Saturday 5 March was always going to provide a thrilling day of racing around the world, with three G1 contests in Australia before the action moved to Meydan’s Super Saturday where the best of the carnival horses would aim to secure their berths for the valuable G1 races on Dubai World Cup night in three weeks’ time. There were of course also plenty of Graded Stakes races to round off the day in the US.
The Darley stallions enjoyed a truly sensational weekend, siring no fewer than five G1 winners on a day that saw them record an astounding 11 Group winners in total.
Street Cry’s four-year-old daughter Heavens Above kicked off proceedings when flying home late to land the G3 Aspiration Handicap, run over a mile at Randwick.
Godolphin colt Holler (by late Darley sire Commands) followed soon after with a front-running victory in the G1 Canterbury Stakes. He will now target the G1 William Reid at Moonee Valley on 26 March.
There was soon another G1 winner as Le Romain took the G1 Randwick Guineas in sensational style to provide his sire Hard Spun with a ninth career winner at the highest level. However, this was not the only Guineas of the day and just 20 minutes later, another Darley stallion – this time Teofilo – recorded his ninth G1 winner as his son Palentino won the Australian Guineas at Flemington, another race won in thrilling fashion.
At Morphettville, Authorized’s talented son Signoff more than proved he was back to his best with a six-length romp in the G3 Lord Reims Stakes, before Lonhro mare Wawail rounded off the day’s southern hemisphere action as the four-year-old ran out the assertive winner of the G3 Frances Tressady Stakes back at Flemington.
Super Saturday at Meydan provides an outstanding card and will hopefully supply some pointers for the culmination of the Carnival – Dubai World Cup night on 26 March. King George winner Postponed (Dubawi) was making his first start for Roger Varian and he could not have been more impressive as he simply cruised to the line to take the G2 Dubai City Of Gold.
Teofilo then continued his tremendous day, now taking his tally of G1 winners into double figures as his son Special Fighter led from pillar to post to take the Al Maktoum Challenge R3 by no fewer than four and a half lengths.
Next came Shamardal’s Tryster, who has been a remarkably consistent campaigner for his sire and one who has risen through the ranks superbly. He gained his first G1 victory in his typical style, coming from the rear of the field and flying down the home straight to win the Jebel Hatta. The G1 Dubai Turf now beckons for Charlie Appleby’s charge, where he will take on star miler Solow.
The day’s Group races concluded in the States and at Aqueduct, Bernardini colt Shagaf retained his perfect record and took another step towards the Kentucky Derby when rallying late to win the G3 Gotham Stakes.
On the West Coast, star Medaglia d’Oro filly Songbird also remained unbeaten when dominating the field in the G3 Santa Ysabel Stakes at Santa Anita. She will now head for the G1 Santa Anita Oaks on 9 April, likely to be her last race before the G1 Kentucky Oaks on 6 May.
So far in 2016, almost a quarter of worldwide G1 contests have been won by progeny of the Darley stallions and with many exciting prospects still to come and the European racing season yet to begin, this year is already shaping up to be a very memorable one indeed.