Our KZN sires have strong connections with the Breeders Cup this year, amongst them stallions Crusade (Seventh Heaven), Noble Tune (Made You Look) and Flying The Flag (Photo Call).
Gr1 Middle Park Stakes winner Crusade’s half-sister by Galileo, Seventh Heaven – captured both the Grade 1 Darley Irish Oaks at The Curragh in Ireland and the Grade1 Darley Yorksire Oaks at York in Great Britain. She is just one in the mighty arsenal of grass fillies and mares from trainer Aidan O’Brien’s operation.
The top Irish trainer is looking for a repeat in a Breeders’ Cup turf event with this 3-year-old Galileo filly, after sending out Found — a 3-year-old at the time — to defeat a stellar field of mostly males in last year’s Turf at Keeneland. Seventh Heaven is pointing for the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf at Santa Anita.
The Yorkshire Oaks, at a mile and a half, was Seventh Heaven’s first attempt against older mares. She unleashed a furious rally late to put away her stablemate Found in the stretch to prevail by two and three-quarter lengths.
Seventh Heaven now has four wins, three of them black type, in seven outings this season.
Her only poor showing was in the Epsom Oaks, where she was beaten over 30 lengths when she didn’t like the track surface. She should benefit from a firm course at Santa Anita.
Crusade’s first crop turned two in August. The son of Mr Greeley saw his progeny enthusiastically received at sales this year, with a powerful stamp of Crusade’s colour, conformation and good looks.
Rathmor Stud’s Noble Tune, who finished second in this race – the Breeders Cup Juvenile Turf – will have his close relative Made You Look running on the day. Made You Look is out of Night And Day, a three parts sister to Noble Tune by Unbridled’s Song out of the great Serena’s Song, Noble Tune’s fourth dam.
Two-year-old colt Made You Look will make you look twice. Not only for his mature win in his third lifetime start in the Grade 2 With Anticipation Stakes at Saratoga, but because he looks so much like his Hall of Fame grand-dam Serena’s Song.
Serena’s Song won 18 races, including 10 grade one stakes, and was voted champion 3-year-old filly in 1995. She was voted into the Racing Hall of Fame in 2002. Serena’s Song was the all-time leading distaff earner with $3,283,388 in winnings when she was retired in late 1996.
While she was a beast on the racetrack, Serena’s Song was a delicate-looking bay filly with a small white star. Made You Look is built much the same way, and shares his grandmother’s colouring and white star.
A $360,000 yearling purchase at the 2015 Keeneland September Sale, the More Than Ready colt ran second in his debut this spring at Belmont. He won next time out going six furlongs June 18.
His stakes debut was the With Anticipation Stakes July 31 at Saratoga, and he ran like a seasoned veteran, diving through an opening on the rail at in the stretch to take the mile test in 1:37.34. It was trainer Todd Pletcher’s fifth win in that stake in the last nine years. Pletcher also trained Made You Look’s sire More Than Ready.
“We were getting a beautiful trip; it was just a matter of whether he was able to find a spot to go through,” said Pletcher. “I thought for a young horse to shoot through there was pretty brave on his part. He’s been training really well, we were looking forward to a good effort, he got a good trip, and he delivered. He’s got a fantastic pedigree.”
Noble Tune’s first yearlings will be on sale in 2017. The Gr2 and Gr3 winning half-brother to Honor Code is truly a very lucky acquisition to South Africa and Noble Tune is the first son of Unbridled’s Song to retire to stud on the African continent. Dual Gr1 winner Honor Code stood his first season for a fee of $40 000, whilst Noble Tune stands for an accessible R25 000 and enjoyed support from stud farms nationwide.
Photo Call, who sold for $3million at Keeneland and is a three parts sister to Bush Hill Stud’s Flying The Flag, her recent form is picture perfect for a horse coming into the big dance. The 4-year-old daughter of Galileo (IRE) notched the first Grade 1 victory of her career when she captured the Rodeo Drive Stakes at Santa Anita in late September in her last start.
She showed her grit in the Rodeo Drive, when she had to bull her way between rivals in the stretch to win the mile and a quarter turf test.
“The stretch was a bit hairy,” said her rider Drayden Van Dyke. “Not a lot of fillies are brave enough to go through a hole like that but she just rocketed through there.”
The Rodeo Drive was a “Win and You’re In” qualifier for Breeders’ Cup Filly and Mare Turf. Her race just prior, the Violet Stakes at Monmouth Park, likewise resulted in a photo op in the winner’s circle.
The Irish-bred lass has four wins in 13 starts, and the Rodeo Drive victory accounts for more than half of her $339,562 in lifetime earnings.
Her dam is a half-sister to Flying The Flag’s triple Gr1 winning dam, Halfway To Heaven, sharing the speedy third dam of Cassandra Go. Flying The Flag, an international Group winner himself has a Gr1 winning full sister in Rhododendrum.
Flying The Flag stands for R20 000 at Bush Hill Stud.
– extract breederscup.com