Racetrack.Royalty arrives at Woodbine Racetrack for the Pattison Canadian International. Dartmouth grazzes with assit lad Kashef Hussain at Woodbine since arriving from England late last night.Owned by Her Majesty the Queen and trained by Sir Michael Stoute,Dartmouth will attempt to capture the $ 1,000,000 dollar race at Woodbine on Sunday October 16, 2016.
An additional nine horses touched down at Pearson International Airport on Monday night as part of a massive European-based contingent set to compete on Sunday’s lucrative Pattison Canadian International card, at Woodbine.
The group includes International hopefuls Dartmouth and Protectionist; E.P. Taylor contenders Aim to Please, Banzari, Diploma, Nezwaah, Parvaneh and Swiss Range; and five-year-old mare Divine who will face the boys in the E.P. Taylor.
They join Erupt who arrived over the weekend. International contender Idaho and E.P. Taylor starter Best In The World are slated to arrive here from Ireland on Wednesday afternoon for trainer Aidan O’Brien.
Dartmouth and Diploma, who will be racing for Her Royal Highness, are both trained by Sir Michael Stoute, who will be looking for his third straight win in the Canadian International after scoring with Cannock Chase last year and Hillstar in 2014.
Kerry Jones, who is in charge of the Stoute runners here, was pleased with their condition on Tuesday morning.
“They haven’t done that much traveling,” said Jones, noting that neither Dartmouth nor Diploma had raced outside England. “They’ve really stepped up to the plate; they’ve handled it well.”
Dartmouth, a four-year-old bred in England, has won seven of his 14 career outings and will be looking to become a Grade 1 winner on Sunday. The colt comes off a second-place finish over 1 3/8 miles of good-to-soft going at Newbury on Sept. 17.
Diploma, a homebred three-year-old, disappointed in her last outing in York’s 1 1/8 mile Strensall Stakes, a 1 3/8 mile race over 1 1/8 miles of good going at York on Aug. 20.
Jones said that both horses will be looking for firm turf on Sunday and are expected to put their best feet forward.
“They’re not here to look good around the paddock,” said Jones.
Protectionist, a 6-year-old horse who is based in Germany, is the most accomplished member of the Canadian International field as a multiple Group 1 winner of some $ 3.5 million.
Owned by Australian Bloodlines and trained by Andreas Woehler, Protectionist won the Group 1 Melbourne Cup when campaigning in Australia last year and is coming off a convincing tally in a Group 1 in his homeland.
Marketa Talar, here with Protectionist, said the veteran arrived in good order.
“He’s a great traveler.” said Talar.
Protectionist will be Woehler’s fourth Canadian International starter with his best finish a runner-up by Paolini in 2001.
Parvaneh, owned by Darius Racing and trained by Waldemar Hickst, is here from Germany for the E.P. Taylor. A 3-year-old, Parvaneh has Group 2 and Group 3 wins on her resume.
“She’s doing great,” said Radion Hennig, who accompanied Parvaneh on her long journey.
Hickst will be represented by his third E.P. Taylor starter, with Lacey (2015) and Almerita (2006) both unplaced.
Divine, a bay daughter of Dark Angel trained by Mick Channon, will take on a probable field of nine in Sunday’s Grade 2 $ 300,000 Nearctic Stakes, a six furlong turf sprint.
The well-travelled mare is accompanied on her journey by assistant Jack Channon and exercise rider Lenka Helmecka.
“Divine handled the trip perfect. Nothing bothers her,” said Channon. “She’s been to Dubai and Ireland before and takes it all in her stride. She’s calm and collected and has eaten up and drank all her fluids. I’m very happy.”
A five-time winner from 24 starts for owners Mohammed Al Qatami and Khalid Al Mudhaf, Divine’s connections will be hoping the recent good weather in Toronto holds for Sunday’s event.
“She likes to get cover and come with one late run. Fingers crossed everything will go to plan. She doesn’t want any cut in the ground,” said Channon.
Divine, who took the Group 3 Ballyogan Stakes at the Curragh in June, has kept good company of late including a second-place run to The Tin Man at Newbury on July 16.
“She finished second against the colts in the Hackwood Stakes, defeated just a head to The Tin Man who just finished second in a Group 1 at Haydock,” said Channon. “There’s not many filly sprint races for her. She needs six furlongs and fast ground and this is somewhere we think she can get it.”
The Channon outfit has enjoyed great success at Woodbine with limited starters winning the Grade 1 E.P. Taylor in 2009 with their first starter Lahaleeb. They returned a year later with Gallic Star, for the same event, and finished seventh.
“We have good memories here and fingers crossed we can make it two out of three,” said Channon. “Divine runs for the same owners as Lahaleeb as well. Hopefully, it’s lucky for us.”
Swiss Range, a three-year-old daughter of Zamindar trained by John Gosden, will be contesting her third Group 1 in a row in Sunday’s E.P. Taylor Stakes. She is joined on her journey to Canada by travelling head lad Andrew Stringer and exercise rider Alex Owen who took the filly out for a trot over Woodbine’s Tapeta main track this morning.
“The first 12 hours she’s settled in really well. She’s eating well and drinking well,” said Stringer. “She just had a look around the track this morning. She had a walk and trot around just to get her familiar with her surroundings. We’re very happy with how she did that.”
Swiss Range won back-to-back starts earlier this year at Newmarket, winning in a one-mile maiden event before taking a listed race over 1 1/4-miles.
“She was very promising in the spring of the year, winning two starts,” said Stringer. “She’s since run a big race in the Group 1 French Oaks beaten four lengths behind a good filly trained by Jean-Claude Rouget called La Cressonniere.
“She also ran well in a Group 1 at Goodwood called the Nassau,” continued Stringer. “She’s been kept for a good race like this one and hopefully she’ll run well.”
Swiss Range, who would prefer firmer footing, could be part of the pace in the E.P. Taylor which boasts a probable field of 14.
“She likes to take the lead really,” said Stringer. “She showed her better form on a sounder surface, but she has run well on good French ground which is probably on the slow side, but preferably we’d like not to see any rain.”
Nezwaah, trained by Roger Varian for Sheikh Ahmed Al Maktoum, has won three of six starts. Interestingly, all three of those victories have come on synthetic footing.
The Dubawi bay arrives at Woodbine from a good second in the John Musker Stakes at Yarmouth, a 1 1/4-mile turf event, when second, defeated just a half-length by So Mi Dar who came back to run third in the Group 1 Prix De L’Opera at Chantilly.
“It was one of her better runs and she seems to be getting better,” said travelling head lad Michael McGowan of the Yarmouth effort.
Nezwaah walked the shedrow this morning and will get a chance to stretch her legs on Wednesday.
“We couldn’t be happier. She’s travelled over good,” said McGowan.
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