Arrogate storms to Dubai World Cup victory at Meydan

Trained in the USA by Bob Baffert and ridden by jockey Mike Smith, the four-year-old colt made it seven wins on the trot as he came through the field after an uncharacteristic poor start to beat Gun Runner and Neolithic.

Having won the Breeders’ Cup Classic and Pegasus World Cup Invitational, Arrogate was unsurprisingly sent off as race favourite for the one mile two furlong trip, but he appeared to have lost all chance of success thanks to a slow start which saw him stationed at the rear of the field for some time.

But jockey Smith showed all his experience when it mattered and did not panic in the slightest, weaving in and out of the field as he gradually made up ground.

Rounding the turn for home he was making up many lengths, but Gun Runner appeared to have stolen a march and the likely winner.

However Arrogate found another gear when it mattered and bounded clear to give Baffert a third win in the race by two and a quarter lengths.

Speaking afterwards, Baffert said: “When he missed the break, I gave him no chance at all.

“I was so mad at myself thinking I shouldn’t have brought him – that’s the greatest horse I’ve ever seen run, it’s unbelievable, I can’t believe he won. That is a great horse.

“Mike did a great job, he didn’t panic. When he turned for home I said ‘If he wins he’s the greatest since Secretariat’.”

In the Longines Dubai Sheema Classic, Jack Hobbs – trained by John Gosden and ridden by William Buick – won the Dubai Sheema Classic.

The 2015 Irish Derby hero missed most of last season due to injury but made a stunning start to his five-year-old career with an impressive win.

Last year’s winner of the Longines Dubai Sheema Classic, the Roger Varian-trained Postponed, was sent off as race favourite to pull off a repeat but could finish only third.

The result was something of a major triumph for Gosden who has had to be patient as the horse was injured on his return to action last April and not seen out again until an excellent third in the Champion Stakes.

Jack Hobbs’s first start in the Godolphin silks was a second to Golden Horn in the 2015 Derby at Epsom, and among those he beat there was fifth-placed Highland Reel, who tried to make all on this occasion.

Enjoying an easy lead under Ryan Moore, the Aidan O’Brien-trained five-year-old was tracked by William Buick on the winner, with Postponed and Andrea Atzeni just behind. Jack Hobbs appeared to relax on the back straight and found a lovely rhythm, moving to the front two furlongs out, with Postponed looking the main danger. However Buick did not appear keen to go for home and waited a further half a furlong before deciding to go for the line.

Turning into the straight, Moore asked Highland Reel to quicken, but the response was disappointing and they folded tamely to finish last as Adrie De Vries and Prize Money, in the second Godolphin silks, threw down a short-lived challenge for Saeed Bin Suroor.

Jack Hobbs however pulled away with minimum effort to win by two and a quarter lengths to leave Postponed trailing, and it was left to O’Brien’s second runner, Seventh Heaven, to chase home the winner.


Dubai World Cup favourite Arrogate is dirt version of Frankel, says trainer

Bob Baffert, whose Arrogate is the favourite for the $10m Dubai World Cup on Saturday, said here on Wednesday his colt is “the dirt version of Frankel”, the brilliant champion who won all 14 of his races in England in the same green, white and pink colours of Prince Khalid Abdullah.It is a comparison that could offend some of the many fans who cherish Frankel’s memory. While Arrogate is not unbeaten, having suffered an unfortunate defeat on his debut 11 months ago, he has won his six starts since including the Breeders’ Cup Classic last November. And like Frankel at the same stage of his career, he has entered the spring of his four-year-old campaign with the potential to become one of the greats.

Arrogate was placed in stall nine of 14 at the draw for post positions here on Wednesday and the betting at least suggests he will extend his winning streak to seven with little fuss. The 1-3 available with Coral is typical.

“It’s pretty amazing the Prince has had a superhorse like Frankel and now he’s got a superhorse like this horse,” Baffert said. “Turf versus dirt, it’s so different. Frankel was an incredible horse, I remember every time he ran I made sure I got up real early to watch his races in England and he was spectacular.

