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Homeracing

Conquest Daddyo could cap transatlantic Scat Daddy double with Lady Aurelia

Profile Picture: Kellie Reilly

August 21st, 2016

This summer’s racing has underscored how colossal was the loss of Scat Daddy last December – from the stunning Royal Ascot heroics of Lady Aurelia and Caravaggio, to Chilean champion Dacita’s exploits in New York, Con Te Partiro’s romp in Saratoga’s Bolton Landing just this past Wednesday, and as a last update, Harmonize in Saturday's Del Mar Oaks (G1).

On Sunday, the late Coolmore sire may ring up another memorable achievement: hours after Lady Aurelia seeks to remain perfect in the Prix Morny (G1) at Deauville, Conquest Daddyo can complete a transatlantic double in the Breeders’ Stakes at Woodbine.

His name an indicator that he’s campaigned by the soon-to-disperse Conquest Stables, Conquest Daddyo was a classy turf juvenile who’s recently returned to form. The Mark Casse trainee was useful enough on the Polytrack, but found a new gear when switching to turf in last September’s Summer (g2) on this course. After capturing that “Win and You’re In,” Conquest Daddyo advanced to the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) at Keeneland, where a troubled start relegated him to last early. He did well to rally on the yielding going for fourth, recording a 100 BRIS Late Pace rating.

Conquest Daddyo’s first two outings this term didn’t go according to plan. A too-bad-to-be-true last of six in the January 30 Kitten’s Joy at Gulfstream, he wasn’t seen again until the Wando over Woodbine’s Polytrack April 24. The Ontario-bred was checked (while being outmoved) on the far turn and allowed to come home in his own time.

Resurfacing on the turf for the July 3 Charlie Barley, Conquest Daddyo looked more like himself when spearing home late to grab third. Not only did he make up eight lengths, but he earned a 106 BRIS Late Pace figure in the one-mile test.

Conquest Daddyo was crying out for more ground, both on running style and pedigree. Up in trip to nine furlongs in the July 24 Toronto Cup, the dark bay enjoyed every yard of it to go last to first.

The stretch-out to 1 1/2 miles in the Breeders’ Stakes should only agree with Conquest Daddyo, whose maternal half is replete with stamina influences. His dam is by Kentucky Derby (G1), Belmont (G1), and Travers (G1) champion Thunder Gulch, his second dam is by Graustark, his third dam (Fiesta Libre, by Damascus) placed second in the 1974 Coaching Club American Oaks (G1) (when it was 1 1/2 miles), and his fourth dam is by the stout Crepello from a deep French family.

I think Conquest Daddyo will be up for the challenge of tackling Queen’s Plate hero Sir Dudley Digges and Prince of Wales victor Amis Gizmo in this third jewel of the Canadian Triple Crown. For the full Breeders’ preview, see Jen Caldwell’s blog post, and also James Scully’s take on the Sky Classic (G2).

Conquest Daddyo could also be part of a big Sunday for Casse, whose sensational Catch a Glimpse will go off heavily favored in the Lake Placid (G2) at Saratoga.

***

Earlier Sunday in France, unbeaten Lady Aurelia faces only four rivals in the Prix Morny. After her jaw-dropping performance in the Queen Mary (G2) at Royal Ascot, no wonder few are willing to take on the Wesley Ward phenom over an extra furlong.

The about six-furlong dash down the Deauville straight was originally supposed to serve up a clash with Caravaggio. But trainer Aidan O’Brien decided to go straight to the Middle Park (G1) with him instead, conveniently swerving Lady Aurelia.

We could have had some fodder for comparison if Mehmas had lined up, since he’d been second to Caravaggio in the Coventry (G2) before winning the July (G2) and Richmond (G2). Unfortunately, trainer Richard Hannon Jr. ruled Mehmas out due to an unsatisfactory scope.

One who isn’t shy about confronting Lady Aurelia is trainer Freddy Head, who sends out the only other unbeaten entrant, Alrahma. Sheikh Hamdan’s homebred filly, also two-for-two, comes off a course-and-distance success in the Prix de Cabourg (G3). On a strict reading of the collateral form through the Cabourg runner-up, she’s got to improve to trouble Lady Aurelia. But Alrahma is a well-regarded (and well-bred) daughter of Shamardal, and she gets the same four-pound weight break as Lady Aurelia from the boys.

The two boys are the Clive Cox-trained Tis Marvellous and O’Brien’s deputy, Peace Envoy. While Peace Envoy is in the shadow of stablemates Caravaggio and Churchill, the Ballydoyle runner is on the upswing at the moment and exits his first Group win in the July 16 Anglesey (G3).

Tis Marvellous has won his past two convincingly, stepping up from a Windsor maiden to capture the July 24 Prix Robert Papin (G2). Like Alrahma, the interlocking form puts him behind Lady Aurelia. Al Johrah, beaten seven lengths when second to Lady Aurelia in the Queen Mary, was recently a 2 1/2-length runner-up to Tis Marvellous in the Papin. The better ground and extra distance last time, however, could have put her in a better light. Her owners, Al Shaqab Racing, are giving Al Johrah another chance against both on Sunday.

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