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Saturday, July 4, 2009


MOST INTERNATIONAL DARLEY JULY CUP AT NEWMARKET ON FRIDAY



This year’s £400,000 Darley July Cup (3.10pm) is set to be a truly international contest, with leading sprinters from five countries among the 14 acceptors remaining after today’s six-day confirmation stage for the Group One sprint at Newmarket’s July Course.


The top six-furlong contest, the third and final British leg of the Global Sprint Challenge, is highlight of the last day of Newmarket’s three-day Champagne Lanson July Festival - Wednesday, July 8, to Friday, July 10.

After storming to a sensational victory over the minimum trip in the Group One King’s Stand Stakes on his British debut at Royal Ascot on June 16, Australian superstar Scenic Blast will make the step up to six furlongs on the July course.

The Dan Morton-trained five-year-old has previously triumphed over the same trip in the Group One Crown Newmarket Handicap at Flemington, Australia, in March and will be bidding for a third Global Sprint Challenge victory following his successes at Royal Ascot and in the five-furlong Lightning Stakes at Flemington in January.

The Australian presence will be further enhanced by veteran sprinter Takeover Target, who is set to make his second appearance in the Darley July Cup, having been seventh behind Les Arcs in 2006.

The evergreen 10-year-old, who notched his seventh Group One success with victory in the Goodwood Handicap at Morphettville, Australia, in May, was forced to miss the Golden Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot because a high temperature, but is reported to be in rude health by his trainer Joe Janiak following two racecourse gallops with Scenic Blast on the July Course.


Last season’s top South African sprinter, J J The Jet Plane, will also bid to take the prize for the southern hemisphere. Trained by Mike de Kock, the five-year-old landed three Grade One victories in his native country and was an impressive winner of a Listed contest at Windsor on his British debut in May prior to coming fourth in the Group One Golden Jubilee Stakes.


After saddling Anabaa to victory in 1996, Chantilly-based Criquette-Head Maarek is bidding for a second Darley July Cup success with the talented filly African Rose, who landed the Group One Ladbrokes Sprint Cup at Doncaster last season.

Duff, trained by Edward Lynam, is the Irish representative and he finished eighth to Art Connoisseur in the Golden Jubilee Stakes after having every chance two furlongs out.


The home challenge is set to be headed by Art Connoisseur, from the stable of Michael Bell. The three-year-old colt announced himself on the sprinting scene with a superb victory in the Golden Jubilee Stakes, beating Darley July Cup hopefuls including King’s Apostle and Intrepid Jack as well as J J The Jet Plane and Duff.


The Richard Hannon-trained Paco Boy may also bid to follow up success at Royal Ascot having won over a mile in the Group One Queen Anne Stakes, while Group Three scorer Main Aim, from the yard of Sir Michael Stoute, could also drop down in trip after coming fourth in the same race.

Fleeting Spirit was the only one to give Scenic Blast a race in the King’s Stand Stakes, getting within three quarters of a length in second, while Equiano came eighth in the same race.

Prime Defender and Ancien Regime finished fifth and sixth to African Rose in last year’s Ladbrokes Sprint Club.


Prime Defender, after winning the Listed Cammidge Trophy at Doncaster in March, ran in the KrisFlyer International Sprint in Singapore in May but came home last of 13.

Ancien Regime made his Godolphin and seasonal debut when second in the Group Three Chipcase Stakes at Newcastle last month.


Stephen Wallis, Managing Director of Newmarket Racecourses., said today: “This is a tremendous potential line-up for the Darley July Cup - the Ashes are not going to be over in Wales, they are going to be in the east of England at Newmarket!”

A total of 17 juveniles have been declared for the seven-furlong £80,000 Group Two Meydan Superlative Stakes (2pm), including Royal Ascot winner Big Audio, who scored in the Chesham Stakes and the Aidan O’Brien-trained Beethoven who was fourth in the same race.


This year’s £100,000 Ladbrokes Bunbury Cup (2.35pm) looks set to be another thrilling renewal, with 38 horses entered for the seven-furlong heritage handicap. The weights are likely to be headed by Laa Rayb from Mark Johnston’s Yorkshire yard.


Friday’s action starts with the equally competitive £40,000 Premier Travel Handicap (1.30pm, 36 entries) and the seven-race card also includes the £15,000 NGK Spark Plugs EBF Fillies’ Maiden (3.45pm, 21 entries), the £20,000 Weatherbys Nursery Handicap (4.20pm, 25 entries), and the £15,000 Egerton House Stables Handicap (4.55pm, 33 entries).

GROUND

The going at Newmarket is currently Good To Firm and six millimetres of water is being applied to the July Course today. Further watering will take place as necessary.


The forecast for today and tomorrow is for mainly dry weather with sunny spells. There are light showers forecast on Monday and Tuesday, with three to four millimetres due to fall each day. The weather for the rest of the week - during the Champagne Lanson July Festival - is forecast to be dry.