“I think this horse is like the dirt version, in the States, of Frankel, so it’s pretty amazing he would own two of the best horses that we’ve seen. I trained [the 2015 Triple Crown winner] American Pharoah, and I thought when he retired it was going to be really tough to fill those shoes, and then here comes Arrogate. He got into those shoes and just kept on.”

The fact Frankel never raced outside England is perhaps the one slight criticism that could be made of his astonishing career. Arrogate is now trying to carry his winning form halfway around the world, having won the $12m Pegasus World Cup at Gulfstream Park in Florida in late January. Meydan has a dirt surface and the layout is a classic American oval but this is still a step into the unknown.

“I think him and American Pharoah, they’re the two best I’ve trained,” Baffert said. “They’re just superior animals, when they bring their A game, nothing can get near them, they’re that good. American Pharoah got beat [by Keen Ice in the 2015 Travers Stakes] when he brought his B game.

“Arrogate is the best horse in the world but this is still a challenge for him, to bring him over here and for him to run his race. Hopefully he takes to it but it’s different here. The barn area is so far away, that walk really changes things because our horses aren’t used to it. So far he’s handled everything well and I haven’t seen anything that tells me he’s not going to run his race.”

In one respect at least, Arrogate is already well ahead of Frankel, as Frankel’s career earnings of £3m do not place him in the all-time top 50 around the racing world. Arrogate has a career total of just over US$11m, or about £8.84m at current rates, and the $6m first prize on Saturday would ensure Baffert’s colt becomes the biggest money-earner in history.

Following the draw, Arrogate’s trainer is already starting to think about how Saturday’s race could unfold. Two more US-based runners, Gun Runner and Neolithic, may well set the pace, with Arrogate and perhaps his stablemate Hoppertunity waiting to pounce in the stretch.

“I think Gun Runner, he’s the horse that’s probably going to be the target in the race,” Baffert said. “I’m hoping I’m close to him [turning in] and Neolithic, he’s a really fast horse as well. The break is going to be the most important part. Arrogate missed the break one time on his first start and he couldn’t get out and got beat.

“He’s the heavy favourite but he still has to have racing luck and get around there, so it’s not a gimme.”

Many Clouds dies after beating Thistlecrack at Cheltenham

Many Clouds collapsed and died after narrowly beating Thistlecrack to win the Cotswold Chase at Cheltenham's Festival Trials Day.

King George winner Thistlecrack caught Many Clouds close to the finish but the 2015 Grand National winner, ridden by Leighton Aspell, fought back to win.

Many Clouds collapsed after the winning post and was treated by veterinary staff before he was pronounced dead.

Trainer Oliver Sherwood said the 10-year-old was the "horse of a lifetime".

Many Clouds, owned by Trevor Hemmings, also won the Gold Cup trial in 2015 and the Hennessy Gold Cup in 2014.

"I always said he'd die for you, and he has today, doing what he loved most," said Sherwood.

"He wanted to win that race, by God he wanted to win it - he was beat at the last and he fought the last 50 yards to get up and win.

"I've trained for 32 years now and horses like that don't come along very often."

Sherwood added he would "enjoy the memories" of Many Clouds' successes and said his last race was "maybe the best career performance".

Thistlecrack's trainer Colin Tizzard described Many Clouds as a "lovely horse".

"My initial thought when we got beat was that I was disappointed but it's as sad as can be," he said.

"They had a battle and it's just a tragic end to the race. This is what happens in our sport occasionally and you've got to face up to it."

Many Clouds had started the race at odds of 8-1, with Thistlecrack the 4-9 favourite.

Jockey Walter Swinburn dies aged 55

The man who piloted Shergar to a famous Epsom Derby win in 1981, Walter Swinburn, has passed away aged 55.

Nicknamed the 'Choirboy', Swinburn partnered Shergar to glory in the 1981 Derby at the age of 19, one of three winners for him in the Epsom Classic alongside Shahrastani (1986) and Lammtarra (1995).

Many other big-race successes around the world adorned his CV before his retirement in 2000.

Swinburn took over the training licence from his father-in-law, Peter Harris, in November 2004, sending out over 260 winners from his Hertfordshire base before handing in his licence at the end of October 2011, citing financial reasons.Harris confirmed the shock news to Press Association Sport.

