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First top-level winner for Coulsty as Shantisara dominates QEII Challenge Cup

The Keeneland winner was bred in Ireland by Oliver Donlon

Shantisara: first top-level winner for Rathasker Stud's Coulsty in the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup at Keeneland
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Patiently handled by her connections, the Irish-bred Shantisara drew off to a record-setting five-length victory in the Queen Elizabeth II Challenge Cup Stakes at Keeneland on Saturday.

The Chad Brown trainee is the first top-level winner for her sire Coulsty and is from the first crop of Rathasker Stud's son of Kodiac, who stood the 2021 season for a fee of €4,000.

A 10,000gns purchase by Federico Barberini from Aguiar Bloodstock at last year's Tattersalls Guineas Breeze-Up Sale, the winner initially raced in France before being imported to the US, where she is now three from four for owners Michael Dubb, Madaket Stables and Robert Lapenta.

The 1m1f turf test for sophomore fillies featured a one-two finish for Brown, as Shantisara ran down her pace-setting stablemate Technical Analysis and drew clear with a strong turn of foot to win going away on yielding turf under Flavien Prat.

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It marked the second Saturday in a row that Brown has saddled a one-two in a Grade 1 race at Keeneland. In the First Lady Stakes, Blowout and Regal Glory provided owner Peter Brant and Brown with the exacta. It was also a record fourth victory in the race for Brown, following Dayatthespa (2012), Rushing Fall (2018), and Cambier Parc (2019) to break a tie he held with Jimmy Toner and John Veitch.

The QEII further marked Brown's eighth Graded victory this month.

Brown watched the race from Belmont Park after winning the only other Graded event on the Saturday slate, the Sands Point Stakes, with Fluffy Socks. He entered Shantisara off a win in the Jockey Club Oaks Invitational Stakes at Belmont on the heels of a Pucker Up Stakes score at Arlington.

"She's a monster right now," he said of the filly. "She has been training out of her mind. I'm so proud and appreciative of the ownership group with Michael Dubb, Sol Kumin and Bob Lapenta that we took a patient approach. They didn't push me into a big race at Saratoga with her and we went to Arlington instead of tackling the big races at that point, which was important for her."

Technical Analysis led the field of nine under mild pressure from Empress Josephine, with Shantisara tracking third as Burning Ambition raced in a close fourth. As the field turned for home, however, Shantisara wasted little time wresting control.

"It was a good run," said Prat, who has been aboard Shantisara for her three consecutive victories for Brown. "I was really pleased with the draw [post 3], to be honest. I thought the good horses were around me, and I was able to keep tracking them.

"She made a really good move around the turn - she came really handy around the turn - and when I asked her to make a move she responded well. I was traveling super and, like I said, when it was time to go, she was there for me."

"Flavien gave her a great ride," Brown remarked. "He gets position and gives you a chance to win every time." 

Shantisara, bred by Oliver Donlon, is the lone winner from three foals produced by the late Dalakhani mare Kharana. Saturday's score increased her earnings to $788,108 with five wins and two seconds from nine starts.

"We won two big races today with modestly bred horses," Brown said. "It goes to show that when these horses come into our programme, it doesn't matter who they are or who they're bred by. We get them into the programme and allow them to develop, and this is another reward for our hard-working stable."

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It goes to show that when these horses come into our programme, it doesn't matter who they are or who they're bred by
E.W. Terms