Stormy Antarctic will not be cold on the board in Saturday’s Grade 1 Ricoh Woodbine Mile. The Ed Walker trainee brings solid recent form to the $800,000 Breeders’ Cup ‘Win and You’re In’ event, including a Group 2 win in the Badener Mile at Baden-Baden on May 31; a strong second to Benbatl in the Group 1 Grosser Dallmayr in Munich on July 29; and last time out, the gelding was a determined third behind Beat The Bank and Whisky Baron in the Group 2 Ladbrokes Celebration Mile Stakes, at Goodwood.
“He ran great at Goodwood. He’s been remarkably consistent this year, really,” said Walker. “He got into the race like he was going to go on and win and just didn’t quite get there.
“I think Liam (Keniry), who rides for me a lot but was riding him for the first time, maybe thought he’d pick up better than he did but he ran a great race. He was beaten by the right horses.”
Walker will hand the reins to Gérald Mossé for Saturday’s one-turn mile over the world-famous E.P. Taylor Turf Course and the British-bred Stormy Atlantic gelding could not be in better form.
“He’s training great as always and looks fantastic. He’s a great traveler and everything is positive,” said Walker. “He’s taken everything very well this year and we’ve spaced his races out pretty well. I’m not being too greedy because I want him to last and he’s rewarding us by being very consistent.”
With six wins, six seconds and four thirds from 22 career starts, Walker is keen to see his popular chestnut breakthrough at the top flight.
“He deserves a big one. He’s been second three times now in Group 1 races. He’s a Group 2 winner, a Group 3 winner and a listed winner. You wouldn’t find a more qualified non-Group 1 winner,” said Walker. “He deserves a Group 1 and we’ve had this race in mind for a long time and think it would be absolutely ideal for him.”
Walker believes Saturday’s competitive group of turf milers, which includes fellow European raider Lord Glitters, is within reach for the well-traveled Stormy Antarctic.
“It looks wide open. I think there’s very little to separate Lord Glitters and Stormy Antarctic. I think you could run those two against each other a handful of times and keep changing the result. They’re very similar types of horses,” said Walker.
The veteran Mossé, who won the 2012 edition of the Grade 1 E.P. Taylor Stakes here at Woodbine with Siyouma, lands on a versatile horse in Stormy Antarctic for Saturday’s Grade 1 test.
“As a colt, he was quite tricky and got quite keen in his races. This year, he’s been so much more straightforward,” said Walker. “He made the running winning a Group 3 in France (Prix Edmond Blanc at Saint-Cloud) and he was held up off the pace and ran great at Goodwood last time; and same when he was second in the Group 1 in Germany. He’s now very versatile as of this year.
“It’s another reason he’s a good traveller. He doesn’t succumb to pace,” continued Walker. “If there’s no pace, he can bowl along.”
Although there is sun in the forecast for Saturday’s Ricoh Woodbine Mile, Walker wouldn’t mind if the meteorologists were off form.
“He’s got very good form on soft ground and he’s been second in a Group 1 on fast ground, so he is very versatile,” said Walker. “If the rain kept coming it would inconvenience other horses more than mine. Rain is always welcome.”
LORD GLITTERS SETS OUT TO GIVE O’MEARA ANOTHER SHINING MOMENT
Pursuing a route that has proven successful in the past for the Irish jockey-turned-trainer David O’Meara, European invader Lord Glitters is jet-setting across the Atlantic Ocean with the hopes of following in the hoofsteps of 2015 Ricoh Woodbine Mile champion Mondialiste.
Like O’Meara’s past contender Mondialiste, the stunning grey Lord Glitters will fly into Woodbine’s signature one-mile turf stakes following his first Group stakes win in the Sky Bet & Symphony Group Strensall over 1-1/16 miles of turf at York.
“He did it well,” said O’Meara. “He’d been running pretty well all year – ran well at Royal Ascot in the Queen Anne, ran well at Ascot again on the round track in the Summer Mile, and again at Goodwood in the Sussex Stakes – he was unlucky not to be closer that day; he got into a bit of trouble in running. He’s been in good form all year.”