He said: "I've been in Scotland all day and got home this evening and all I know is that he has died.

"I don't know any more details at the moment."

After his riding days were over, Swinburn enjoyed a successful period as part of the Channel 4 Racing team, working with former National Hunt great John Francome among others.

Francome told At The Races: "I spoke to him a couple of months ago and he seemed in really good form. It's absolutely shocking he should die aged 55. No age at all.

"He was an absolutely gifted rider, you never saw any horse pulling with him or having their head in the air.

"He was a little bit of a troubled soul in some ways, he had weight problems which probably affected him a lot more than other people, but that said that seemed to be a long time ago and he seemed to all intents and purposes fine, but obviously he wasn't.

"He could ride a race, he had a really good feel for what was going on underneath him. What the horse was doing - he must have been a fantastic jockey to have riding for you.

"He'd give great feedback and come back in and tell you everything you needed to know. He probably knew everything he needed to know by the time he got down to the start."He was a very sensitive person, both on and off a horse."

Swinburn suffered a terrible fall at Sha Tin in February 1996 when his mount Liffey River crashed through the rails and was in intensive care for a week with severe head and chest injuries.

He returned to win on his first ride back on Talathath at Windsor just six months later.

Francome added: "It was a shocking fall, and he made an amazing comeback - but he was happiest on a horse.

"He was great company and gave great insight (during television coverage). Flat racing is a little bit sharper than jumping and he could see what was going on in a jockey's mind.

"He had a good smile, great sense of humour, fabulous parents - just a really nice family and I'm devastated for them."

Of Swinburn winning the Derby so young, Francome said: "It was extraordinary wasn't it, like winning the Champions League in your first season playing football. But it happened and he used to take things in his stride.

"He was just a good lad."

Newmarket-based James Fanshawe was assistant to Shergar's trainer Sir Michael Stoute when Swinburn was the stable's number one rider, and described him as a "brilliant jockey".

"Walter and I were at Sir Michael Stoute's together and he was a brilliant jockey," said Fanshawe, now a successful trainer in his own right.

"Obviously he won the Derby in 1981 at the age of 19 and won the Derby two more times, but he had the most sympathetic pair of hands as a rider. He was a real horseman and was good on the most difficult of horses.

"We worked there together for seven years."

The top-class miler Zilzal was another major Swinburn winner, with their successes including the Sussex Stakes and Queen Elizabeth II Stakes.

Fanshawe said: "Not many people could have ridden Zilzal. He was a brilliant horse, but had a fiery nature. Walter was brilliant on those sort of horses.

"His big-race record would stand comparison to anyone."


Parachute Man réalise le doublé classique

La Swan Duke Of York Cup a tenu toutes ses promesses. En effet, Parachute Man a réussi son pari en remportant sa 2e classique, après le Maiden, de très belle manière. Rye Joorawon a, quant à lui, remporté sa 5e victoire dans cette épreuve classique.

Suivant proche du pas tout en étant nez-au-vent, la monture de Rye Joorawon s’est révélé le plus fort dans la ligne droite finale pour s’imposer de peu devant Charles Lytton. 

La troisième place est revenue à One Cool Dude alors que Karraar a démontré tout son talent pour compléter le quarté. 

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TOUR DE L'ÎLE : Un duel Maurice/Réunion en trois manches