THE DARLEY JULY CUP


Third British Leg of the Global Sprint Challenge, Class 1, Group 1, £400,000 Total Prize Fund. Six furlongs. For three-year-olds and upwards. Newmarket, Friday, July 10, 2009. Entries closed, May 5, entries revealed, May 6 (69 entries). Scratchings deadline, Tuesday, June 16 (43 remained). Six-day confirmation & £30,000 supplementary entry stage Saturday, July 4 (14 go forward). Final declaration stage 10.00am, Wednesday, July 8. Form figures supplied by Weatherbys and are correct up to and including the racing of Friday, July 3. May not include some overseas form.


Form Horse Age Owner Trainer
14210-4 AFRICAN ROSE 4 Khalid Abdulla Criquette Head-Maarek FR
2/61316-2 ANCIEN REGIME (IRE) 4 Godolphin Saeed bin Suroor
11120-01 ART CONNOISSEUR (IRE) 3 Richard Green, Michael Bell Racing Michael Bell
06(1)(1)-(2)010 DUFF (IRE) 6 Kilboy Estate Edward Lynam IRE
140-2000 EQUIANO (FR) 4 James Acheson Barry Hills
12/1354-2 FLEETING SPIRIT (IRE) 4 The Searchers Jeremy Noseda
00-40020 INTREPID JACK 7 Michael Lynch Hughie Morrison
111-(6)114 J J THE JET PLANE (SAF) 5 C Strydom, H Du Preez, “Lucky” Houdalakis, T Boyens Mike de Kock SAF
0201-020 KING'S APOSTLE (IRE) 5 Bernard Kantor William Haggas
3100-114 MAIN AIM 4 Khalid Abdulla Sir Michael Stoute
1D1-0141 PACO BOY (IRE) 4 The Calvera Partnership No 2 Richard Hannon
0546-10 PRIME DEFENDER 5 S Falle, M Franklin, J Sumsion Barry Hills
110-1511 SCENIC BLAST (AUS) 5 Elio Anthony Galante & Partners Dan Morton AUS
411-110 TAKEOVER TARGET (AUS) 10 Joe & Ben Janiak Joe Janiak AUS

14 entries confirmed at six-day declaration stage
2 Australian-trained
1 Irish-trained
1 French-trained
1 South African-trained

ART CONNOISSEUR (IRE) FACTFILE


3 b c Lucky Story (USA) - Withorwithoutyou (IRE) (Danehill (USA)
Form: 11128-71 Owner: Richard Green & Michael Bell Racing
Trainer: Michael Bell Breeder: Denis McDonnell Jockey: Jamie Spencer

Art Connoisseur
Bred at Denis McDonnell's Parkway Farm in Co Cork, Art Connoisseur was sold for 55,000 guineas to bloodstock agent Luke Lillingston at the 2007 Tattersalls October Yearling Sale. The Lucky Story colt made an eye-catching debut in a five-furlong maiden at Leicester at the beginning of April, 2008, when he was pushed out to record a comfortable three and a quarter-length success. After another easy victory over the minimum trip, this time in a conditions race at Newmarket's Craven meeting, Art Connoisseur was given a two-month break prior to lining up in the Group Two Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot. Thriving on the step up six furlongs, he showed a stunning turn of foot to record a superb two and a quarter-length victory over subsequent Group One Darley Dewhurst victor Intense Focus, propelling him to the head of the market for the following season's Stan James-sponsored 2000 Guineas. Sent to the Curragh at the end of July for the first juvenile Group One contest of the European season, the six-furlong Phoenix Stakes, Art Connoisseur lost his unbeaten tag as he couldn't live with the pace of Mastercraftsman in the final furlong and came home second, four and a half lengths behind the Aidan O'Brien-trained colt. On his next appearance in the Group Two Gimcrack Stakes, run at Newbury following the abandonment of York's Ebor meeting, Art Connoisseur cracked a cannon bone when eighth behind Shaweel, bringing his juvenile campaign to an abrupt end. He began this season with a return to Newmarket's Craven meeting with connections hoping that he might prove his Classic credentials in the Betterbet European Free Handicap. Carrying top-weight in the seven-furlong Listed contest, Art Connoisseur pulled hard at the back of the field and was squeezed for room approaching the final furlong, coming home seventh behind Ouqba. After seeming not to stay seven furlongs, Art Connoisseur was given a break prior to another tilt at Royal Ascot, with trainer Michael Bell anxious not to race his colt under a penalty for his juvenile Group Two success. Lining up against some of the world's top sprinters in the six-furlong Group One Golden Jubilee Stakes, Art Connoisseur was held up towards the rear by Tom Queally, deputising for the suspended Jamie Spencer. The pair came with a storming run down that stands' side to lead at the furlong pole, holding off the late challenge of the US challenger Cannonball to prevail by a neck. A month before the race, Art Connoisseur popped a splint and his preparation was restricted to two weeks of swimming and three bits of work. Bell and joint owner Richard Green, a London-based art dealer, turned down a big offer for the colt after he won the the Coventry Stakes last year.

