Classic heroine Heaven bids to step up on fine Sheema second
Dunaden Jockey Club Stakes | Group 2| 1m4f | 4yo+ | ITV/RUK
Seventh Heaven arrives with the best recent form, having finished a gallant second to Jack Hobbs in the Dubai Sheema Classic.
That performance puts her 1lb ahead of French challenger One Foot In Heaven, while her fillies’ allowance is cancelled out by a 3lb penalty for her Group 1 wins in the Irish and Yorkshire Oaks last term.
One Foot In Heaven showed excellent form at this trip last season, with decent efforts in the Arc and Hong Kong Vase sandwiching his win in the Group 2 Prix du Conseil de Paris.
Out of champion racemare Pride, he has proved effective on good ground and will be much better suited to this test than when not knocked about over an inadequate ten furlongs on his comeback at Chantilly.
Galapiat has looked well above the handicap company he has kept in two starts since leaving Andre Fabre to join Mark Johnston, who trained his Group 1-winning dam Lady Jane Digby.
Another ex-Fabre horse, Cleonte, has his first start for Andrew Balding. The form of Cleonte’s defeat of Marmelo at Deauville last August was given a timely boost by the runner-up winning at Chantilly last Sunday, although that came over a mile and seven furlongs.
Race-fitness might have flattered Pinzolo in terms of his proximity to Convey at Lingfield in February, but it would be no surprise if he ran better than odds of 50-1 suggest.
Weighty issue for Seventh Heaven
In the last decade Sixties Icon (2007) and Jukebox Jury (2010) have carried Group 1 penalties to success in this race but, more recently, it has been hard going for the elite runners. Seventh Heaven is the only one of this year's field to carry a penalty, the last five who did so having all been beaten.
What they say
Andrew Balding, trainer of Cleonte
He's a grand horse and to my mind is probably going to be better over quite a bit further in time. This is very much a stepping stone for what we want to try to achieve with him later in the season.
Mark Johnston, trainer of Galapiat
He's up considerably in grade and will have to find again. But this is where we're looking now and we see no reason why he shouldn’t be up to this level. We know with this family they improve with age and distance. This is the ideal trip and I think he'll handle the ground, so I’m very hopeful.
Alain de Royer-Dupre, trainer of One Foot In Heaven
The horse is well but I just hope the ground will have enough give in it. His dam was better on soft ground, although she ran very well on quicker going, as when second in the Arc. He might be that bit more sensitive to underfoot conditions. Jim [Crowley] rode a sprint filly of mine before and is a high-class jockey, while One Foot In Heaven is not complicated.
Ismail Mohammed, trainer of Pinzolo
We've been very happy with his work. Probably a bit of rain would have helped him, on his breeding. It'll be nice ground and, difficult as they are, these are the type of races he has to run in. He seems in good form and we're hopeful he can pick up a bit of money.
Aidan O'Brien, trainer of Seventh Heaven
She did very well last season, winning the Irish Oaks and Yorkshire Oaks, and we were very pleased with her run at Meydan in March when she finished second in the Sheema Classic. She'll like the ground and trip and we've been very happy with her since Meydan.