Breeders' Cup International Horse Profile: Glounthaune

December 30th, 2021

Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf

Aidan O’Brien has won the Juvenile Turf four times, but only once with a favorite, Mendelssohn at a lukewarm 9-2, at Del Mar in 2017. His other three winners were overlooked to various degrees – Wrote (11-1 in 2011), George Vancouver (9-1 in 2012), and Hit It a Bomb (7-1 in 2015). Although 2021 candidate Glounthaune’s profile isn’t a neat fit with theirs, he is the type who can take a substantial step forward in this race at 12-1 on the morning line.

The 350,000-guineas Tattersalls October yearling was bred by Tally-Ho Stud. A son of their prolific stallion Kodiac (best known stateside as the sire of Campanelle), he is out of a well-related Nayef mare. This is the immediate family of Ballydoyle stablemates Santiago, last year ’s Irish Derby (G1) winner, and multiple Group 1-placed La Joconde, who was pre-entered in the Filly & Mare Turf but didn’t ship. Further maternal relatives include multiple Group 1-winning sire Tamarkuz and recent British Champions Fillies & Mares (G1) heroine Eshaada, descending from the same line responsible for blue hen Urban Sea (dam of Sea the Stars and Galileo).

Glounthaune was the 9-4 joint favorite in his Apr. 17 Curragh debut along with Castle Star, who had just missed in his own fine premiere. The market had it pegged as they fought out the finish, but it was the firster Glounthaune who prevailed. Breaking alertly and on or near the lead throughout the six-furlong maiden, Glounthaune subdued a pace rival, only to meet a fresh challenge from Castle Star. That might have felt like running the gauntlet, especially on debut, but Glounthaune repelled him by a neck.

Unfortunately, Glounthaune missed all the major two-year-old events over the summer. As he was sidelined, Castle Star went on to advertise his merit. After victories in the First Flier and Marble Hill (G3), Castle Star was runner-up in both the Railway (G2) and Middle Park (G1).

Glounthaune wasn’t ready to return until the Oct. 9 Dewhurst (G 1), an ambitious comeback spot at Newmarket. Stablemate Tenebrism had just won the Cheveley Park (G1) in similar circumstances, having been off since her stellar debut. But Glounthaune could not emulate her, partly because the 20-1 shot went to his knees out of the gate, and mainly because it was a different sort of race over seven furlongs, with deeper opposition. Racing tandem with eventual winner (and presumptive juvenile champion) Native Trail just off the pace early, he got shuffled back to last, steered toward the stands’ side rail, and managed to pass a couple of rivals in sixth.

Back the very next Saturday for the Killavullan (G3) at Leopardstown, Glounthaune rebounded as a 5-1 chance. He raced within striking range early and became part of the cavalry charge to the wire, finding more late in the seven-furlong test to get up by a half-length. The form doesn’t look too exciting at the moment, and Boundless Ocean was a luckless fourth on the rail. But it’s reassurance that Glounthaune is back in business. Jockey Seamie Heffernan told that he has “loads to come,” and believes that a mile would be his optimal trip.

At that point, I thought that Glounthaune would enter Breeders’ Cup calculations straightaway. But he was slated to wheel back again for the Oct. 23 Criterium International (G1). O’Brien ended up withdrawing him due to an unspecified “little setback.” It’s just as well since the ground was very soft at Saint-Cloud, and he probably didn’t need to go through that in his third race in three weeks. Then he promptly turned up in the Juvenile Turf pre-entries after all.

Glounthaune has to improve to reverse form with Dewhurst runner-up Dubawi Legend at Del Mar. But he hasn’t scratched the surface of his potential. If you take his debut win over Castle Star as a big hint, we’ll be hearing a lot more from Glounthaune. And if the hiccup that kept him out of France is meaningless, he could be poised for his best effort yet.