Breeders' Cup International Scouting Report: Lipizzaner

December 31st, 2020

Having begun his career pre-lockdown in March, Lipizzaner just scored a career high toward the end of October, and the Aidan O’Brien pupil looks to prolong his late-season momentum in the Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint.

The $650,000 Keeneland September yearling is a son of Uncle Mo and Irish Lights, winner of Caulfield’s Thousand Guineas (G1) in 2009. The Fastnet Rock mare is also the dam of Australian Group 2 winner Omei Sword, runner-up in the 2016 Golden Rose (G1).

Lipizzaner was ready to start way back on Mar. 23, the first day of the Irish Flat season, and placed a promising second in a 5-furlong maiden. Showing speed to attend the pace on the soft-to-heavy going, he could not hold off the strong rally of Jim Bolger’s well-regarded Poetic Flare, the joint 2-1 favorites pulling clear of the rest. Poetic Flare was sidelined until last month, but recently enhanced his reputation by taking the Oct. 17 Killavullan (G3). 

When Irish racing resumed post-lockdown June 8, Lipizzaner was second again in a hot 6-furlong maiden at Naas. The odds-on favorite appeared to make the winning move from mid pack on good-to-firm, only to have Lucky Vega come back to claim the spoils. Lucky Vega has gone on to win the Phoenix (G1), and having an educational tour in that same maiden was Battleground (Juvenile Turf).

Lipizzaner wheeled back for the June 19 Norfolk (G2) at Royal Ascot, but didn’t break sharply and lagged well behind Golden Pal’s early pace. Gradually gaining, he worked his way into a belated fourth as The Lir Jet (Juvenile Turf) wore down Golden Pal.

Freshened until Sept. 5, Lipizzaner finally prevailed in a 5-furlong event at Navan. It wasn’t a stroll in the park for the odds-on favorite who had to put away a pace challenge and rebuff a closer, but he showed his characteristically willing attitude.

Lipizzaner next tried the Sept. 26 Middle Park (G1), but retreated to sixth after chasing front-running hero Supremacy. Old foe Lucky Vega stayed on better to take runner-up honors. Off a beat slow in the 6 1/2-furlong Anglesey (G3) at the Curragh Oct. 11, Lipizzaner picked up from off the pace in a solid second.

Coming right back 13 days later, Lipizzaner put himself in position early with a better break, and scored in the 6-furlong Doncaster S. Heavy going was no impediment, and he wore down free-wheeling Just Frank, who’d run away with the Tattersalls October Auction race in his prior start.

A prompt start is essential here, although Lipizzaner might still find things happening a bit fast around a turning 5 1/2 furlongs.