Race Record: Starts: 7; Wins: 4; 2nd: 1; 3rd: -; Win and Place prize money: £385,999

Richard Green & Michael Bell Racing
Richard Green is one Britain’s leading art dealers, with three galleries situated in Central London that sell a variety of different paintings ranging from the 17th century Dutch masters through to the Impressionists and modern British artists. The company also deals extensively in sporting and equine art, including pieces by George Stubbs and Sir Alfred Munnings. Green originally worked for his father’s art business after leaving school aged 15 before deciding to set up on his own just three years later. He enjoyed considerable success and in 1998 he purchased Lord Nelson’s former home, opposite the auction house Sotherby’s in New Bond Street, turning it into his flagship art gallery. He also gave his name to a room in the National Gallery the following year. Green has kept his business in the family, with his brother John, sister Penny Marks, and sons, Jonathan, David and Matthew all working for him. Matthew is also a keen racehorse owner and enjoyed notable success with Group One St James’s Palace Stakes winner Excellent Art, whom Green sold partly to the Coolmore operation. While Art Connoisseur’s success in the Golden Jubilee Stakes has been the biggest win so far for Richard, he has also seen his colours carried to victory by the Gary Moore-trained pair of useful handicapper Hitchens and Pace Shot, who was also fourth in the Triumph Hurdle at the 2006 Cheltenham Festival and the 2000 Lincoln winner John Ferneley. He has also enjoyed success over hurdles, including with Rob Leach, successful in the valuable William Hill Handicap Hurdle at Sandown in 2001.

No previous Darley July Cup winners

Michael Bell
Michael Bell was born in Bristol on October 10, 1960 and attended Stowe School. He caught the racing bug at an early age and spent part of one holiday working for trainer Henry Candy, with whom his parents had horses. Upon leaving school, he prepared yearlings at the Haras d'Etreham in Normandy and then spent three years in the Life Guards, during which time he began riding in races as an amateur. He won five races in all, the highlight being a victory aboard Ten Cherries at Sandown's Grand Military meeting. After the army, Bell spent two and a half years as assistant trainer to Mercy Rimell and three years in the same role with Paul Cole. In 1988, his final season with Cole, Pass The Peace won the Group One Cheveley Park Stakes at Newmarket for the yard. The Alzao filly, who had cost just 9,500 guineas as a yearling, carried the colours of Bell's father, Brian. The 1989 season marked a new chapter in Bell's life as he joined the training ranks himself. Fittingly, Pass The Peace provided him with his first triumph as a fully licensed trainer when winning the Fred Darling Stakes at Newbury on April 14. The filly finished a close fifth to Musical Bliss in the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket before finding only Pearl Bracelet too good in the Poule d'Essai des Pouliches at Longchamp. Bell enjoyed a first Classic victory when Ancestral Dancer won the Italian 1,000 Guineas in 1993 and major success followed in 1994 when Hoh Magic won the Group One Prix Morny at Deauville and Princely Hush captured the Group Two Mill Reef Stakes. Bell annexed another Italian Classic in 2001 when Zanzibar prevailed in the Oaks d'Italia. Bell's Fitzroy House Stables in Newmarket continued to enjoy a steady stream of success in the early part of this decade. The 2002 Richmond Stakes at Goodwood fell to Revenue, while Nevisian Lad landed the 2003 TNT July Stakes at Newmarket. However, his biggest success of all was to follow. In 2004, Bell had in his care a two-year-old of immense potential, owned by the Royal Ascot Racing Club and named Motivator. The Montjeu colt made his debut at Newmarket that August and trotted up by six lengths. He won the Group One Racing Post Trophy next time out and made a winning three-year-old debut in the Group Two Dante Stakes at York. Sent off the 3/1 favourite for the Derby at Epsom, Motivator provided Bell with his greatest training triumph to date when storming to victory by five lengths. The following year, Red Evie highlighted the trainer's skills as she recorded a magnificent seven-timer for the stable, graduating from a Yarmouth maiden to the Group One Matron Stakes at Leopardstown. She also won the 2007 Group One Lockinge Stakes at Newbury. Bell is enjoying another fantastic season in 2009, thanks to the Pivotal filly Sariska, who gave her trainer a second English Classic victory when winning the Oaks at Epsom. Royal Ascot also proved a happy hunting ground as Moneycantbuymelove won the Sandringham Handicap and Art Connoisseur swept aside a field of international sprinting stars to capture the Group One Golden Jubilee Stakes. Art Connoisseur had been the stable's star in 2008 with a fantastic victory in the Group Two Coventry Stakes at that year's Royal Meeting. Bell currently has over 100 horses in training for some distinguished owners including the Queen.