Grand départ de l'édition 2016 du Tour de l'île Land Rover de voile ce matin. Cette épreuve mettra de nouveau en opposition les équipages mauriciens et réunionnais. Elle se déroulera sur trois jours et en trois étapes. Soit Grand-Baie-Mahébourg, Mahébourg-Rivière Noire et Rivière Noire-Grand-Baie. Cette course à handicap, qui classera les participants en trois catégories, bénéficiera cette année du soutien de la marque britannique Land Rover, à travers son concessionnaire local, Axess.
Du côté mauricien, douze équipages devraient être au départ, soit sept dans la catégorie IRC 1, trois en IRC 2 et deux en IRC 3. Chez les Réunionnais, six équipages seront au rendez-vous, dont cinq en IRC 1 et un en IRC 2. La concurrence s'annonce donc intéressante pour cette plus vieille régate des Mascareignes et ce rendez-vous devenu incontournable de la voile hauturière depuis plus de trente ans. D'autant que les différents équipages ne se sont épargné aucun effort afin de pouvoir être à la hauteur de la situation.
« Sur l'eau, nous ne nous faisons pas de cadeau. Nous sommes présents pour nous faire plaisir, mais aussi pour gagner. D'autant que nous arrivons depuis quelques années à trouver des commanditaires qui nous aident énormément », souligne Jean-Luc Mamet, skipper du Mistral. Ce dernier, tout en mettant l'accent sur l'entraide et la camaraderie entre les différents équipages, se méfie néanmoins des représentants de l'île sœur.
« Les Réunionnais possèdent beaucoup d'expérience et connaissent les règlements. Nous aurons à faire très attention à ne pas griller la priorité à un adversaire par exemple. Toutefois, après chaque étape, cela devient un véritable plaisir de se retrouver avec les autres équipages. L'organisation est vraiment sympathique et nos troisièmes mi-temps constituent des moments que nous attendons tous. »
Cet esprit de camaraderie hors compétition est également relaté par Brice Armengaud, skipper de Kazlamer. « On ne peut parler de rivalité. Si rivalité il y a, elle est sur l'eau. » N'ayant jamais raté une édition de cette compétition et secrétaire du Club Nautique Portois, il ne fait pas montre d'un optimisme béat. « Les bateaux mauriciens sont plus affûtés que nous et ils connaissent parfaitement leur plan d'eau. Toutefois, cela ne veut pas dire que nous ne venons pas pour gagner. »
Reste que la nature pourrait jouer les trouble-fête en raison d'une absence de vent. Ce qui pourrait compliquer la tâche des différents équipages.       

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California Chrome, Arrogate head Breeders' entries

California Chrome, North America's all-time leading money earner, and Travers Stakes winner Arrogate headed an impressive list of 14 pre-entries announced on Wednesday for next week's Breeders' Cup Classic.

California Chrome, winner of the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes in 2014, is unbeaten this year after romping to victory in all six races in dominant fashion, including the Dubai World Cup on March 26.

Santa Anita Derby champion in 2014, 'Chrome' has accumulated career earnings of $13.4 million and is expected to start the $6 million Breeders' Cup Classic at iconic Santa Anita Park in Arcadia on Nov. 5 as favorite to win.

A formidable challenge to California Chrome should come from the late-developing 3-year-old Arrogate, who stormed to victory by a staggering 13 1/2 lengths in the Travers Stakes at Saratoga in August after setting a track record.

With Hall of Fame jockey Mike Smith on board, Arrogate will also offer Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert a shot at a third consecutive triumph at the Breeders' Cup Classic.

Baffert saddled 2014 champion Bayern at Santa Anita and last year's winner at Keeneland, American Pharoah.

Other runners of note in the 2016 Classic will be Kentucky Derby winner Nyquist, Irish raider Found and Godolphin's Frosted, who earned a coveted berth at Santa Anita with victory at Saratoga's 'Win and You're In' Whitney in August.

"We are once again privileged to host the all-stars of thoroughbred racing and are very pleased with the overall strength of our pre-entered fields," Breeders' Cup president and CEO Craig Fravel said in a statement.

"It is a tribute to the Breeders' Cup and we are looking forward to watching stars like California Chrome, Found, Tepin, Songbird and Beholder."

The Breeders' Cup, to be staged at Santa Anita for a record ninth time from Nov. 4-5, is a two-day event which is billed as the world championships of thoroughbred racing.

Found leads home Arc one-two-three for O'Brien

FOUND, so often the bridesmaid this season, enjoyed her finest hour as she led home an Aidan O'Brien-trained one-two-three in the Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe.Runner-up in the Tattersalls Gold Cup, Coronation Cup, Prince of Wales's, Yorkshire Oaks and Irish Champion Stakes on her last five starts, the 2014 Prix Marcel-Boussac winner got her head in front when it mattered most.

And she did it with style, bursting between horses under Ryan Moore to power clear of stablemate and King George winner Highland Reel, with Gold Cup hero Order Of St George claiming third. Siljan's Saga was the first horse not sired by Galileo to cross the line in fourth.

