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International News For Flying The Flag And Noble Tune

Flying The Flag, a son of Galileo at Bush Hill Stud and a full brother to Gr1 winner Rhododendron. Image: Candiese Marnewick

Two of KZN’s exciting young stallion prospects were further boosted over the weekend with news that Flying The Flag’s full sister had taken the award for Ireland’s Champion 2YO Filly, whilst Arrogate, who shares a sire with Noble Tune in Unbridled’s Song, produced an earth shattering win in the Pegasus $12 million dollar race by over four lengths.

Flying The Flag’s Gr1 winning full sister Rhododendron (by Galileo) was part of the success that saw her trainer Aidan and Annemarie O’Brien inducted into the Irish Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association’s Hall Of Fame at the organisation’s 2016 Breeding and Racing Awards ceremony on 28 January.

Aidan O’Brien was the trainer of five of the evening’s equine award recipients and all progeny of Galileo – 2-year-old filly Rhododendron (Ire), 2-year-old colt Churchill (Ire), 3-year-old filly Minding (Ire), 3-year-old colt The Gurkha (Ire) and older horse Found (Ire).

Stephen Collins, Irish Thoroughbred Breeders Association Chairman, said, “The ITBA National Awards is our opportunity to celebrate the outstanding successes of 2016–a year in which Irish Thoroughbred talent was displayed to an international audience. Yet again Irish horses were to the fore winning the vast majority of all the prizes that matter.”

Irish-bred international Group winner Flying The Flag stands at Bush Hill Stud and will have his first foals born in 2017.

Noble Tune at Rathmor Stud. Image: Candiese Marnewick


Having previously knocked heads in what had been North America’s richest race last November, champions California Chrome  and Arrogate were lured to see if they could recreate that magic again with the world’s biggest purse on the line.

One of them more than delivered on his part of the bargain.

The two-horse showdown that was supposed to be in the inaugural running of the $12 million Pegasus World Cup Invitational Stakes (Gr1) at Gulfstream Park turned into a torch-passing, one-star show. Doubling down on his stirring triumph over California Chrome in the $6 million Breeders’ Cup Classic (G1) Nov. 5, Arrogate made a mockery of the showdown when he drew off handily under Hall of Famer Mike Smith to prevail by 4 3/4 lengths over Shaman Ghost.

Meanwhile, the two-time Horse of the Year faded badly to finish ninth and was later diagnosed with fluid in his right knee. The image of the lanky steel-colored colt sauntering his way into the winner’s circle was by no means a stunner, for the story of Juddmonte Farms’ Arrogate is one of meteoric brilliance that has yet reach its deepest depths.

Unraced at 2, the 4-year-old son of Unbridled’s Song has become a world-beater in his seven starts, winning the Travers Stakes (Gr1) in record-setting fashion in his first graded stakes last August and running down California Chrome in the Breeders’ Cup to hand the son of Lucky Pulpit the lone defeat in a campaign that saw him crowned the 2016 Horse of the Year.

What few saw coming was the fact that Arrogate would be uncontested as he polished off his sixth victory, one that brings his earnings to $11,084,600. Though hung wide on the first turn after having to break from the outside post in the 12-horse field, California Chrome settled in fourth down the backstretch but had zero response when jockey Victor Espinoza began to nudge him for more.

Those big, gray strides of Arrogate’s have found no peers since he broke his maiden at Santa Anita Park June 5.

Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert is notorious for not putting horses on a plane unless he feels they will represent him accordingly. So despite some chatter when Arrogate scratched out of the San Pasqual Stakes (Gr2) Jan. 1 and then had his workout schedule interrupted because of inclement weather in California, his mere presence at Gulfstream this week spoke volumes about his connections’ confidence.

“He just ran his race,” Baffert said. “I kept waiting for the matchup with Chrome, but he just didn’t bring his race today. It’s too bad. We expected to win, but he got a little tired at the end. He probably needed it badly.”

When Smith tipped Arrogate out and asked him to roll past Neolithic and a fading Noble Bird approaching the final turn, he proved he was more than worthy of his recent designation as the Longines World’s Best Racehorse. As California Chrome uncharacteristically began backing up, Arrogate opened up as he pleased in the lane. Smith said he geared him down in the final 100 yards as they hit wire in 1:47.61 for the 1 1/8 miles over a fast track.

“Once I got out going into the far turn, I knew we were going to be very tough to beat,” Smith said. “He had a lot of run today and I was very happy. As far as winning the world’s richest race, I’m absolutely numb.”

Noble Tune, the first son of super American sire, sire of sires and champion broodmare sire Unbridled’s Song to stand on the African continent will have his first yearlings on offer at the National Yearling Sale in May. Noble Tune is a half brother to Honor Code and stands for a fee of R25 000 at Rathmor Stud.

– extract bloodhorse.com


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