Darley July Cup Record: 1995-3 Hoh Magic 20/1

Jamie Spencer
Jamie Spencer sprang to prominence in 1998 when he won the Irish 1,000 Guineas on the Tommy Stack-trained Tarascon at the age of 17. He was apprenticed to Liam Browne at the time, a trainer through whose hands the likes of Mick Kinane, Mark Dwyer, Tommy Carmody and Stephen Craine had also passed. Spencer was born on June 8, 1980, in Co Tipperary. His father, George, sent out the one-eyed Winning Fair to win the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham in 1963, but passed away when his son was only 12. Spencer was always more keen on riding than his studies when boarding at Kilkenny College and was best friends with James 'Fozzy' Stack, whose father Tommy trained Tarascon. Seemingly destined to be a jockey, he rode his first winner on Huncheon Chance for Ian Ferguson at Downpatrick on May 11, 1996. Spencer was brought over to Britain by the Stack family friend, Barney Curley, to ride Magic Combination to win over hurdles at Kempton in January, 1999, but soon concentrated on the Flat. He began a two-year contract with Luca Cumani in 2002, winning that season's Singapore Cup on Endless Hall and the Irish 1,000 Guineas on Gossamer. Having been used as a second-string rider by both Godolphin and Aidan O'Brien, he was signed up by the Coolmore team to replace Mick Kinane as number one jockey in 2004, having won the 2003 St Leger for Ballydoyle on Brian Boru. A relatively disappointing season ensued for the stable and, despite Group One victories aboard Ad Valorem, Powerscourt and Oratorio, Spencer handed in his notice at Ballydoyle in February, 2005. Having married television presenter Emma Ramsden that same month, he enjoyed a wonderful season as a freelance in England, being crowned champion jockey and enjoying Group One victories on the likes of David Junior and Goodricke. In 2006, he finished runner-up to Ryan Moore in the jockeys' championship and enjoyed further success on David Junior in the Coral-Eclipse, while in 2007 he shared the jockeys' title with Seb Sanders after a dramatic battle, which went down to the final day of the season at Doncaster. His highlights in 2008 included winning the Group One Racing Post Trophy aboard Crowded House and the Group Two Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot on the Michael Bell-trained Art Connoisseur. His association with Bell has brought a fruitful yield in 2009, the highlight so far being the Oaks triumph of Sariska, Spencer's second English Classic success. He has also enjoyed Royal Ascot victories this term on Moneycantbuymelove in the Sandringham Handicap for Bell, as well as astride the Brian Meehan-trained Radiohead in the Group Two Norfolk Stakes. Spencer has also experienced the thrill of victory at the Cheltenham Festival. The Spencer family home was a farm next to Edward O'Grady's Ballynonty stable, so there was a special poignancy when he survived a stewards' enquiry to take the 2002 Weatherbys Champion Bumper at Cheltenham on the trainer's Pizarro.

Darley July Cup record: 2001-10 Freud 16/1, 2003-9 Orientor 33/1, 2004-7 Antonius Pius 5/1, 2005-4 Soldier's Tale 4/1JF, 2008-13 Sir Gerry 7/1


J J THE JET PLANE (SAF) FACTFILE


5 b g Jet Master (SAF) - Majestic Guest (SAF) (Northern Guest (USA))
Form: (1)15/3011111-(6)114 Owners: Hennie Du Preez, Coenie Strydom, Thea Boyens & “Lucky” Houdalakis
Trainer: Mike De Kock SAF Breeder: Pat and Henry Devine Jockey: Kevin Shea

