x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Horse racing: After Nassau Stakes win, Winsili looks to be headed West

Breeders' Cup Filly could be on the agenda for Winsili while Sky Lantern and Toronado also considering the 'fast ground' at California's Santa Anita, writes Geoffrey Riddle.

Winsili, left, won the Nassau Stakes on Saturday at the Goodwood Racecourse and now officials may send her to California. Stephen Pond / Empics
Winsili, left, won the Nassau Stakes on Saturday at the Goodwood Racecourse and now officials may send her to California. Stephen Pond / Empics

The trainer John Gosden has suggested that Winsili will need to head to California early if she is to have the opportunity to prove that her victory over Sky Lantern in Saturday's Nassau Stakes was not a fluke.

Officials associated with both fillies suggested on Sunday that the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf at Santa Anita in November was being considered as an end-of-season target.

Winsili beat Sky Lantern into fifth at Goodwood after jockey William Buick's tactics on Winsili blocked Richard Hughes on Sky Lantern at a crucial stage of the 10-furlong contest.

It was only Winsili's fifth run and although her trainer would like her to emulate Midday (2009), Intercontinental (2005) and Banks Hill (2001), who have previously won the $US 2 million contest for owner Prince Khalid Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, her personality would make long-distance travel difficult.

"She cannot stand still," Gosden said. "She's happy in perpetual motion. You do meet people who are like Roadrunner, with a bottle of water and they are always running or jogging, and they don't have pinch on them. They die at 40 or live to 100. She's like that.

"If you have a conversation with her, she goes around you. I had to saddle her on the move and when she goes for a canter in the morning, if she has to wait, she will throw herself on the ground with sheer frustration.

"She's quite strong-minded with lots of talent and could be a possibility for the Breeders' Cup, but she would have to get there a week in advance and be schooled in the paddock at Santa Anita."

Sky Lantern's victories in the English 1,000 Guineas and Coronation Stakes at Royal Ascot were both achieved on good-to-firm going and the likely conditions at Santa Anita in November will suit her perfectly.

Richard Hannon, the trainer, was opposed to a trip to California for Toronado, Sky Lantern's stablemate who beat Dawn Approach in the Sussex Stakes on Wednesday, but it seems that his son, Richard, has talked him round.

"Fast ground at Santa Anita would suit both and a two-turn mile should be perfect for Toronado, while at least we now know for certain that Sky Lantern stays the mile and a quarter, so she can be targeted at the Filly & Mare Turf if we decide to take the trans-Atlantic route," Hannon said.

Cross Traffic became the second horse to be handed a berth in the Breeders' Cup Classic after he held off the challenge of Successful Dan in the Whitney Invitational Handicap at Saratoga late on Saturday night.

Fort Larned, last year's Classic winner, also remains on course for the race despite finishing fifth.

In France, Moonlight Cloud won the Prix Maurice de Gheest at Deauville for a third time in succession yesterday.

Lethal Force, the Diamond Jubilee and July Cup winner, tried to run the sting out of his main rival from the front, but had no answer to Moonlight Cloud's blistering turn of foot and she won by almost two lengths under Thierry Jarnet in record time.

Moonlight Cloud joins Marchand D'Or, also trained by Freddy Head, as the only three-time winner of the six-and-a-half-furlong Group One. Dubai Golden Shaheen 2013 runner Gordon Lord Byron was third.


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