European Racing Report: Home of the Brave Impresses at Haydock

European Racing Report: Home of the Brave Impresses at Haydock

A solid Saturday of racing on May 28th at Haydock racecourse in England featured three major stakes races, and the winner of the featured Timeform Jury Stakes (Eng-III) could potentially be seen at the Breeders’ Cup later this year.

Home of the Brave, a four-year-old son of Starspangledbanner making his first start since being sold to Godolphin, was favored in the Timeform Jury and obliged his backers with a determined victory. With jockey James Doyle in the saddle, Home of the Brave went straight to the lead in the seven-furlong race and set what appeared to be a testing pace. With a quarter-mile remaining, he received a stiff challenge from the talented stakes winner Breton Rock, and after turning back that rival, Home of the Brave was quickly confronted by Convey, who was rallying strongly on the outside. Convey appeared to have the momentum to get past Home of the Brave, but the pacesetter dug deep to prevail by a neck in the time of 1:28.77 seconds.

Afterward, trainer Hugo Palmer indicated that Home of the Brave could be a candidate for the November 5th Breeders’ Cup Mile (gr. I) at Santa Anita. But in the meantime, Home of the Brave is among the early entries for the six-furlong Diamond Jubilee Stakes (Eng-I) on June 18th at Royal Ascot.

Later on the card, the three-year-old filly Quiet Reflection was an emphatic winner of the six-furlong Sandy Lane Stakes (Eng-II). The Karl Burke-trained filly had won four of her five previous races, including two group III stakes races, but was overlooked in the betting at 7-1. However, there was no way to overlook Quiet Reflection in the homestretch, as the filly unleashed a huge finish from the back of the pack to take command and draw clear to win by 3 3/4 lengths. The final time was a quick 1:10.57 seconds.

Donjuan Triumphant rallied well to finish second by a head over the heavy favorite Gifted Master, who set the pace, dropped back inside the final two furlongs, and battled back to just miss the pace. Buratino, winner of the Coventry Stakes (Eng-II) at Royal Ascot and a proven group I competitor, made an early move from off the pace to take the lead but flattened out in the final furlong to finish fourth.

Quiet Reflection’s next race will come at Royal Ascot, with both the six-furlong Commonwealth Stakes (Eng-I) for three-year-olds and the five-furlong King’s Stand Stakes (Eng-I) against older horses being under consideration.

Also on the Haydock card was the Pinnacle Stakes (Eng-III), which saw the capable group I performer Journey win the twelve-furlong race in determined fashion. With jockey Frankie Dettori in the saddle, Journey was forwardly placed throughout and had to work hard to reel in the pace-setting longshot Sweeping Up, but gradually drew clear in the final furlong to prevail by 1 1/4 lengths in the time of 2:32.47 seconds.

Trained by John Gosden, Journey is among the early entries for the ten-furlong Pretty Polly Stakes (Ire-I) on June 26th at the Curragh. A victory in that race would mark Journey’s first in a group I race, although she did finish a close second in the QIPCO British Champions Fillies and Mares Stakes (Eng-I) at Ascot last October.

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Follow J. Keeler Johnson ("Keelerman"):

J. Keeler Johnson is a writer, blogger, videographer, and all-around horse racing enthusiast who was drawn to the sport by Curlin’s quest to become North America’s richest racehorse. A great fan of racing history, he considers Dr. Fager to be the greatest racehorse ever produced in America, but counts Zenyatta as his all-time favorite. He lives in Wisconsin and also writes for the blog Unlocking Winners.

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