Horseracing has a long history in Ireland, being mentioned in some of the earliest texts. Domestically, racing is one of Ireland’s most popular spectator sports, while on the international scene; Ireland is one of the strongest producers of trainers and thoroughbred horses.
Racing in Ireland became competitive with the introduction, in 1666, under King Charles II, of the King’s Plate Races, designed to favor a fast yet strong horse, capable of winning a 4-mile race with a weight load of 12 stone. The winning horses were sought after for breeding, leading to rapid improvement of the breed.
Over 350 years later, Irish bred horses continue to perform at high levels on international stages.
Mondialiste started his career in France and ran well in his early starts with five on-the-board finishes in his first seven starts, including a third-place finish in the Group 1 Prix Jean Prat, but it wasn’t until his eighth start that he finally won a race.
Soon after, Mondialiste went through the ring at Arqana’s Deauville Summer Mixed sale, selling for the equivalent of $259,901. Moving to trainer David O’Meara after the purchase by Geoff and Sandra Turnball, Mondialiste took the rest of 2014 off and started fresh in England in late March of 2015.
Trainer David O’Meara seemed to help Mondialiste turn a corner, as the son of Galileo won the Group 3 Betfred Mobile Strensall by 10 lengths soon after being moved to the O’Meara barn.
Mondaliste made his first trip to North America for the Grade 1 Woodbine Mile at Woodbine in Toronto. Going off at odds of 3.80-to-1, a gutsy half-length victory earned him an entry into the Breeders’ Cup Mile with his half-length victory.
After a second place finish in the 2015 Breeders’ Cup Mile to champion Tepin, and an attempt at Hong Kong glory, Mondialiste went to the sidelines for six months to prepare for his 2016 campaign.
Mondialiste’s 2016 campaign kicked off rather flat, with a pair of off the board finishes to get his year started. It wasn’t until his third start of the year in the Grade II York Stakes did he show his impressive turn of foot again. The York Stakes, run at 1 5/16th miles was the furthest Mondialiste had been in his career, and with a solid second place finish his connections decided to give the Arlington Million run at 1 1/4th miles a try.
With the 2016 Arlington Million being his second try in North America, the 6-year-old son of Galileo did not disappoint.
Many bettors figured he could continue an upswing in form, as they sent Mondialiste off the 4.4/1 third choice in the field of eleven.
Under careful guidance, Mondialiste relaxed mid pack behind the first flight of leaders throughout majority of the race. When the real running began turning for home, he kicked into gear and took over the lead in the final half-furlong to win by a neck securing his second Grade I victory.
The 2016 Arlington Million would be Mondialiste’s final victory, and after another year on the track, he was retired to his owners Geoff and Sandra Turnbull’s Elwick Stud in the North of England. Upon his retirement, O’Meara reflected on what it was like to train the dual Grade I winning Mondialiste,
“He has a big heart and he always really sticks his neck out,” O’Meara said. “He’s been a pleasure to train, with a great temperament and a fantastic turn of foot. I’m excited about the prospect of training his progeny.”