Beverly D. international scouting report: Rain Goddess
Rain Goddess brings an outstanding level of form as she tries to buck two historical trends. Trainer Aidan O’Brien has yet to win the Beverly D. (G1), and only one sophomore has captured the sister race to the Arlington Million (G1), Euro Charline (2014).
Yet another Galileo in the Coolmore fold, Rain Goddess is the first registered foal from the Danehill Dancer mare Where, herself a daughter of the 1000 Guineas (G1) winner of 2005, Virginia Waters. Rain Goddess is intensely inbred (2x4) to Sadler’s Wells, sire of Galileo and broodmare sire of Virginia Waters. Moreover, since Sadler’s Wells’ close relative Nureyev appears in the fifth generation, Rain Goddess is saturated with this superb bloodline.
Like this season’s four-time Group 1 star Winter, Rain Goddess was transferred to O’Brien from the retiring David Wachman. She raced just once under his care as a juvenile, and little was expected in her debut at Leopardstown on Irish Champions Weekend. Overlooked at 50-1, she made a mockery of those odds when extricating herself from a pocket to burst clear and win going way.
“She'll be a nice filly for Aidan next year,” Wachman told irishracing.com.
His prediction has borne out.
Making her first start for O’Brien in the 1000 Guineas Trial (G3) over the same course and distance, but slower ground, Rain Goddess was given a gentle comeback in seventh (blaze face on the rail).
That was just the beginning of a busy schedule. Rain Goddess wheeled back two weeks later for the Fred Darling (G3) at Newbury, where she was a late-running fourth. The winning Dabyah is a seven-furlong specialist who doesn’t quite see out a mile, but has run respectably at that trip when third in last fall’s Prix Marcel Boussac (G1) and fourth to Winter in the Coronation (G1) at Royal Ascot.
Watch: Frankie Dettori guides favourite Dabyah to a front-running success in the Dubai Duty Free Stakes. pic.twitter.com/YO7TzjNu4O— Newbury Racecourse (@NewburyRacing) April 22, 2017
Looking as if she needed a mile by this point, Rain Goddess got her chance in the French 1000 Guineas (G1) and finished a one-paced fifth. Spot her white blaze and black silks, in the right group initially before she gets herded over to the middle of the converging pack.
If the form at the top hasn’t worked out, the also-rans have ended up being the best in the race. Sixth-placer Roly Poly, the stablemate whom Rain Goddess nipped on the line, has since been runner-up to Winter in the Irish 1000 Guineas (G1) and Coronation before turning a Group 1 double of her own in the Falmouth (G1) and Prix Rothschild (G1). And Senga, only 11th here, roared right back to take the French Oaks (G1).
Rain Goddess remained at a mile but dropped into listed company for Royal Ascot’s Sandringham. She finally looked to put it all together, only to be nailed late by Wesley Ward’s Con Te Partiro flying from even farther back. Note that O’Brien added a tongue tie to her gear for her next race, so more may have been going on at the finish.
Once again, Rain Goddess was signaling her preference for more distance. O’Brien wasted no time, bringing her back out 11 days later to try 1 1/4 miles versus her elders in the Pretty Polly (G1). Biding her time near the rear after a less than alert start, she rallied for a fine second to Nezwaah, beating Zhukova among others. Zhukova, in her first outing since slamming males in the 1 3/8-mile Man o’ War (G1), ran as one wanting longer and a bit more give in the ground.
Rain Goddess returned just 13 days later in the Irish Oaks (G1). Now stretching out to 1 1/2 miles, she was tucked just behind the tracking Enable and had no shot of matching her electric turn of foot. But Rain Goddess was a clear second from Eziyra, who just came back to win Tuesday’s Give Thanks (G3) at Cork. The gilt-edged form boost, however, was furnished by Enable herself as she subsequently demolished older males in the King George VI & Queen Elizabeth (G1).
Finishing best-of-the-rest behind the early Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (G1) favorite in a major European classic is a pretty nice way to come into the Beverly D. That said, Rain Goddess has yet to get her head in front since her maiden, she’s taking a significant cutback to 1 3/16 miles, and ships across the Atlantic after already racing six times over a three-month span. She also needs to show a more instantaneous move to outkick this entire field for the win. Her six-pound weight break as the only three-year-old in the field helps, but as mentioned above, her age group has found it difficult to take advantage in this race.
While Rain Goddess would be an eminently logical winner, it can pay to be wary of being too enamored of horses on the basis of placings to big-name rivals. For an example from recent Beverly D. history, O’Brien’s Wedding Vow came here as a Group 2 winner whose primary appeal was a second to Legatissimo in the Nassau, and she finished fifth. Granted, that was an exceptional renewal featuring the disqualified Secret Gesture, the promoted Watsdachances, Stephanie’s Kitten, and defending champion Euro Charline on a rain-soaked course, but the general point stands.
On a more positive note, ace rider Ryan Moore returns to Arlington for the first time since 2014, when he scooped the Beverly D. with Euro Charline and the Secretariat (G1) aboard Adelaide.
Photo courtesy Michael Adolphson via Twitter