Settled in midfield, off a far stronger pace than is sometimes the case in the Arc, Moore negotiated the perfect path round the inner on the long home bend, before angling out and threading the four-year-old filly through the narrowest of gaps between Order Of St George and Postponed. Once through the pair then flew past the fading pacesetter Vedevani as Found powered to her crowning glory.

Last year she finished second in four Group 1s, before turning over the Derby, Eclipse, Irish Champion and Arc hero Golden Horn in the Breeders' Cup Turf. This time she claimed Europe's richest race for herself, at odds of 6-1, to take her tally of Group 1 victories to three and earn quotes of 6-4 with William Hill for the defence of her Breeders' Cup Turf crown.For O'Brien it was a remarkable achievement. To saddle the first three home, from three runners, in Europe's premier middle-distance race must rank among the finest achievements of an unparalleled career. It was also his 18th Group/Grade 1 winner on the Flat worldwide in 2016.

"It's unbelievable," said O'Brien, who labelled it the greatest training feat of his illustrious career. "I can't describe it. You couldn't even dream of that. How could you say anything is higher than this? It is the most difficult race. For that to happen it is incredible. Ryan gave her a brilliant ride.

"I am so delighted for everyone. We were worried about the ground for Order Of St George but happy with the other two. It's a massive team effort and I'm so privileged to be part of it and they were all by Galileo."

Part-owner Michael Tabor, in whose colours Found ran, said: "First, second and third in the Arc is unbelievable. Words can't describe it. This is the time of the year for Found so we knew we had a chance in the Arc."Favourite Postponed, who had won his last six starts including four Group 1s, travelled well for Andrea Atzeni in a prominent position but failed to pick up in the straight, finishing fifth.

"That's racing, we'll take it on the chin," said trainer Roger Varian. "Andrea said he broke well but was trapped wide early on. He said he went into the big bend on the bottom on the wrong lead and took a while to switch on to the right lead. He didn't pick up the way he usually can in the straight."

Dermot Weld's dual Derby winner Harzand finished ninth, with Japan's great hope Makahiki 14th having been trapped wide throughout.

Kevin Ryan's The Grey Gatsby, who won the 2014 edition of the Prix du Jockey Club at Chantilly, finished last and the trainer said: "That was very disappointing. He travelled good and was in a lovely position but it  wasn't his day. He just didn't fire up the straight."


Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe: La Cressonniere pulled out of race

La Cressonniere will not run in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe next weekend.

Trainer Jean-Claude Rouget said the winner of the French versions of the 1,000 Guineas and Oaks, who was second favourite for the Arc, has a "problem".

"We don't know exactly what it is," he said. "She has to have an examination. The problem is towards the back."

Only Roger Varian's Postponed was ahead of her in the ante-post market for the race at Chantilly, which is run over one-and-a-half miles.

The traditional venue, Longchamp racecourse in Paris, is being renovated and will re-open in September 2017.This is a considerable blow to this year's staging of the Arc. La Cressonniere was amongst a relatively small number of major players, having emerged as one of the outstanding fillies in Europe with wins in the French equivalent of Britain's 1,000 Guineas and Oaks Classic-races.

Her prospects of success seemed to be further boosted by the much-quoted stat that four of the last five stagings of European flat racing's greatest prize were won by female horses. On a brighter note, La Cressonniere's absence would appear to make the task facing British-trained favourite Postponed that much easier.



Parachute Man a ébloui le Champ de Mars avec sa formidable victoire dans le Maiden 2016. Son jockey, Rye Joorawon vainqueur avec Man To Man en 2014, récidive une nouvelle fois. Comme attendu, Vettel (S. Rama) s’est rapidement porté en tête de la course avec Parachute Man qui le suivait comme son ombre. A 400m du but, le coursier de l’écurie Maingard est passé à l’offensive, laissant sur place ses adversaires. Le vaillant Bulsara (B. Kennedy) a terminé fort pour prendre la deuxième place devant son compagnon d’écurie Bouclette Top (J.P Guillambert) et Diamond Light (B. Bhaugeerothee).

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