Summer and Natalma international scouting reports: Albahr, Wild Beauty

September 17th, 2021

Canadian International (G1) contender Walton Street has brought a couple of Charlie Appleby stablemates along for Sunday’s Breeders’ Cup Challenge races at Woodbine. Wild Beauty sports an arguably stronger formline in the Natalma (G1), a “Win and You’re In” for the Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1), than Albahr does in the Summer (G1) that offers a spot in the Juvenile Turf (G1). Yet the Natalma strikes me as the deeper race of the two.

Natalma Stakes – Wild Beauty

British-based fillies nearly won the Natalma three years in a row pre-pandemic. Capla Temptress (2017) and Appleby’s La Pelosa (2018) made it two straight for the internationals, and Walk in Marrakesh was a nose away in 2019.

Wild Beauty’s resume stacks up to theirs, although this Natalma might prove to be an above-average renewal. She’s coming off a placing in the Sweet Solera (G3), just as both Capla Temptress and La Pelosa did on the way to Woodbine, and that might not even be her top talking point.

Wild Beauty is a homebred daughter of unbeaten phenom Frankel and the Pivotal mare Tulips. A stakes winner in France, Tulips placed in a couple of Group 3s at six and seven furlongs. She descends from multiple Group 1 heroine Cherokee Rose, ancestress of Godolphin’s 2009 St Leger (G1) victor Mastery and Mukhadram among others.

Favored in her May 7 debut at Newmarket, Wild Beauty was a non-threatening sixth in a five-furlong dash. A barnstorming third in that same race was Eve Lodge, who just beat boys in the Sept. 4 Sirenia (G3).

Wild Beauty was savvier next time out at Haydock, where she appreciated a sixth furlong and justified even-money favoritism. Stalking the pace on soft ground, she pulled three lengths clear of Magnolia State, who had trouble getting through but didn’t look like beating the winner.

Up to seven furlongs for a Newbury novice, Wild Beauty again reveled on soft going to win in similar style. Toting top weight of 135 pounds, the odds-on favorite beat a couple of subsequent winners, including Kawida.

In the Star S. on good-to-firm at Sandown, Wild Beauty was no match for a serious operator in Inspiral. Held up in midpack early, Wild Beauty wandered around when first trying to improve, and saw Inspiral breeze right past her. Yet Wild Beauty displayed a good attitude to stay on and snatch second. Inspiral has since dominated the May Hill (G2) with the same degree of ruthlessness, and the unbeaten filly is now all the rage for next spring’s 1000 Guineas (G1).

Wild Beauty was favored in the Aug. 7 Sweet Solera, but found herself upstaged by Majestic Glory. Racing in touch on the outside, she took time to reach top gear and still changed her leads a few times. Wild Beauty couldn’t get to Majestic Glory, who was subsequently snapped up by Doreen Tabor.

The step up to a mile here should suit her well, and the tactical type figures to keep herself in good position. Wild Beauty wouldn’t mind some rain as she meets a few bluebloods with plenty of upside.

Summer Stakes – Albahr

The Dubawi gelding is closely related to Master of the Seas, a Group 2 winner who missed by inches in this spring’s 2000 Guineas (G1). Albahr is a half to Cascadian, hero of Australia’s Doncaster H. (G1) in April. Both are out of the 2012 UAE Oaks (G3) victress Falls of Lora. A daughter of Street Cry, Falls of Lora is herself a half to Master of the Seas (by Dubawi) as well as to Group 1 runner-up Latharnach.

The 5-2 favorite in his six-furlong unveiling at York May 13, Albahr raced greenly off the pace but kept on for third. The 28-1 upsetter, Lusail, went on to capture the July (G2) and Gimcrack (G2).

Albahr hasn’t lost since. In a seven-furlong Haydock novice, the odds-on choice showed good speed to attend the pacesetter. He had to work to get past, but prevailed by a neck as they drew seven lengths clear of the rest.

Gelded soon after, Albahr had less difficulty establishing his supremacy over the same track and trip July 14. Dashing to the lead under top weight of 135 pounds, the chestnut opened up in juvenile course-record time.

Albahr climbed the next step on the class ladder in a listed stakes, the Aug. 20 Stonehenge S. at Salisbury. Justifying odds-on favoritism for the third straight race, he traveled well in second, and appeared poised to assert as the headstrong pacesetter faded. But fellow stalker Power of Beauty stayed with him, and the two bumped in a stretch duel. Albahr had to pull out extra to see off the challenge by three-quarters of a length. Although Power of Beauty disappointed in his next start, a two-week turnaround may have been too quick considering how hard a race this was.

That Stonehenge experience, over a mile, should serve Albahr well as he takes another test in the Summer.