BC Internationals: Mile contender Suedois
Scratched from last year’s Turf Sprint (G1) after sustaining a stress fracture, Suedois has earned another chance at the Breeders’ Cup, only this time in the Mile (G1).
The French-bred is yet another to thrive since joining David O’Meara, who first made a splash in North America with 2015 Woodbine Mile (G1) winner and BC Mile runner-up Mondialiste. As reviewed in his 2016 international profile, Suedois brought a trio of high-profile placings in the July Cup (G1), Haydock Sprint Cup (G1), and Prix de la Foret (G1) with him to Santa Anita.
In his first start back from that injury, Suedois understandably tired to eighth in the May 17 Duke of York (G2). That brought him on, for he wheeled back just 10 days later for the Greenlands (G2) at the Curragh (click link for replay). Sent off as the 9-4 favorite, Suedois plugged on a one-paced third to the veteran Gordon Lord Byron.
O’Meara added a visor to his equipment for the Diamond Jubilee (G1) at Royal Ascot, and Suedois was in the thick of contention until very late. He again lacked that extra touch of speed over six furlongs at the highest level.
Suedois apparently needed a bit more ground, so O’Meara sensibly stepped him up to seven furlongs for the Lennox (G2) at Glorious Goodwood. In a messy finish, he was among those scrambling to find room, and got up to shade favored Limato for third. Mile rival Home of the Brave (whose profile is forthcoming) just held second.
The Lennox turned out to be a productive race. Not only did Limato get back in business in the recent Challenge (G2) at Newmarket, but the respective top two in this year’s Foret, Aclaim and So Beloved, were in the Lennox line-up, as was eventual British Champions Sprint (G1) upsetter Librisa Breeze.
Suedois stuck to seven furlongs in the City of York (G3), reporting home third in another tight finish. The victorious Talaayeb hasn’t advertised the form since, but she had been fourth to Winter and Rhododenron (whose Filly & Mare Turf [G1] profile is in the pipeline) in the 1000 Guineas (G1). Runner-up Toscanini is better known these days as Ribchester’s pacemaker.
That performance pointed to another step up in distance, this time to a mile for the Boomerang (G2) on Irish Champions Weekend. A well-judged ride by stable jockey Danny Tudhope, and a spot of luck, helped Suedois to snap a two-year losing streak.
With co-owner Clipper Logistics being the race sponsor, it all worked out exceedingly well for Suedois’ connections. The same couldn’t be said for unlucky fourth Sir John Lavery, an Aidan O’Brien trainee who was given too much to do, angled out too late, and arguably should have won.
Suedois then invaded Keeneland for the Shadwell Turf Mile (G1), and again Tudhope worked out the right trip. Following Ballagh Rocks through into the stretch, he pulled out and mowed down the game Heart to Heart.
Since the Shadwell (and its predecessor) have produced six BC Mile winners, most recently Tourist last year, Suedois has stamped himself as a legitimate contender. There are a couple of questions, though. Suedois took a few strides to wind up at Keeneland before hitting top gear, and needed the length of the stretch to get up. Del Mar’s shorter stretch won’t allow him the luxury. He’ll likely need to take gaps, or at least pick up quickly, to fight out the finish here.
For a horse who endured a prolonged losing skid before winning two straight, what are the chances of a hat trick? And the Shadwell has been the key for domestic Mile winners, not Europeans seeking a winnable Grade 1 abroad.
Perhaps most significantly, nearly every European-based Mile winner already owned a Group 1 laurel at home. The lone exception, Domedriver (2002), upset Rock of Gibraltar, who was the best miler but out of luck on the day.
Photo courtesy Keeneland/Coady Photography