Irish contingent in pursuit of $3m Canadian prize-money
RACING:CANADA HAS become a popular location for many Irish people recently and Ireland’s trainers will get in on the act this Sunday when pursuing up to $3 million worth of prize-money in Toronto.
Aidan O’Brien’s Grand Prix de Paris victor Imperial Monarch is set to try and become the champion trainer’s third winner of the $1.5 million Pattison Canadian International at Woodbine on Sunday night, but he won’t be alone.
Dermot Weld’s star three-year-old Princess Highway will attempt to pick up the $1 million EP Taylor Stakes on a prestigious international programme which will also see David Wachman’s consistent filly Fire Lily attempt to secure Grade One glory in the $500,000 Nearctic Stakes over six furlongs.
“Wayne will go over to ride,” said Wachman yesterday, ahead of a probable clash with a strong field that includes Richard Fahey’s course winner Barefoot Lady.
Dermot Weld said Pat Smullen will travel for the ride on Princess Highway who failed to fire over the mile and a half of the Prix Vermeille last month, but now drops back to 10 furlongs.
“It’s a very valuable $1 million race and Pat goes there to ride,” said the Curragh trainer.
Among Princess Highway’s opposition is likely to be the star French filly Siyouma who landed the Sun Chariot Stakes on her last start at Newmarket.
Imperial Monarch skipped last Sunday’s Arc to wait for this weekend’s Grade One challenge which O’Brien has won in the past with Ballingarry (2002) and Joshua Tree (2010.)
The latter will be part of Imperial Monarch’s opposition on Sunday as he attempts to become just the third horse to win Canada’s most prestigious race on two occasions.
Joshua Tree was trained by Marco Botti to finish runner-up last yearand was third to Orfervre in the Prix Foy last month.
“He seems to be coming into his best form recently. I haven’t trained many tougher than him. After every race he comes back full of life,” said Botti.
Also set to travel from Europe for the mile-and-a-half contest are the 2011 French Derby winner Reliable Man and Michael Bell’s Wigmore Hall, twice a winner of the Northern Dancer Stakes at the Woodbine course.
“I think the environment there really suits him,” said Wigmore Hall’s trainer, Michael Bell. “He’s also been given two blinding rides by Jamie Spencer.”
James Fanshawe’s Dandino is also likely to run in the International, a race that has been won on no less than eight occasions by European raiders since 2000.
Closer to home, however, Dawn Approach was the medium of sustained support yesterday in ante-post betting for Saturday’s Dubai Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket and is now a heavy odds-on shot with Paddy Power for Britain’s most prestigious two-year-old prize.