Euro Charline: a success story that could have been even greater

Profile Picture: Kellie Reilly

July 8th, 2016

“The saddest day of my career to announce the brilliant Euro Charline has been retired due to injury.”

So commented trainer Marco Botti Wednesday on Twitter, after Team Valor International’s globetrotting mare was retired due to a tendon injury. She was all set to contest Friday’s Falmouth (G1) at Newmarket, in which she had finished a strong second last year.

“In the lead up to the Group 1 Falmouth Stakes on Friday,” Team Valor CEO Barry Irwin said, “she’s done a tendon breezing on the all weather gallop, which last week took a lot of rain.”

Euro Charline ranks as the richest distaffer ever campaigned by Team Valor, with $2,353,010 in career earnings, and she has entered Arlington history as the only 3-year-old filly to win the Beverly D. (G1).

Nevertheless, there must be a touch of “what might have been” for a high-class performer who could have padded her resume further, but for unfortunate circumstances and injury.

Euro Charline started her life as a bargain-basement weanling, selling for a scant 800 guineas ($1,330) as a Tattersalls February yearling. At the same venue in October 2012, Italian-based Scuderia Blueberry purchased her for 13,000 guineas ($22,008).

A smashing winner of her first two starts on Wolverhampton’s all-weather, Euro Charline was snapped up by Team Valor but remained with Botti. She proved herself on the class hike at Newmarket when second in the 2014 Nell Gwyn (G3) and a respectable fifth in the 1000 Guineas (G1).

Euro Charline began to show that she might be something even better in Royal Ascot’s Coronation (G1), rallying for a slightly unlucky third. She roared back with a front-running victory over the same course and one-mile trip in the Valiant, where she came again to rebuff the challenge of Kiyoshi.

That set Euro Charline up for her signature win in the Beverly D. Stretching out beyond a mile for the first time, and facing a deep and talented field of her elders, she rolled from off the pace to win handsomely. Stephanie’s Kitten and Just the Judge, second and third, were among the vanquished who kept flattering the Beverly D. form for the rest of the season.


But by that point, Euro Charline wasn’t in a position to build on her own success. Transferred to Todd Pletcher for a U.S. campaign that was slated to include the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup (G1) and Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1), she sustained an injury in training and had an ankle chip surgically removed.

Euro Charline rejoined Botti in Newmarket and set her sights on an ambitious comeback in the 2015 Dubai Turf (G1) versus males. Too fresh off the seven-month holiday, she over-raced on the lead and tired for fourth behind the streaking Solow. Yet she was beaten only a shade over a length by runner-up The Grey Gatsby, with Mshawish nearby in third.

Next on the itinerary was the Duke of Cambridge (G2) at Royal Ascot, but the starters didn’t give her a lot of time after she initially refused to load, and sent the rest of the field on their way as she stood bereft at the gate.

Thus Euro Charline’s British return, and second start back from surgery, didn’t come until last July’s Falmouth. She acquitted herself very well when just succumbing to the red-hot Amazing Maria, and a return trip to the Beverly D. beckoned. Unfortunately, Arlington’s rain-softened ground was against Euro Charline, who didn’t help her own cause by striding forward to lead early, and she wound up fourth. The script unfolded the same way in the Matron (G1) at a yielding Leopardstown, with Euro Charline again fading to fifth.

Not seen again until the March 3 Balanchine (G2) at Dubai’s Meydan, Euro Charline advertised that she was returning to her best by closing strongly for second to loose-on-the-lead Very Special. She duly progressed versus males in the March 26 Dubai Turf (G1), beating all bar Japan’s Real Steel. The Dubai Turf form has taken a series of knocks in the interim, but she ran a mighty race as the runner-up.


Euro Charline kept to male company in the May 14 Lockinge (G1) at Newbury, again emerging with plenty of credit when second to Belardo. That result took on added significance after Belardo finished second to Tepin in the Queen Anne (G1) at Royal Ascot.

Botti set Euro Charline in advance for the Falmouth, but we’ll never know how she would have fared against Godolphin revelation Usherette. [Update: Since Usherette flopped, she would have been no threat to Euro Charline at all. The better question is how she would have fared while giving weight to victorious sophomore Alice Springs.] Could Euro Charline have achieved an elusive European Group 1 victory here or at some other point? Possibly, in the right spot, if things fell into place, if she didn’t bump into a star 3-year-old filly getting a weight concession, and if she relaxed early on her preferred quick ground. While that’s a list of prerequisites that may never have come to pass, Euro Charline’s better than some who manage to hang a European Group 1 laurel next to their name.

“Euro Charline was one of the best horses I have trained,” Botti said. “She was not the luckiest horse to be fair and a couple of her seconds very well could have been firsts.”

Botti’s Prestige Place will consign Euro Charline at the Tattersalls December Sale.

“While her family is not out of the top drawer,” the trainer added, “she will prove popular with breeders at the sale because she looks the part.”

Not only can high-class racemares be evaluated more leniently on pedigree, but her bloodlines aren’t that bad.

Indeed, sire Myboycharlie is looking more interesting than he did when Euro Charline sold as a member of his first European crop. It doesn’t hurt that his top performers are fillies (Australian Group 1 stars Jameeka and Peggy Jean as well as current French Group 3 winner/Group 1-place Camprock), suggesting that he might turn out to be a useful broodmare sire as well.

Although Euro Charline’s immediate female line isn’t noteworthy, you don’t have to look far down the catalog page to find significant black-type. Under fourth dam Dark Finale one finds Pure Grain, Fine Grain, and Soviet Line.

And as a Danehill-line mare, Euro Charline would be a suitable bride for Galileo’s tribe.

Photo courtesy of Team Valor