Legatissimo to stay in training with Breeders' tilt
Coolmore reinforced its battalions by flexing its financial clout at yesterday's sales in Newmarket, and the firm's 2016 track team has been further boosted by the decision to keep Legatissimo in training.
Last month, Tattersalls Ireland and Goffs auction houses got the yearling sales season off to a heady start. The show moved on to Arqana in Paris at the weekend, and yesterday marked the beginning of Tattersalls blue-chip offerings in Newmarket.
Among the high-profile acquisitions on behalf of the Co Tipperary-based breeding empire were a Galileo filly and colt, priced at £1.365m and £1.312m, both of which were signed for by John Magnier's son, MV. However, there may be few more significant additions to Coolmore's racing delegation for next year than Legatissimo.
A triple Group One-winning Classic heroine that has been short-headed in two other Group Ones, the Danehill Dancer filly has been a revelation for David Wachman, who has turned her into one of the best three-year-old fillies at a time when there is no shortage of same.
A mare of such immense breeding value might have been expected to be rushed into retirement following her authoritative recent triumphs in the Nassau and Matron Stakes, but MV Magnier yesterday revealed that she is being aimed at Keeneland on October 31 and will stay in training thereafter.
"Legatissimo goes to the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf," Magnier was quoted as saying at the sales on the Racing Post website. "She has been a wonderful filly and stays in training as a four-year-old."
Magnier signed the docket for Legatissimo at the same sale in 2013 at a cost of £367,500.
Yesterday, he went to £761,250 for her three-parts sister by Redoute's Choice, a less prolific sire in these parts but a champion in Australia. "We were lucky enough to buy Legatissimo at this sale and if this filly is half as good as her, we'll be happy," he said of the 1,000 Guineas victor's sibling.
While replenishing stocks is crucial to the ongoing success of the global superpower, the move to keep such a high-class race mare in training at four is a welcome development that might even constitute a slight change of policy.
In recent years, Snow Fairy and Ouija Board have gone on to enhance their earnings and reputations after being given the opportunity by other owners to race on as older horses.
John Magnier and his Coolmore brethren tend to be trend-setters rather than followers, but the feats of that equine duo might well have reminded them of the value of allowing a filly to race on as a mature four-year-old.
Of course, with John Gosden's Derby and Arc hero Golden Horn being targeted at the Breeders' Cup Turf and Bob Baffert's recently conquered Triple Crown-winning icon American Pharoah expected to contest the Classic, some of the world's finest three-year-olds look set to converge on Keeneland.
Intriguingly, it isn't inconceivable that Coolmore's Aidan O'Brien-trained Gleneagles might also yet be added to the Classic ticket.
At the moment, the 2,000 Guineas winner's target is the QE II Stakes at Ascot on Saturday week, but, should the ground not be deemed suitably decent there, his first start since Royal Ascot in June might again be delayed, and O'Brien has indicated that a tilt at 10 furlongs in the Classic is an option.
O'Brien could saddle the favourite for Friday's Group One Fillies' Mile at Newmarket, his Moyglare Stakes winner Minding heading the market at 2/1.
The following day, Ryan Moore and Tony Martin will team up for Quick Jack, which is vying for Cesarewitch favouritism with David Pipe's Low Key at odds of around 7/1.