The Stayers Challenge Juvenile Qualifiers were the feature of Sunday evening’s card from the virtual horse racing tracks at Raceclubs. Highly competitive and well-supported as usual, the colts’ contest produced two full field instances for spectators to savor.
The first instance included three colts from the shotgun_mike stable, pick of which was probably Emprise To Avalon. This chestnut colt is already a winner of a Ladbrokes Challenge Final this season. He had also proven himself effective over classic distances, winning one classic qualifier and finishing runner-up in another just twenty-fours previous to lining up for this event. The third place finisher from that race, Northerly Sky was also re-opposing here. The Sky Castle Stables trained colt had also managed second place finishes in both classic and stayers qualifiers but was still looking for a first win in this grade. It took Priego De Cordoba fourteen starts before getting off the mark in a novice event earlier this month and although he had been highly tried there were only one or two snippets of form that would suggest he might go as close as he ultimately did here. The slowstables owned gray gave his all, eventually going down by a long-looking half length. Only a perfectly judged ride from Charlie Saxon was sufficient to see Yabba Dabba Do get home in front. The johnnymark trained maiden winner had finished down the field on his other two attempts in this grade but Saxon managed to coax the very best out of him here. Juliassilas’ consistent colt, Global Legacy stayed on dourly to take third.
The second instance of this turned out to be a battle between the two pre-race favorites, Herminator and Gallipoli Prince with the former eventually prevailing. This was Herminator’s third win in just seven career starts and his second successive victory in stayers qualifiers, having won the equivalent event just two weeks ago. Divine Diva Stables’ Little Assassin finished third here and Liveoak Stables’ Nashville Boy was fourth.
The current standings for the final of this event, now just over a month away, show Nashville Boy to be a narrow one point leader over Green Bay Stables‘ Herminator. Gissys Nags’ Gallipoli Prince is just three points further behind and slowstables’ Priego De Cordoba five points behind him in fourth spot.
The Stayers Challenge Juvenile Qualifier Fillies was a tight looking affair. Divine Diva Stables’ Island Diva was a five time winner and amongst the point leaders in the current standings for the final of this event. Prior to this race had been placed three times in qualifiers but had yet to get her head in front in one. Diamond Class had also managed to achieve a third place finish in a previous qualifier. The one the punters latched onto though was Queen Bee’s Flashing Cobra. Never out of the money in seven career starts to date, the bay filly had finished second in each of her last three races, all of which were stayers qualifiers.
Flashing Cobra did not find any luck in running on this occasion, however and she could manage only sixth place under Philippe Dubois. Expect better from this filly in the near future. The one that foiled them all today though was Liveoak Stables’ Le Petit Blanc. After this marathon journey, she scraped home by the narrowest of margins, getting home by a neck from Celtic Bhoys Diamond Class with Island Diva back in third.
The overall standings now have Island Diva in a three point lead over shotgun_mike’s Dilly Dally and a further three points back to Miami Vice’s Regency Blaze in third.