J J The Jet Plane
Named after an American cartoon character, J J The Jet Plane, was all the rage for the Golden Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot following an impressive four-length victory in the Listed Leisure Stakes at Windsor on June 1. That Thames-side romp over six furlongs was the gelding’s first start in Britain but he was unable to repeat that success at the Royal Meeting on June 20. After racing keenly to the lead, J J The Jet Plane was headed two furlongs out and then kept on to take fourth behind Art Connoisseur. The South African speedster notched seven victories from 10 starts in his homeland, including three at Grade One level, before competing with mixed success at the Dubai International Racing Carnival earlier this year. A 70,000 rand purchase as an under-sized, knock-kneed yearling, J J The Jet Plane entered training under the care of rookie trainer and joint-owner “Lucky” Houdalakis. The gelding landed a debut triumph over six furlongs on sand at Vaal racecourse in October, 2007, winning by six lengths. Houdalakis successfully stepped his charge up to Grade Three company for the seven-furlong Graham Beck Stakes at Turffontein on November 3, but defeat followed at the same course in the Grade Two Dingaans on November 24. Sent over nine furlongs in the Listed Sea Cottage Stakes on January 6, 2008, J J The Jet Plane was well-beaten in third behind odds-on favourite Eddington and he suffered another heavy loss at Turffontein in the Grade Two Gauteng Guineas on March 1, when he could only finish 10th in the mile contest. Returned to six furlongs on March 24, the three-year-old (southern hemisphere) impressed with victory in the Grade Two Senor Santa Handicap on turf at Vaal. Another Grade Three triumph followed in the Man O’War Stakes at Turffontein on April 12. J J The Jet Plane proceeded to rattle off a Grade One hat-trick in three of South Africa’s most prestigious sprints. After clinching the five-furlong Computaform Sprint at Turffontein on May 3, the little bay took steps towards greatness in the Golden Horse Casino Sprint at Scottsville on May 31. Carrying top-weight of 80kg, J J The Jet Plane was eased close home as he saw off older rivals by two and a quarter lengths. Following that success, reports suggested the horse would be sold, however, in June, 2008, it was revealed that Mike de Kock was to take over the training of J J The Jet Plane, who would continue under the same ownership. J J The Jet Plane clinched his latest South African victory in awesome fashion as he smashed the track record and slammed his rivals by four lengths in Clairewood’s sprinting showcase, the Mercury Sprint, on July 20. After being denied a run in the Hong Kong Sprint due to quarantine restrictions, the gelding’s first start for de Kock came in a conditions race at Nad Al Sheba, Dubai on February 12. A disappointing sixth-place behind inferior rivals ended that particular experiment on dirt and J J The Jet Plane reverted to turf for an impressive victory in the Group Three Al Quoz Sprint at the course. Bred by Pat and Henry Devine, J J The Jet Plane is by South African stallion sensation Jet Master out of the Listed winner Majestic Guest.

Race Record: Starts: 14; Wins: 9; 2nd: -; 3rd: 1 Win & Place Prize Money: £263,772

Hennie du Preez, Coenie Strydom, Thea Boyens, Nicholas Michael “Lucky” Houdalakis
Hennie du Preez is a resident of Elsburg, a town on the south east outskirts of Johannesburg. He made his money in the building industry. Du Preez went to the 2006 Emperors Palace National Two-Year-Old Sale determined to buy a horse by Jet Master. He bought J J The Jet Plane for 70,000 rand and roped in his friend Coenie Strydom, a property man, Thea Boyens, the female proprietor of the Elsburg Hotel, and trainer Lucky Houdalakis. Born on June 27, 1963, Houdalakis is a popular South African former jockey who was forced to retire in the wake of an injury sustained in 2003. He began training six horses at James Maree’s private establishment in April, 2006 and moved to the Vaal racecourse in December, 2007. The yard now numbers in excess of 60 inmates. He resides with his wife Natalie in the town of Three Rivers, not far from his training base, which is about 30 miles south of Johannesburg. He got hooked watching horseracing as a boy and became apprenticed to Dave Bullock upon leaving school at 14. As a jockey, Houdalakis enjoyed success in his homeland. He also spent three seasons in Macau, during which time he was never out of the top eight. His highlights in the saddle include victory aboard Legality in the Grade One Empress Club Stakes (15/02/2003). He sent out his first winner, Mans Mood, on July 31, 2006. As well as training J J The Jet Plane to three Grade One triumphs, he prepared Supper Club to win the Grade Two Debutante Stakes in June, 2007.
No previous Darley July Cup winners

Mike de Kock
Raised within a stone’s throw of Newmarket racecourse in South Africa, Mike de Kock, who was born on February 13, 1964, has been watching horseracing since his youth. In 1981, he was drafted into the Equestrian Unit of the South African defence force and became a riding instructor. After starting out in racing as assistant trainer to Ormond Ferraris, he moved on to Robbie Sage and finally Ricky Howard-Ginsberg. He took over Howard-Ginsberg’s stable upon the trainer’s death in 1989. De Kock was only 25 at the time but within months he had saddled the filly Evening Mist to win the Grade One Administrator’s Champion Stakes. He gained wider fame as the trainer of South African Triple Crown winner Horse Chestnut, widely considered the greatest South African champion. With his main base at Randtjiesfontein near Johannesburg and a satellite yard near Durban, de Kock has been champion trainer in his homeland three times, the first of those titles coming in the 1998/99 season. He has won a host of his country’s top prizes, including the Durban July, J & B Met, Summer Cup, South African Derby, Cape Argus Guineas, South African Filllies Guineas and South African Fillies Classic. He first made a splash internationally on Dubai World Cup night in 2003 as Ipi Tombe landed the Dubai Duty Free and Victory Moon took the UAE Derby. He has been the leading international trainer at the Dubai Racing Carnival every year since its inception in 2004. Major victories at Nad Al Sheba have come thick and fast thanks to the exploits of stable stars Grand Emporium, Right Approach, Sun Classique, Asiatic Boy and Archipenko. In 2008, De Kock trained the last-named to win the Group One Audemar Piguet QEII Cup in Hong Kong, the Group Two Summer Mile at Ascot and to finish second in the Grade One Arlington Million in the US, while Eagle Mountain took the Group One Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Cup. In recent seasons, he has based a select string of horses in Newmarket, England, for a northern hemisphere summer campaign. De Kock saddled Imbongi to win the Group Three Criterion Stakes at Newmarket on June 27. He is married to Diane and has two children.

