Arlington Million

Barn Notes: Tuesday, August 7, 2018

| Churchill Downs Communications | 08/07/2018 #
  • Ming (Coady Photography)


Five of the ten European contenders in Arlington’s International Festival of Racing exited quarantine and hit the track on Tuesday morning for their first taste of the Chicagoland oval.

The quintet consisted of Grade I $1,000,000 Arlington Million contenders Century Dream (IRE) and Circus Couture (IRE), Grade I $400,000 Secretariat Stakes aspirants Ming (IRE) and Bandua as well as Nyaleti (IRE) who races in the Grade I $600,000 Beverly D. on Saturday, Aug. 11.

All five runners were sent out to the track in unison just shortly after 7:00 a.m. and schooled in the paddock, where they made four laps around the oval. They then went out to the track for their conventional clockwise jogs.

Leading the bunch was Rabbah Bloodstock’s Century Dream who enters the Million off of a close fourth behind Beat The Bank in the Group 2 Summer Mile at Ascot.  The 4-year-old son of Cape Cross (IRE) jogged under exercise rider Paul Holley for trainer Simon Crisford. 

“He felt good from the travelling and he’s in good form,” Holley said. “He’s just right, really. We’re very pleased with him. He was only beaten three quarters of a length; the forms worked out well. It’s all there for him. He does seem in good shape; he’s travelled really well.”

Also sent out in preparation for the Million was Circus Couture for trainer and co-owner Jane Chapple-Hyam. Just two starts ago he was third in the Royal Hunt Cup at Royal Ascot when beaten 2¼ lengths at 100-1 odds. 

“He’s not fazed or stressed by anything,” said Chapple-Hyam, who owns the 6-year-old son of Intikhab in partnership with Bryan Hirst. “He had a look down there at the saddling area and then we had a look at the track and had a nice, light jog around there. He’s still a boy so he’s got all of that testosterone in there. He’s travelled well and he’s trained well into this race.”

Chapple-Hyam and Hirst privately purchased Circus Couture following a victory at Capannelle in Italy back on March 4.

“I liked his family, his pedigree and I like how he came from off the pace,” Chapple-Hyam said. “He showed that in the Hunt Cup at Ascot when he ran third. He gave seven pounds to the winner and five to the second. I thought that he could be competitive in America off strong paces.”

Circus Couture is out of the Orpen broodmare Bois Joli (IRE) who is a half sibling to Italian Group 1 winner Jakkalberry.

Chapple-Hyam brought over Mull of Killough (IRE) for the 2013 edition of the Million.  The son of Mull of Kintyre was cast in his stall during the week of the race, went on to start with a good early lead but gave way late to finish eighth.

“It’s my second time coming here,” Chapple-Hyam said. “But with all the history with John Henry and The Bart and as a kid growing up the Arlington Million was always a prestigious race. It’s great to have a horse running here.”

The Secretariat contingent of Ming (IRE) and Bandua handled their morning jog in good order as well, according to their connections. Trained by Joseph O’Brien, Ming has won three of his four starts the most recent of which was an allowance race at Navan in his native Ireland on July 14.

“He took it all in,” said exercise rider Tom Hamilton. “It was good to get him out on the track. All good so far. He’s three out of four and he’s been consistent. He’s an improving horse. Hopefully he can run real well.”

Trainer Dermot Weld captured a victory in the Secretariat a decade ago with Winchester, and hopes to repeat the effort this year with Calumet Farm’s Bandua. The colt won his first two career starts, both of which were at the Secretariat’s mile-and-a-quarter distance.

“He’s a horse with a good constitution,” said Weld’s longtime travelling head lad Jeff Byrne. “He’s a very level headed type of colt. He travelled well, he’s eating, sleeping.”

Chris, Rosie and Ron Batterham and Jen Reay’s Beverly D. runner Nyaleti (IRE) trailed her European counterparts when going to the track, then cantered down the stretch alone before rejoining the group to head back to the stable. Trained by Mark Johnston, she won the Group 2 German 1000 Guineas at Dusseldorf two starts ago.

“She’s settled in well and she’s eaten well,” said Johnston’s yard manager Hayley Kelley. “We’re all very happy with her. She feels good.”

Michael Halford’s Platinum Warrior (IRE) remained in quarantine on Tuesday morning after contracting a mild case of shipping fever and did not go to the track. He has recovered and is scheduled to step out on Wednesday morning. The Aidan O’Brien-trained quartet of Deauville (IRE) (Arlington Million), Athena (IRE) (Beverly D.) and Secretariat contenders Hunting Horn (IRE) and Lucius Tiberius (IRE) arrived at approximately 9:00 pm Monday night and are scheduled to go to the track on Thursday morning.