Roaring Lion; Winner of the Royal Lodge Stakes

by Alastair Bull

Premier U.S. turf sire Kitten’s Joy hasn’t had a huge representation in Europe to date, but he’s got another good horse flying the flag for him in the Royal Lodge Stakes (G2) winner Roaring Lion.

Despite drifting to the center of the straight Rowley Mile under pressure near the finish, Roaring Lion had enough to hold out the Aidan O’Brien-trained Nelson to take the Royal Lodge.

The race carries automatic entry into the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) at Del Mar Nov. 3, and trainer John Gosden said he would consider it along with the Racing Post Trophy (G1) at Doncaster Oct. 28. Gosden said the greater chance of firm going might sway him toward Del Mar, where he would be a great chance to give his sire consecutive successes in the race following that of Oscar Performance last year.

The Royal Lodge is also one of the seven races that form part of the new European Road to the Kentucky Derby – as is the Racing Post Trophy – and Roaring Lion now shares the lead in that series with Saxon Warrior and Happily. But his pedigree suggests there would be serious question marks over Roaring Lion’s ability to perform on dirt.

It’s hard to find any black type performances by progeny o Kitten’s Joy that aren’t on turf, and many of those that did succeeded on synthetic tracks rather than dirt, and this is reinforced by Roaring Lion’s female pedigree, which is dominated by U.S. turf horses.

Roaring Lion is the first foal of Vionnet (Street Sense), whose best career performance was on turf, a third-place finish in the Rodeo Drive Stakes (G1). Vionnet is a daughter of Cambiocorsa (Avenue of Flags), a multiple graded stakes winner on turf, as was Cambiocorsa’s sister California Flag. Cambiocorsa has produced three stakes winners, all on turf.

Adding to the doubts about Roaring Lion’s Kentucky Derby prospects is the fact that most of the form on his dam’s line is over sprint distances, even though Kitten’s Joy will provide plenty of stamina.

It would pay therefore to be cautious about his Kentucky Derby prospects unless he follows the European Road to the Kentucky Derby path next March and shows form on the synthetic tracks – and synthetic track form is no guarantee of form on dirt either. But at his best he’ll be a good chance for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf if he makes the journey.

Additional Prep Race Pedigree Profiles:

BULL: Iroquois Stakes, The Tabulator

BULL: FrontRunner Stakes, Bolt d’Oro

BULL: Beresford Stakes, Saxon Warrior (JPN)

BULL: Royal Lodge Stakes, Roaring Lion