Darley July Cup record: 2007-11 Drayton 33/1

Kevin Shea
South African Kevin Shea began riding out when he was 13, and joined the Summerveld stable of David Payne after completing his apprenticeship in 1982. He enjoyed a highly successful 18 years with the trainer but it wasn’t until he linked up with Mike de Kock in 2000 that he shot to international prominence. The pair teamed up with Ingleside, who landed the Summer Cup in 2001, and also took the 2002 Vodacom July Handicap with Ipi Tombe, who was the first filly in 50 years to triumph in the Grade One feature, helping Shea to his first jockey’s championship. Ipi Tombe went on to give Shea and de Kock further glory in the 2003 Dubai Duty Free as the trainer began to dominate the Dubai International Racing Carnival. Shea’s other major Nad Al Sheba successes include four winners of the Dubai City Of Gold Stakes, victory in the Dubai Sheema Classic with Sun Classique in 2008. Further international success has followed with several other Mike de Kock-trained horses, headed by Coolmore cast-offs Eagle Mountain, who landed the Cathay Pacific Hong Kong Mile in 2008, and Archipenko, who triumphed in the Audemars Piguet QEII Cup in the same year. The latter went on to give Shea a first major success in the UK when taking the Group Two Plymouth Gin Summer Mile at Ascot in July, 2008, and was second in the Grade One Arlington Million the following month. He has ridden three winners in Britain so far this summer (all at Newmarket), including a double on June 27 when Imbongi won the Group Three Criterion Stakes for De Kock and the Clive Brittain-trained Jira landed the Listed Sunley Empress Stakes. Shea is married to Kim and counts himself as a fanatical Manchester United supporter, with a tattoo declaring his love for the Red Devils.

No previous Darley July Cup rides

SCENIC BLAST (AUS)


5 b/br g Scenic - Daughter’s Charm (AUS) (Delgado (USA))

Form: 122112623/3110-21511 Owner: Elio Anthony Galante & Partners
Trainer: Daniel Morton AUS Breeder: Durham Lodge Thoroughbred Stud
Jockey: Steven Arnold

Scenic Blast
A son of Scenic, who dead-heated in the 1988 Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket, England, Scenic Blast has emerged as one of Australia’s leading sprinters over the past two seasons. He was sold for AUS $85,000 as a yearling at the WA Magic Millions sale. His first season included victories in Listed company at Ascot (Australia) and in a Grade Three contest at Caulfield, both coming over six furlongs, while he also scored over five furlongs at Belmont Park (Perth) in handicap company. He also ran extremely well in defeat on two occasions, both in Group One company, when taking the runner-up spot behind Weekend Hustler in the Caulfield Guineas and third behind the same horse in the Coolmore Stud Stakes. Last year saw Scenic Blast win two of his four starts, with both victories coming in handicap company at Ascot and Caulfield. He disappointed at the end of 2008 when stepped back up to Pattern company in the Group Two Memsie Stakes at Caulfield in August, but this poor run was attributed to a wind problem and the horse was subsequently operated on. The operation certainly proved the key to Scenic Blast this year. After finishing second over five furlongs in a handicap at Ascot in January, he caused something of an upset when landing the first leg of the Global Sprint Challenge 2009, the Group One Coolmore Lightning Stakes over five furlongs, at Flemington on January 31. In that contest he had the likes of Weekend Hustler and Apache Cat in arrears. Next time out on February 21, he finished fifth behind Swiss Ace in the Oakleigh Plate at Caulfield before getting the better of that rival by a head when successful, coming with a breathtaking last-to-first run, in the 22-runner Group One Newmarket Handicap (colloquially known as the “Sprinters Melbourne Cup”) over six furlongs at Flemington on March 7. The horse has been stabled with Peter Chapple-Hyam during his stay in England, which has already included a stunning victory at Royal Ascot. The powerful gelding travelled supremely well through the first half-mile of the Group One King’s Stand Stakes before unleashing a devastating burst of acceleration that took him to the lead at the furlong pole. Scenic Blast looked for a moment as though he would register a wide-margin victory but his lead was cut to three-quarters of a length at the line by the strong late run of the filly Fleeting Spirit, the pair clear.

