International Roundup - 20/05/2019

Ireland

There were a couple of decent cards in Ireland over the weekend, with Naas tasking centre stage on Sunday twenty-four hours after eight races at Navan.

The latter just had the one bit of Class One action, which was a Listed contest over 1m5f won by Aidan O'Brien's Western Australia.

With the form in the book behind Guineas winner Magna Grecia twice last term, the three-year-old Chestnut got back to his peak on his first appearance over nine furlongs, and could now be worth considering for the St Leger.

On Sunday, it was a different story - two Group Threes and two Listed affairs, the pick of those being the G3 Goffs Lacken Stakes over six furlongs, won convincingly by another Ballydoyle inmate - So Perfect; who was just that, bettering her Fred Darling third from Newbury.

Daughter of Scat Daddy - who was fourth in last year's Queen Mary, will surely look to stay over the six furlong trip going forward.

France

Auteuil, France, held host to the Grande Course de Haires d'Auteul and the Grand Steeple-Chase de Paris over a two day meeting; in other words the French Champion Hurdle and the French Gold Cup.

Willie Mullins sent his usual brigade of runners to hunt down the French, and it certainly paid off in the hurdle final, when Benie Des Dieux - who bounced back after her spill at Cheltenham with a win at Punchestown, prevailing for the first time over 2m4f, and upsetting the odds-on favourite De Bon Coeur in the process.

The mare showed all her class under Paul Townend, on her return to the place she once called home.

Mullins' new lead was also aboard another big chance for Rich and Susannah Ricci in the Grade One the following day (French GC), on Irish National winner Burrows Saint.

Seemingly travelling well, the six-year-old did not find much for pressure, whilst Carriacou and that man Davy Russell absolutely cantered all over them on the bend for home.

Not called upon for an effort until briefly shaken up at the last, the seven-year-old drew clear up the run-in and made it look easy over the 3m5f cross-country-like course - something Russell only knows too well for his exploits on Tiger Roll.

Great appointment by connections, and deserved their victory in the coveted race.

Germany

Just like most at the minute, it was Germany's turn to showcase the 2,000 Guineas; something Ireland will do this coming weekend when Magna Grecia will look to follow up his victory in the English equivalent at Newmarket.

A race dominated by the Brits - English or Irish riders taking home five of the first six places and the other being the well-known veteran Frenchman Gerald Mosse, it was the King Power-owned Fox Champion who reigned supreme at Cologne.

Trained by Richard Hannon, he made it his fourth victory in a row after his initial successful reappearances at both Doncaster and at Newmarket. Oisin Murphy guided the son of Kodiac to his first Group One triumph.

Arctic Sound - trained by Mark Johnston was second, with Tom Dascombe's favourite Great Scot back in third.

United States

The second leg of the American Triple Crown took place at Pimlico late on Saturday night, and after all the troubles and criticism of the Kentucky Derby a fortnight ago, it was better to enjoy one of America's best racing spectacles without any controversy or drama.

War Of Will took the second dirt Classic of the season for trainer Mark Casse, striking redemption for jockey Tyler Gaffalione, who found himself in the heated spotlight just two weeks earlier when his same mount was impeded by Maximum Security at Churchill Downs.

The 24-year-old carried the silks of owner Gary Barber, who defended both Gaffalione and his horse from accusations levelled by Gary West - Maximum Security's owner, as the continued heated debate goes on.

War Of Will the definite winner here though, and the Belmont Stakes now beckons.

When The Fun Stops. Stop.