Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Stakes (Grade 1)
THERE was one Grade 1 in the US at Keeneland last weekend and Peter Brant’s Gina Romantica burst through between rivals in deep stretch of the Grade 1 $600,000 Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Stakes.
The three-year-old daughter of Into Mischief hit the line a length and three-quarters ahead of fellow Chad Brown runner and race favourite McKulick.
Brown was capturing his fifth Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup.
Gina Romantica already rewarded her breeders in the sales ring, where she sold to BSW/Crow for $1.25 million from Machmer Hall Sales’ consignment at the 2020 Keeneland September Yearling Sale.
Gina Romantica rated fourth in the pocket under Flavien Prat as Jessica Harrington’s Paris Peacock went an opening quarter of 23.66secs in her US debut.
California invader Bellabel raced second and McKulick was third in the six-horse field through a three-quarters in 1m 12.83secs.
With nowhere to go as the field turned for home, Gina Romantica split horses two wide a furlong and a half out, then kicked clear to victory over the nine furlongs in 1m 48.20secs.
Flavian Prat said: “The pace was fast so I got myself tucked in. She relaxed well and really kicked on well when it was time to make a move. Turning for home I got a good gap and squeezed on in and she responded really well.” California invader Bellabel took third with Paris Peacock fading to sixth and last.
Redicean rallies for number 10
THE veteran Redicean returned to his best form to win the restricted Appleton Stakes for Sharon Sheppard, trainer Leslie Young and Irish jockey Sean Flanagan.
Young added blinkers to the hard-trying eight-year-old after three losses in Grade 1 company this summer.
The son of Medicean drew off to win by four lengths over Theocrat and Gordon Elliott’s Soviet Pimpernel. Redican ticked over $300,000 in career earnings with his 10th career win (six over hurdles and three on the flat).
Brion on the scoreboard
LJAY kicked off the Irish domination upsetting the Harry E. Harris, a stakes for four-year-olds. Owned by Belle Meade Jockey Club and the International Venture, the Irish-bred son of Champs Elysees pulled off a half-length win over Maryland-bred Who’s Counting and Proven Innocent.
Trained by Keri Brion and ridden by Parker Hendriks, Ljay picked up his second four-year-old stakes win of the season.
JOCKEY Bernie Dalton cajoled and corralled a hard-pulling Agitaire to win the inaugural running of the John Forbes Memorial, a two-mile flat stakes worth $100,000.
The Irish-bred son of Teofilo ran down Monmouth-based Basso, trained by Greg Sacco and ridden by Nick Juarez to win by four lengths. Millionaire Cross Border finished third.
The winner is owned by Molly and Paul Willis, CFC Stable, Danny and Sheila Kelly and LF Racing and trained by Keri Brion.
Jet off the mark in US
RIVERDEE Stable’s Cool Jet won the nightcap, a $50,000 Sport of Kings maiden, added to this year’s card. Because of low sun, stewards omitted six of the 11 hurdles in the two-mile–half-a-furlong contest.
Cool Jet won a bumper for Willie Mullins in Ireland before going 0-for-3 for Brian Ellison in England. Owner Pat Boyle took a chance and sent son of Jet Away to Jack Fisher in late spring. The bay gelding made his debut at Foxfield and came back two weeks later to win the richest maiden race of the season.