Race Record: Starts: 18; Wins: 8; 2nd: 5; 3rd: 2; Win & Place Prize Money: £870,569 (AUS$1,780,551)

Elio Anthony Galante & Partners
Elio Galante, who owns Scenic Blast in partnership with nine others, is managing director of Beaumonde Homes, a Perth-based house builder that specialises in the construction of quality single and two storey homes on the Perth coastal strip. His wife Jacqui is also heavily involved with the company, which was established in 1986. Galante has been in horse ownership for a number of years. Good horses he has been involved with include the 2004 Group One Victoria Derby winner Plastered and star sprinter Scenic Blast.

No previous Darley July Cup winners


Dan Morton AUS
Dan Morton, 36, is based in Perth, Western Australia and is the son of trainer Len Morton, who enjoyed his biggest success with Muros in the 1978 Brisbane Cup and handled the decent mare Celestial Show, who finished third in the 2001 Caulfield Cup. Morton senior moved away from Perth to train in Melbourne in order to chase the better prizes offered in the east before moving back to Perth when the quality of racing improved in Western Australia. Dan initially rode as an apprentice jockey for his father before becoming too heavy. In 2004, Len handed over the training licence to Dan, but subsequently started training a small team of horses again in his own right. In addition to Scenic Blast, Dan has also trained the high-class middle-distance performer Scenic Shot, winner of the Grade One XXXX Gold Doomben Cup at Doomben last month. He enjoyed a high-profile success at Royal Ascot in 2009 when Scenic Blast posted an impressive effort to win the Group One King’s Stand Stakes.

No previous Darley July Cup runners

Steven Arnold
Born and raised in Alice Springs, in the Northern Territory of Australia, Steven Arnold, 34, began his riding career as an apprentice to his mother, Sheila, before moving on to the stables of leading Adelaide trainer Ted Cameron. After six months, he was lured to the yard of Lee Freedman, but found it hard to make an impact on the Melbourne scene as a 17-year-old and returned to Adelaide to ride for Cameron’s son Russell. The partnership flourished and Arnold won local jockey premierships as an apprentice and senior rider, before the jockey decided to try his luck riding in Macau. When Cameron decided to move to Melbourne in 1998, Arnold returned to Australia soon after and the pair enjoyed a superb spring campaign in 2000, culminating with victory in the Thousand Guineas with All Time High. Arnold also struck up a successful relationship with another Cameron-trained horse, Bomber Bill, who won the Australia Stakes and the Goodwood Handicap and contested the Golden Shaheen in Dubai and the Hong Kong Sprint at Sha Tin. Other horses to have been ridden by Arnold include the Bart Cummings-trained Magical Miss, who won the Thousand Guineas and the VRC Oaks in 2001, and the outstanding sprinter Toledo, who landed the Australia Stakes in 2002. In total, Arnold has 15 Group One victories to his name with the most recent being two successes this season with Scenic Blast in the Coolmore Lightning Stakes and the Crown Newmarket Handicap. As well as being one of Australia’s most successful jockeys, Arnold is also one the tallest at 5' 9" and he doesn’t ride below 55kg, which has restricted his opportunities in some of the leading handicaps. He made his first UK ride a winning one at Royal Ascot in June when partnering Scenic Blast to success in the Group One King’s Stand Stakes.

No previous Darley July Cup rides


TAKEOVER TARGET (AUS) FACTFILE


10 b g Celtic Swing - Shady Stream (AUS) (Archregent (CAN))
Form: 1111111/43024011/13113021/5214211/2312411-110 Owner: Joe & Ben Janiak
Trainer: Joe Janiak AUS Jockey: Jay Ford Breeder: Meringo Stud Farm

