Racing: Prestige Stakes offers Sense Of Joy serious chance to confirm her Classic credentials

Click to follow
The Independent Online

Posing for photographs alongside Authorized, after their success at York on Tuesday, Frankie Dettori kissed the colt on the nose and asked: "Who's the daddy?" Not a bad question. Montjeu, perhaps? After all, he is the sire of Authorized. And then there is Frankie himself, who has five children swarming round his home. As for Authorized, however – well, we cannot know what kind of daddy he is going to be for a few years yet.

In 2011 and 2012, Sheikh Mohammed will first be able to measure the sort of dividend he can expect from his present, unprecedented bout of genetic kleptomania. Now Authorized is to be joined at Darley Stud by Manduro. They will stand alongside Teofilo, not to mention the three outstanding three-year-olds already recruited in America this summer.

It would be interesting to know what Khaled Abdulla makes of this strategy. The prince has developed his own bloodstock empire with such skill that it is now virtually self-sufficient. Will any of Sheikh Mohammed's new stallions, for instance, offer the breed even half as much as Dansili?

From one of the bedrock Judd-monte families, Dansili has rapidly developed into Danehill's most eligible heir. Like his father, he is producing top-class horses at a variety of distances. A very fast miler himself, he could yet win the mile-and-a-half championship of Europe with successive crops if Zambezi Sun can emulate Rail Link in the Arc.

Among the two-year-old fillies, Dansili has already supplied Abdulla with Proviso, whose defeat of Laureldean Gale at Deauville last Saturday prompted bookmakers to make her favourite for the Stan James 1,000 Guineas. And at Goodwood today another of his daughters, Sense Of Joy, can herself enter Classic calculations in a fascinating race for the Totescoop6 Prestige Stakes.

On the face of it, a sharp seven furlongs would seem a bare minimum for a half-sister to the stayer, Day Flight, out of a Rainbow Quest mare, Bonash. This is typical, stalwart Abdulla family: Bonash herself won Group races, while her half-sister foaled a French Classic winner, Nebraska Tornado. Yet somehow Sense Of Joy was able to overwhelm her rivals, by five lengths more or less on the bridle, when given her debut over this trip on fast ground at Newmarket, setting an excellent time in the process.

Mistress Greeley has apparently worked well since her own impressive debut at Nottingham. But Sense Of Joy (2.35) represents a stable housing plenty of other talented juveniles, and can earn the right to start a new branch, some day, in the flourishing, organic Juddmonte family tree.

Godolphin juveniles looming large

Two more of Sheikh Moham-med's recent breeding recruits get the opportunity to advertise their heritable wares at Saratoga today. Street Sense, the Kentucky Derby winner, is hot favourite to beat half a dozen rivals for the historic Travers Stakes, while Hard Spun, who chased him home at Churchill Downs, drops to seven furlongs in another Grade One race.

All these new stallions give Godolphin, the Sheikh's elite Stable, every right to hope for better times ahead. But there are some positive signs in the shorter term, too. Rio De La Plata, who has proved himself a real monster since being beaten on his debut, may not be the only class act among its juveniles, judging from the performance of Iguazu Falls at York on Wednesday. In what is always a hot maiden, the way he groped his way into second after running green was very encouraging. In a break with the stable's recent practice, he is one of several horses given an early entry for the big juvenile races this autumn.

Another, Ibn Khaldun, is due to start his career this weekend – he is declared both at Newmarket today and Yarmouth tomorrow, presumably pending an assessment of ground conditions. Meanwhile one of the stable's three-year-olds, Abydos (4.35), will surely be hard to beat in his own maiden, at Newmarket.

Dunelight to lift the Celebration

Tonight is traditionally the night when many racing professionals – jockeys, trainers, stable staff – heave a weary sigh of relief, knowing that the summer programme of evening racing has finally come to an end.

As it happens, there is another turf fixture at Salisbury on Friday and nowadays, of course, betting shops are nourished year round with regular floodlit meetings on the all-weather. Even so, there will be a distinct change in tempo. Seb Sanders knows that his patrons traditionally struggle for winners in the autumn, and it is going to be increasingly difficult for him to make any inroads into Jamie Spencer's lead in the jockeys' championship – as Spencer demonstrated when drawing serenely clear two years ago.

The championship is determined by quantity, but Spencer has only ever treated it as a conduit to quality. That is what he found at York this week, winning four big prizes, and he has an obvious chance of more at Goodwood today.

Cesare, beaten barely a length in Group One company at Royal Ascot, is hot favourite for the Totesport Celebration Mile. But Dunelight (3.10) is a different horse round here, having again excelled when third to the very classy Tariq last time, and is ideally drawn to dictate from the front. He looks good value to draw the sting from the penalised favourite.

Channel 4 also has its cameras at Beverley and Newmarket. Red Alert Day (2.50 nap) has never run on soft ground, but the track is drying out after the midweek rain and even a 13lb higher mark in the Unicorn Asset Management Nursery may not represent adequate punishment for his striking handicap debut over course and distance. Philatelist (3.35) is an intriguing candidate for the big handicap at Beverley, dropped in trip and tried in blinkers, and Hellvelyn (3.0) can go close in the listed sprint there after shaping so well on his return in the July Cup.

Limited shelf life for Sales races

The fact that the winners of both the 1,000 Guineas and 2,000 Guineas were last year beaten in "sales races" – confined to the graduates of a particular auction – should not deceive anyone as to the basic iniquity of the rewards on offer.

The St Leger Sales race, staged at York on Thursday, for now remains the most valuable juvenile prize in Britain. That will change next year, when Tattersalls inaugurate their response to the Goffs Million series in Ireland. But it still seems ludicrous that a horse that could manage no better than fourth in a Group Two race (£40,000 to the winner) should be able to collect £188,000 in what is effectively a private sweepstakes. The runner-up had been beaten off 83 in a nursery on her previous start.

You can't blame the sales companies. They have everything to gain, and practically nothing to lose. It bears reiterating that these prizes are swollen principally by the exorbitant stakes paid by the owners of eligible horses. Yet you can imagine the fuss owners would make if prizemoney for championship races were increased by the simple expedient of raising entry fees.

Owners, of course, are often their own worst enemies. It costs the same to train a bad horse as a good one. Yet they insist on breeding from worthless mares. On buying the progeny of unproven stallions, who make a fast buck by covering three mares a day in two hemispheres until even the most obtuse breeders discover they are wasting their money. On spending vast sums to have bad horses trained for bad races. They foster mediocrity at every turn. And during the next few weeks, at the yearling sales, they will spend many millions for the privilege. Good luck to them all.