Interpol arrests Habibi’s rally for Northern Dancer upset

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Jen Caldwell

September 13th, 2015

Interpol parlayed a neck victory in the Sky Classic S. (Can-G2) on August 16 into a half-length triumph at 10-1 in Sunday’s $255,874 Northern Dancer Turf S. (Can-G1) at Woodbine.

The Sid Attard-trained four-year-old held a slim advantage through a pedestrian opening quarter of :26.13 before last-out Breeders’ S. victor Danish Dynaformer took over. Interpol yielded to that classic-winning rival but maintained contact as Danish Dynaformer posted splits of :52.28 and 1:17.90.

Turning for home, Interpol received a nudge from jockey Emma-Jayne Wilson and moved up to run in tandem with Danish Dynaformer into the lane. He slowly began pulling way while the rest of the field bunched up behind him and crossed under the finish line a half-length winner.

Habibi nearly collared Interpol when putting in a game late run after angling over to the inside. The six-year-old mare traveled wide over Woodbine’s yielding turf throughout the 1 1/2-mile affair before moving to the rail, but just came up short at 17-1 as Interpol stopped the clock in 2:33.56.

It was 3 1/4 lengths behind Habibi to Grade/Group 2 hero Triple Threat, who in turn had a head up on 8-5 favorite Lucky Speed. That latter runner, winner of the 2013 German Derby (Ger-G1), was exiting a nice win in the American St. Leger (G3) on August 15.

Campaigned by JMJ Racing Stables, Interpol has done well for himself this year. The bay son of English Channel stayed a maiden for nearly all of his 2014 season, including a close second in last year’s Breeders’ S., but finally broke through with a first win on September 20 in his sophomore finale.

He opened 2015 with a score against allowance/optional claiming rivals, ran fourth against one level better next out then cleared that condition on June 21.

A one-paced fifth in the Nijinsky S. (Can-G2) in July, Interpol was sent off at 21-1 in the Sky Classic and continued his upsetting ways in this spot.

Interpol photo courtesy of WEG/Michael Burns Photography


Jockey Emma-Jayne Wilson – “I was (comfortable with my position throughout the race).  Sid said earlier this morning with us going a mile and a half we would probably be sitting a little closer. I wasn’t sure about the pace make-up. I was happy if I was going to lead him along. I knew as we turned for home if I could get a head in front like last time he’d be real tough. Very few horses can keep their head in front for the entire length of the stretch, but he seems to enjoy it and wants to be there so I just let him run his race.”

Trainer Sid Attard – “Not really (confident). Like today, it was soft grass, it was a tougher race so I said we’ll hope for the best. I said to Emma-Jayne, ‘What can I tell you? I didn’t tell you nothing last time. I am going to tell you nothing. The only thing I am going to say (is) it is going to be closer today.’ ‘Don’t worry about nothing,’ she said. She rode him perfect.”

“He likes a month off, this horse – a month off, gallop him a couple of weeks, you work him. He likes to work a week apart. He’s been feeling really good. He’s been eating good. He’s been a fantastic horse.”