Takeover Target
Joe Janiak bought the broken down and unraced Takeover Target for a mere AUS$1,400. The gelding made a resounding early impression on his trainer/owner, leaving Janiak with 30 stitches to a head wound after flooring him before a barrier trial. He was put out to grass for six months after that incident but went on to secure seven straight victories when finally making it to the track. The first of those came in a maiden over six furlongs at Queanbeyaan, Australia, on April 23, 2004, and the last in the sequence was the Group One Seppelt Salinger Stakes at Flemington on October 30 of that year. He continued to run respectably in top events without winning until securing the Group Three Summer Stakes at Doomben on December 10, 2005. He proceeded to rattle off a hat-trick, adding a Listed contest 14 days later and then taking his second Group One prize, the five-furlong Lightning Stakes at Flemington in February, 2006. Two further starts, including victory in the Group One Newmarket Stakes at Flemington the following month, preceded a trip to Britain. Takeover Target made a stunning British debut when taking the then Group Two King's Stand Stakes at Royal Ascot by a short-head from Benbaun and finished a creditable third to Les Arcs in the Group One Golden Jubilee Stakes four days later. The gelding failed to fire when two lengths seventh to Les Arcs in the Group One Darley July Cup at Newmarket in July. He left for Japan and ran second in the Grade Two Centaur Stakes in September before landing the Group One Sprinters Stakes at Nakayama. He was controversially prevented from competing in Hong Kong that December after medication was found in his system. His return to Australia, brought a fifth to Bentley Biscuit in the Group One All-Aged Stakes at Randwick in April, 2007, and that was followed by a close second to the same rival over six furlongs at Doomben in the BTC Cup. He returned to top form in the seven-furlong Group One Carlton Draught Doomben 10,000 in May, when he swept aside star filly Gold Edition for a half-length verdict. Coming back to Royal Ascot for a second time, Takeover Target once again showed his liking for the Berkshire course, finishing a good fourth in his supposed “prep” race, the King's Stand Stakes, before finishing a head second in the Golden Jubilee Stakes four days later. Connections bypassed the Darley July Cup at Newmarket, but Takeover Target suffered a mild bout of colic in July and injured himself in a paddock accident, forcing him out of action for several months. Having made a winning reappearance at Randwick at the start of December, Takeover Target returned to the Sydney racecourse three weeks later to take the six-furlong Listed Star City Razor Sharp Quality Stakes by a nose. Controversy followed on his next appearance at Randwick, when he was demoted to second in the seven-furlong Group Two Villiers Stakes on January 5, 2008, following an objection by the runner-up Honor In War. Returning to Group One company, Takeover Target finished a creditable third behind Apache Cat on heavy ground in the Sydney City Lexus T J Smith Stakes, run over six furlongs at Randwick on April 26. Sent to Singapore to contest the KrisFlyer International Sprint, Takeover Target showed that he still retained all of his ability as a nine-year-old with a scintillating victory in the six-furlong contest at Kranji, beating Magnus by half a length and setting a new course record in the process, in spite of trainer Joe Janiak insisting that the horse was only 90 per cent wound up for the race. A third visit to Royal Ascot then beckoned and again Takeover Target performed with great distinction, going down by half a length to Equiano in the Group One King’s Stand Stakes and then fourth to Kingsgate Native in the Group One Golden Jubilee Stakes. After the Royal Meeting, he was put away and returned in the form of his life at the end of 2008 and start of 2009 with victories in the Group Two Winterbottom Stakes at Ascot, Australia, in November and at the same course in the Group Three A J Scahill Stakes in December. Two Group One victories then followed, in the T J Smith Stakes at Randwick on April 18 and in the Goodwood Handicap at Morphettville on May 2. The 10-year-old disappointed on his latest start in the Group One KrisFlyer International Sprint at Kranji, Singapore, on May 17, with trainer Joe Janiak feeling that the gelding perhaps did not handle the track. A high temperature on the eve of the Group One Golden Jubilee Stakes prompted his withdrawal from the Royal Ascot race in June.

Race Record: Starts: 40; Wins: 21; 2nd: 6; 3rd: 4; Win & Place Prize Money: £2,980,556 (AUS$6,028,311)

Joe & Ben Janiak
Joe Janiak is based at Coffs Harbour in New South Wales, after moving his 10-strong string there following Takeover Target's Royal Ascot win in 2006. Born to Polish parents on a boat travelling to Australia, the 61-year-old is a former baker and taxi driver who shovelled manure at stables as a child to pay for school. He trained a couple of racehorses in a part-time capacity and lived in a caravan for over 12 years at Queanbeyaan, a country racetrack outside Canberra. He bought the broken down and unraced Takeover Target for a mere AUS$1,400 and had 30 stitches to a head wound when the gelding floored him before a barrier trial. He owns Takeover Target in partnership with his sons Ben and Scott. Ben, who trained horses under his father's name at Coffs Harbour, took out his own licence in May, 2008, and trains in Canberra. Joe Janiak is set to publish a book entitled “Against All Odds” later this year while there are rumours that the remarkable achievements of Takeover Target could be made into a film with Russell Crowe playing the role of Janiak.

Darley July Cup record: 2006-7 Takeover Target 9/2F

Jay Ford
Based in Sydney, New South Wales, Jay Ford began riding Takeover Target as a 20-year-old apprentice in 2004 and has partnered the gelding to seven of his eight Group One victories. The star sprinter's trainer Joe Janiak gave Ford his first career win aboard Chumbolly. He was New South Wales Champion Apprentice in 2003/04 and, on July 10, 2004, became the first junior in over 25 years to ride five winners in a day at a Sydney Metropolitan meeting. He began riding in 2001as apprentice to Canberra trainer Keith Dryden, and spent the latter part of his apprenticeship with Rosehill trainer Kim Waugh. Takeover Target provided him with his first Group One win when taking the Seppelt Salinger Stakes at Flemington on October 30, 2004. As well as his global exploits on Takeover Target, Ford's big-race wins also include the 2005 Spring Champion Stakes and the 2006 Randwick Guineas aboard Hotel Grand. Ford lost the mount on Takeover Target when the gelding won at Randwick this April - Janiak didn’t make public why this happened - but has been reunited with his old partner for the latest two outings.

Darley July Cup record: 2006-7 Takeover Target 9/2F

END


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