Magical Spirit, who received a hefty rise for a runaway victory in the Ayr Silver Cup.

Cosmo Charlton, racing manager for Magical Spirit’s owners Hambleton Racing, said: “He seems in great form and Kevin thought it was worth giving him another run in handicap company for some good prize-money.

“It’s a very competitive race and he’s gone up 12lb for winning at Ayr, so it won’t be easy, but I think the track should suit him as you generally need to be on the pace at York and he certainly has plenty of boot.

“Kevin thinks he could be a Pattern-race performer next year, so hopefully he’ll run another big race this weekend.”