Wachman continues rise in training ranks with Moyglare win
Monday 01 September 2008
John Magnier himself was once known only as someone's son-in-law – he sowed the seeds of the Coolmore empire in partnership with one of the greatest trainers in history, in Vincent O'Brien – so he will have a delicate sense of both the privileges and pressures shaping the career of David Wachman.
The Group One success of Again in the Moyglare Stud Stakes at the Curragh yesterday was Wachman's fourth in 10 years as a trainer; it was also his second in eight days. As such, it marked a coming of age for Wachman, who married Magnier's daughter, Katie, six years ago and knows that petty jealousies will only be stifled by results that permit no doubt of his own merit.
Those who know him well have never been in any doubt on that score, but the rapid emergence of Again – who broke her maiden barely a month ago – has amplified the message. Around half of the 70 horses Wachman trains in Co Tipperary are owned by Coolmore, including Bushranger, a game winner of the Prix Morny at Deauville. For Again to make her own Group One breakthrough the very next weekend represents a considerable statement, not least because insiders believe that the stakes were subtly raised for Wachman this season.
The bulk of Coolmore's investment naturally remains concentrated down the road at Ballydoyle, but most of the better two-year-olds stabled there are by stallions such as Galileo and Montjeu, whose stock might be expected to bloom as three-year-olds. Aidan O'Brien certainly seemed to have fewer precocious types to run this year, proving conspicuously short of ammunition for the juvenile events at Royal Ascot. There was a decided sense that Wachman had instead been given a chance with some of Coolmore's potential Guineas types.
Hence the significance of Again, now as short as 10-1 with the sponsors for the Stan James 1,000 Guineas. After winning her maiden, she had won the Debutante Stakes at Leopardstown in testing ground and Wachman was concerned that she only had a fortnight to recover before the Moyglare.
Perhaps it was weariness that caused her to hang right under pressure, as Shimah challenged strongly, but lingering inexperience is a more likely explanation – and Wachman knows that she is by no means the finished article in physical terms, either. After Seamus Heffernan switched his whip, Again focused commendably to hold Shimah by half a length.
"I was very concerned this run may have come a bit too quickly for her, but she did it really nicely," Wachman said. "She's really a horse for next year, because she's still big and weak. She's going to make an exciting three-year-old.
"I feel sorry for Wayne Lordan, who does all her home work and is suspended, but Seamie's the super-sub and gave her a great ride." Heffernan himself was only given the chance because Johnny Murtagh is also suspended, but reiterated his dependability here.
All may not be lost for those who backed Cuis Ghaire for the Guineas, despite her horrible performance behind Again in the Debutante. Perhaps a combination of a tough summer and bad ground caught up with her there, and the fact is that Jim Bolger still holds her in the highest esteem – which should count for even more after he introduced Maoineach to make a remarkable debut earlier on yesterday's card.
Last year Bolger pitched the top-class Lush Lashes in at the deep end, when she beat a big field of experienced rivals for a valuable sales prize, and he showed similar boldness in starting Maoineach in the Group Three Go And Go Round Tower Stakes. A daughter of the American stallion, Congaree, Maoineach cruised through the race and was able to stride clear under a hand ride from Kevin Manning. Bolger may now send her to the Prix Marcel Boussac on Arc day at Longchamp.
The Arc itself is back on the agenda for Getaway, who had disappointed twice since his dazzling win at Newmarket in May. Yesterday, ridden for the first time by Frankie Dettori, he won the Grand Prix de Deauville, gaining first run on Doctor Dino and always holding his challenge. The runner-up ran his usual hardy race, giving 4lbs, but is likely to miss the Arc to resume his global travels.
Dettori, however, will again ride the winner at Longchamp, where he had feared that he might be left idle following another disappointing season for his stable, Godolphin. Autumn will instead be a grim anti-climax for Seb Sanders, who shared that unfortgettable duel for the championship – and ultimately the title itself – with Jamie Spencer last year. It was confirmed yesterday that Sanders will miss the rest of the campaign after breaking a femur in a terrifying three-horse pile-up at Chester on Saturday.
Sanders won his first British Classic when Look Here won the Oaks in June, but adversity prompted a sage response from his agent, Keith Bradley. "It is a shame, but that's the nature of the sport," he said. "It is dangerous, and unfortunately it's our name that's come out of the hat this time." At least Sanders will finally be able to spend some time getting to know his young family. After all, he may be a father-in-law some day.
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