Global Weekly Preview - 15.07.16
The appearance of Australian recruitment agent Leigh Jordon on racecourses in Europe is a reminder that some of the world's biggest prizes are up for grabs again later in the year.
Jordon, who represents the leading race clubs in Melbourne, comes every summer, seeking out suitable horses to contest big races such as the G1 Caulfield and G1 Melbourne Cups, as well as the G1 Cox Plate and many lower profile races.
Mention of the Melbourne Cup is timely as one of the rising staying stars to contest the iconic race, Trip To Paris, is scheduled to return to racing this Saturday following an absence of 230 days, in the Listed Steventon Stakes, over a mile and a quarter, at Newbury.
Trip To Paris, a G1 Ascot Gold Cup winner, finished second in last year's G1 Caulfield Cup and fourth in the G1 Melbourne Cup, prior to his 14th in the G1 Japan Cup.
A nagging tendon injury has kept him on the sidelines since November last year. The Steventon, over a distance well short of his best, will be his first race back.
Godolphin trainer Charlie Appleby saddles one of seven rivals that Trip To Paris will face -- the talented four-year-old Scottish -- and he will look for improvement on a most promising run last time.
On his first outing for Godolphin, Scottish finished an excellent third to Time Test and Western Hymn in the G3 Brigadier Gerard Stakes, over a mile and a quarter, at Sandown (UK) on May 26. This looks a suitable follow-up race.
The John Gosden-trained GM Hopkins is officially rated 4lb below Trip to Paris and 1lb below Scottish, yet he is asked to give them both 3lb under the race conditions.
On the same interesting Newbury card, Godolphin run both the Mark Johnston-trained Buratino and the Appleby-trained Charming Thought in the G3 Hackwood Stakes, over six furlongs.
Buratino may not have liked the all-weather surface at Newcastle when seventh in the G3 Chipchase Stakes last time, and a better performance can be expected on good fast ground at Newbury this time.
There is also a Classic taking place this weekend -- Saturday's Darley G1 Irish Oaks at the Curragh. Even Song, the G2 Ribblesdale Stakes winner, sets the standard, but her most interesting rival is Ajman Princess, a daughter of Darley stallion Teofilo, who has filled second place on each of her four starts to date.