THE 2021 Breeders’ Cup at Del Mar began with an Irish-bred winner as Twilight Gleaming won the Juvenile Turf Sprint for trainer Wesley Ward.
Go Bears Go, trained by Galway native Dave Loughnane, finished second. The winner finished second to Quick Suzy in the Queen Mary at Royal Ascot and she shot from the stalls under Irad Ortiz Jr.
The Michael O’Callaghan-trained Twilight Jet, now in the colours of US owner Mike Iavarone, tried to stay close on heels from his one draw but the Americans were too speedy. Go Bears Go made progress under John Velazquez and was closing all the way to the line.
Hugo Palmer’s Hierarchy was another European raider to come home well, in the hands of Oisin Murphy. The winner is a daughter of National Defense, who stands at the Irish National Stud. She was bred by Pier House Stud and was sold at the Goffs Orby Sale for €75,000 to agent Ben McElroy for owner Barbara Banke.
Ward – winning the race for the third year in a row – said: “I’m lucky to train so many fast horses this year. When you have the athletes on your side it makes everything so special.
“I will see how she progresses and I imagine either the King’s Stand or the Commonwealth Cup will be on her agenda. We start them early, and moving forward I knew she was fast.
“She won at Belmont on the grass and finished second in the Queen Mary.”
Loughnane said of Go Bears Go: “He’s a superstar and has taken me to new heights. He’s a life-changing horse.
Juvenile Fillies Turf (Grade 1)
TRAINER Christophe Clement finally won his first Breeders’ Cup race on Friday evening
Jose Ortiz gave Pizza Bianca a sublime ride to win the Juvenile Fillies Turf.
Three wide and last at one stage, Ortiz knifed through the field, well captured on the Jockey Cam he carried, and his mount flew once in the clear to swamp George Boughey’s long-time leader Cachet, who was third to Inspiral in the Fillies’ Mile on her previous start.
Owned and bred by celebrity chef Bobby Flay, the winner was giving his trainer a Breeders’ Cup breakthrough after years of trying.
Flay said: “I’m a chef and the dam’s name is White Hot so I moulded that into the naming of her. I’m the owner-breeder and my favourite thing to do is go in with the matings and breed.
“She was last round the far turn and I thought she wasn’t liking the firm ground, but all of a sudden it was insane. How many bobs and weaves did Jose take?”
He added: “Christophe is a very deserving trainer, he’s so great at what he does and pays attention to every detail. He eats and sleeps his horses, and for him to have a first Breeders’ Cup winner is so incredibly deserved.
Clement said: “This is the first (victory) at the Breeders Cup for me and I feel elated. We have been waiting for this for so long.”
Cachet was fourth in the end, and Boughey said: “I thought for a moment we were going to win it. Luis (Saez) gave her a fine ride.
“It was a huge run, she’s proved she’s a global Group 1 filly. It’s great. It’s a huge honour to be be out here, we’re delighted.”
Ridden by Ryan Moore, Malavath was an excellent second for French trainer Francis-Henri Graffard.
Hello You was another to perform well for Dave Loughnane, she kept on well for fifth place.