Dermot Weld’s Flying Jib and Aidan O’Brien’s Wonderfully finished down the field as former O’Brien inmate Minorette claimed top honours in Saturday’s Belmont Oaks.
Flying Jib headed for New York with strong claims having completed a hat-trick in the Athasi Stakes at the Curragh in early May, but she finished a disappointing eighth on her Grade One debut in the hands of Pat Smullen.
Wonderfully, making her seventh successive appearance at the highest level, fared a little better in fifth under Colm O’Donoghue, but was ultimately no match for her former stable companion.
Minorette, who remains under the ownership of Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith and John Magnier, won a Naas maiden on her racecourse debut last July, but failed to make an impact in three subsequent appearances at stakes level in Ireland.
Having made an encouraging American debut at Belmont at the end of May, the daughter of Smart Strike showed potent acceleration in the hands of Joel Rosario to clinch Grade One glory for trainer Chad Brown.
“She was really training big coming into this race. We were pretty confident she’d give a good showing of herself in here,” Brown told www.bloodhorse.com.
“The more I got to train her, even before we first ran her, she just moved and looked like a mile and a quarter horse. Her pedigree wouldn’t deter you from that, either. We just took our time with her.
“I tell you, the Coolmore group is a wonderful organisation to train for. They never told me where to run, when to run.
“After the race at Keeneland at a mile when she was closing pretty good and got a good number out of the race, I immediately circled this big one and said, ’Let’s just go for it’.
“I gave her a local prep and it worked, because that’s what preps are for. She got a run over the course, and the jock got to know her. When the money counted today, he rode her perfect.”
American-based Frenchman Christophe Clement saddled Sea Queen and Summer Solo to finish second and third respectively.
Francois Doumen’s French challenger Xcellence, previously placed in the French 1000 Guineas and Oaks, ran a respectable race in fourth.
Meanwhile Sea The Moon preserved his unbeaten record as he romped to victory in the German Derby at Hamburg yesterday.
Christophe Soumillon had the Markus Klug-trained colt smartly out of the stalls to overcome a poor draw and grab the rail.
The son of Sea The Stars then hared across towards the near-side rail as the rest of the field panned out all over the track.
Such was his dominance, Soumillon could enjoy a casual look over his right shoulder and saw the opposition had been blown away.
Lucky Lion did best of the rest in second, while sole British raider, Godolphin’s Pinzolo, never showed.
Aidan O’Brien’s challenger Geoffrey Chaucer weakened quickly under Ryan Moore after threatening to make a bid.
Sea The Moon was cut to as low as 7-1 to emulate his sire and win the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp in October.
Soumillon said: “I was going so well that I found myself in front very early and just decided to stay there.
“When they came round that last bend I went to look for better ground on the outside of the track. I knew then he was going to win.
“He’s a bit like Orfevre (two-times Arc runner-up) in the sense that he’s a bit cheeky and is not an easy horse to ride.
“But I was well prepared for it and everything worked out well.”
When asked if Sea The Moon could be competitive in major races in France and England, Soumillon said: “Absolutely. Definitely. Yes.”
Trainer William Haggas put the seal on a fine weekend when Graphic claimed the Group Three Prix Messidor at Maisons-Laffitte.
The Newmarket handler had already savoured a huge result at Sandown on Saturday when Mukhadram landed the Coral-Eclipse by two lengths.
Haggas then secured further Pattern-race honours in France as the Frankie Dettori-ridden Graphic, owned by the Royal Ascot Racing Club, defeated Pilote by a length and a half. Line Drummer finished third.
Graphic has been in fine fettle all season and was last seen taking second place behind French Navy in the Investec Diomed Stakes at Epsom on June 6.
Dettori and Richard Hannon had no such fortune in the Prix Amandine, a seven-furlong Listed race for three-year-old fillies, as Midnite Angel finished some way adrift of Amy Eria. Trained by Francois Rohaut and ridden by Thierry Thulliez, the victorious Shamardal filly had two lengths in reserve of This Time at the line.
Unbeaten filly Wunder is likely to be seen next in the German Oaks at Dusseldorf on August 1.
The Markus Klug-trained daughter of Adlerflug continued her progression with victory in a Group Three at Chantilly, and is set to return to her homeland for a tilt at Group One level in the German Oaks over a mile and three furlongs.
Klug said: “She is improving all the time and is getting better and better with every race. She is a very nice horse and the plan is now to run her in the German Oaks.”
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