Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) heroine Found was slated to have a busy spring, and summer break, in advance of a fall centering upon the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (G1). The first half of her campaign just got busier with an added stop in Saturday’s Coronation Cup (G1) at Epsom, where she’ll have to up her game against the streaking Postponed.
Nurtured by former trainer Luca Cumani to an ultra-game decision in last summer’s King George VI & Queen Elizabeth (G1) and a workmanlike success in the Prix Foy (G2), Postponed was suddenly transferred to Roger Varian. His new trainer understandably took his time to get to know the high-class son of Dubawi, who has continued his ascent for the new yard.
After a smooth reappearance in the Dubai City of Gold (G2) on “Super Saturday” at Meydan, Postponed defied the stats to become the first winner of that local prep to annex the Dubai Sheema Classic (G1) on World Cup night. And he did so in a course-record 2:26.97 for about 1 1/2 miles on turf.
Postponed puts his four-race winning streak on the line in this Epsom debut. Opponents will have to hope that he doesn’t take to the camber, or else he’ll be tough to beat with regular rider Andrea Atzeni.
Found returns to 1 1/2 miles for the first time since upending Golden Horn in a hard-fought Breeders’ Cup at Keeneland. The Aidan O’Brien filly has had mixed results reverting to 1 1/4 miles at the Curragh this spring. She was expected to need the outing in the April 3 Alleged on heavy ground, where she was tenderly handled in a distant third. Found made the forecast improvement in the May 2 Mooresbridge (G3), defeating Success Days and Fascinating Rock, who’d beaten her in the Champion (G1) at Ascot in October.
But Fascinating Rock was still dusting off the cobwebs as usual in that reappearance, and he was a different proposition in their rematch in the May 22 Tattersalls Gold Cup (G1). Fascinating Rock handed Found a comprehensive, 3 3/4-length defeat that day, possibly influencing her plans.
Found’s original itinerary was expected to include the June 15 Prince of Wales’s (G1) at Royal Ascot, and for all we know, still might. But given her defeat in the Tattersalls Gold Cup, she might be better suited to 1 1/2 miles at this stage of her career. And lying in wait at Royal Ascot is the Japanese beast A Shin Hikari, who followed up his Hong Kong Cup (G1) heroics in December with a tour de force in last Tuesday’s Prix d’Ispahan (G1) at Chantilly. The Coronation Cup might have started to look a bit more attractive for Found.
Fittingly styled the “Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Cup” this time, the about 1 1/2-mile contest on the Derby undercard is bristling with high-class female representation. St Leger (G1) star Simple Verse and Juddmonte International (G1) upsetter Arabian Queen add to the strength in depth.
Although Simple Verse scored her classic victory going longer at Doncaster, the Ralph Beckett trainee has proven her quality at this trip when taking the British Champions Fillies & Mares (G1) in October and finishing a clear second to Exosphere on reappearance in the April 30 Jockey Club (G2) at Newmarket.
Arabian Queen, whose half-sister Australian Queen tries the Oaks (G1) on Friday, isn’t nearly as consistent. Yet unlike Found and Simple Verse, Arabian Queen is proven around Epsom’s unique gradients when bolting up in the Princess Elizabeth (G3) a year ago. Her signature win came at the expense of Golden Horn at York last summer, but she also performed well during her runner-up effort to Usherette last out in the May 1 Dahlia (G2) at Newmarket. In the interim, Arabian Queen missed an intended start in the Middleton (G2) due to sinus trouble. While her proficiency at this distance has yet to be established, she ought to get it with no problem on pedigree.
The Corsican, whose younger brother Deauville is in Saturday’s Derby (G1), could interrupt the “Postponed versus the ladies” theme. Trained by David Simcock, The Corsican was a progressive type last season who wasn’t beaten far in fourth in the Prince of Wales’s. He hasn’t been seen to best effect yet in 2016, finishing seventh in the Dubai Turf (G1) and fifth in the Prix Ganay (G1), but he’s liable to appreciate the step up in trip. [In a tragic update, The Corsican suffered a fatal injury on the gallops Wednesday. RIP.]
Cumani’s Second Step has achieved his best results at this distance, getting up in time in last year’s Jockey Club and Grosser Preis von Berlin (G1). Sidelined since his debacle in the Canadian International (G1), he resurfaced with a close third in the May 13 Yorkshire Cup (G2) at 1 3/4 miles. While he’s cutting back in trip here, it remains to be seen how he’ll cope with Epsom.
Star Storm looked bound for big things when signing off last year with a good-looking score in Ascot’s Cumberland Lodge (G3), but he’s failed to progress with two poor losses this term. Master Carpenter, a fringe Group player thus far, looks out of his depth. Roseburg served as Postponed’s pacemaker in the Foy, and Ajman Bridge has the same connections.
Found photo copyright Breeders’ Cup Ltd.