Mondialiste had also entered his initial Woodbine Mile start off a winning performance in the Strensall and went on to finish second in the Breeders’ Cup Mile behind Tepin, then won the Arlington Million the following year. He turned in a fourth-place finish behind World Approval in his attempt at a Woodbine Mile double last year and now stands at owners Geoff and Sandra Turnbull’s Elwick Stud in the North of England.
“It’s a road we’ve taken before and I was looking for somewhere to run him between now and Ascot on Champions Day and this race fits well,” said O’Meara of his decision to send Lord Glitters to the $800,000 Grade 1 Ricoh Woodbine Mile, a Breeder’s Cup ‘Win And You’re In’ event. “It was either here or take him to Ireland, and the money in Canada is better.”
The five-year-old Whipper-Lady Glitters gelding has been a model of consistency finishing no worse than third while competing in Great Britain stakes action over the past two years. Lifetime, he sports a record reading 6-8-1 from 17 starts with more than $800,000 in purse earnings.
“Look, he’s just very good,” said O’Meara. “He’s a got a huge engine in him. He’s well able to quicken up in his races. He’s got a really, really good turn of foot.”
Jamie Spencer, who won the 2014 Woodbine Mile in rein to Trade Storm, will pick up the mount. He was aboard the French-bred gelding for his close runner-up efforts at Ascot this year in the aforementioned Group 1 Queen Anne Stakes and Group 2 Summer Mile.
HAWBILL AND LA PELOSA ADJUSTING WELL TO NEW SURROUNDINGS
Hawkbill, who checked in last Saturday night for the Grade 1 Northern Dancer Turf, cantered around the Tapeta surface for the second straight day on Tuesday morning.
“He travels well,” said Daragh O’Donohue, who is visiting Canada for the first time as an exercise rider for the Godolphin outfit but has competed in most other parts of the racing world during his 18-year career as a jockey.
“He’s working really well; he’s very strong.”
Hawkbill, pipped on the post last year by the Woodbine-based Johnny Bear in the Grade 1 Northern Dancer, will be seeking to atone for that defeat as the odds-on choice in Saturday’s $300,000 renewal at 1-1/2 miles.
Sophie Chretien, an assistant head lass to trainer Charlie Appleby, has been Hawkbill’s regular traveling companion.
La Pelosa, here to contest Sunday’s Natalma Stakes for Godolphin, appears to have had no trouble adjusting to her new surroundings and also cantered on the Tapeta for the second straight morning.
“She’s handling everything very well,” said O’Donohue. “She’s been like an older horse.”
The Natalma, a one-mile turf race for two-year-old fillies, offers Grade 1 status plus a purse of $250,000 and is a ‘Win And You’re In’ race for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf at Churchill Downs this November.
2MINUTES2POST TO HOST WAGERING SEMINAR ON MILE DAY
Larry Simpson and his team from 2minutes2post will be hosting a seminar in the 3rd floor nook at Woodbine Racetrack on Saturday, Sept. 15 from 12 noon to 1 p.m. Licensed and powered by Equibase, 2minutes2post is a Racehorse Management System, available on the App Store and Google Play, that predicts the winning horses across all thoroughbred racetracks in North America.
EARLY LOOK AT THE GRADE 1 RICOH WOODBINE MILE (8)
Horse / Owner / Trainer / Jockey
Delta Prince / Stronach Stables / James Jerkens / Javier Castellano
Divisidero / Gunpowder Farms LLC / Kelly Rubley / Jevian Toledo
Good Samaritan / WinStar Farm LLC, China Horse Club International, SF Racing LLC, Head of Plains Partners LLC / Bill Mott / Joel Rosario
La Sardane / Team Valor International / Neil Drysdale / Rafael Bejarano
Lord Glitters / Geoff & Sandra Turnbull / David O’Meara / Jamie Spencer
Mr Havercamp / Sean & Dorothy Fitzhenry / Catherine Day Phillips / Eurico Rosa Da Silva
Stormy Antarctic / Mr. P K Siu / E.C.D Walker / Gérald Mossé
Vanish / Eight Star Racing Stables Inc. / Vito Armata / Ademar Santos