Stakes success in Italy, a dominant win in Singapore and narrow defeat in a G2 race in Australia over the last 72 hours has the China Horse Club’s (CHC) international racing team on song ahead of arguably the most significant racing engagement of their short history.
The CHC’s colt, Australia, remains a clear favourite for the time honoured G1 £1.35 million Derby (2400m), Great Britain’s most famous race and one of the world’s most iconic events. And while the club’s international racing team falls under the watch of different trainers in different countries the surge of form in recent days has spirits buoyed.
On Saturday the CHC’s Olympic Anthem and Jazz Song were driven to the line in the G2 $A350,000 Queensland Guineas (1400m) in Brisbane, Australia. The duo was among a five horse ‘blanket finish’ for the lucrative event and were unfortunately shaded on the line to finish fourth and fifth respectively in a brilliantly exciting finish.
Later that day at Paris’ Longchamp racecourse, the talented filly Jiayuguan zeroed in at the finishing post from well back in the field and collared all but one of her rivals. It is the third time in only four career starts that the chestnut has produced a devastating burst from well back in the field to run second. Her time is not far away.
The disappointment of those near misses was quickly forgotten as Arrowhead and then Ming Zhi Cosmos produced dominant displays in Singapore and Italy respectively. The Michael Freedman trained Arrowhead posted his second successive win and by far his most signiciant to date when dictating terms at Kranji over 1200m and skipping clear at the corner to win by four-and-a-half lengths. The powerfully built gelding has taken some time to acclimatize to Singapore’s warmer conditions but has hit his straps and is repaying the patience of members.
Ming Zhi Cosmos, already a three time winner in France, secured some valuable stakes success when scoring in the Listed Prix Nogara (1400m) at Milan. Trainer Nicolas Clement has Ming Zhi Cosmos racing in a rich vein of form and the overnight success is most deserved. Ming Zhi Cosmos has a record of nine starts, four wins and three placings and there is every reason to believe her run can continue.
Ming Zhi Cosmos
“When you have racing stables around the world disappointment can quickly be replaced with great joy,” said Mr Teo Ah Khing, CHC’s Chairman.
“Every one of our horses goes out to win. We have a duty of care to ensure each and every one of our members is given every chance to win races. Not every thoroughbred will win every race but that is certainly our goal.”
“We have had a very good weekend. It was nearly an exceptional weekend with both Olympic Anthem and Jazz Song in the G2 Queensland Guineas and Jiayuguan at Longchamp not beaten far. Credit must be given to both Michael and Nicolas for their success once again with Arrowhead and Ming Zhi Cosmos respectively. Hopefully this vein of form continues with Australia in the Derby, the feedback from (trainer) Aidan O’Brien is positive and that is encouraging.”
Australia’s return to racing in the G1 English 2000 Guineas was indeed eye-catching. The field for the time-honoured event split into two not long after starting and Australia clearly accounted for his peers on his side on the 1600m straight race.
In his last two career starts Australia has won a G3 race by an effortless six lengths and finished a game third in the Guineas. Suggestions are that he has improved from that performance heading into the Derby in what will be his greatest test to date.
The Derby is run over a mile and a half (approximately 2400m) at Epsom racecourse, a testing venue but one most appropriate in helping determine who is the best colt of each generation. The Derby will be held in Britain this weekend.