Juveniles Bid for Group I Win at Saint-Cloud

Eight 2-year-olds seek glory in Europe's final group I event of the 2012 season.

The Criterium de Saint-Cloud (Fr-I) for 2-year-olds shaped up as an intriguing event when two promising colts were supplemented to Europe’s final top-level race of the season, to be run Nov. 10.

Supplemented at a cost of 15,000 euros ($19,107) each Nov. 8 were English stakes winner Willie The Whipper and French-based stakes winner Wingate, both of whom join highly regarded French group III winner Morandi and five other juveniles in the 1 1/4-mile (2,000-meter) race.

Willie The Whipper, a recent private acquisition by Qatari Racing, is perfect in two career starts, both on heavy turf, and the ground conditions at Saint-Cloud are expected to be testing as he stretches out a quarter-mile farther than he has ever raced.

The Whipper colt made an impression on North Yorkshire trainer Ann Duffield at the Goresbridge breeze-up sale in May in County Kilkenny, Ireland, and she bought him for 21,000 euros ($26,319) out of the Mayfield Stables, agent, consignment.

After winning his debut by a visually impressive eight lengths Aug. 8 at Hamilton Park, Willie The Whipper stepped up to stakes company next time out and won the listed Totepool.com Silver Tankard Stakes by 1 3/4 lengths Oct. 22 at Pontefract.

“I know it may seem like tilting at windmills, going straight from a listed race to a group I,” Duffield told London’s The Independent about Willie The Whipper, whose dam, the Slip Anchor mare Anna Simona won going 1 3/4 miles. “It's only his third ever run, and he obviously hasn't had a great deal of time since his second one, but we know he handles the ground and he wants a trip. The jockey couldn't pull him up in either of his races."

Qatari Racing, the burgeoning racing operation of several members of the Qatari royal family, including Sheikh Fahad Al Thani, subsequently acquired Willie The Whipper. He will remain in training with Duffield, who recently enjoyed her first group victory.

Trainer Henri-Alex Pantall supplemented Wingate, who won the one-mile Prix des Sablonnets by a convincing six lengths Oct. 23 at Nantes. The British-bred Zamindar colt has two wins and two seconds from five career starts. His record includes a third to eventual group winner Pearl Flute in the Prix Yacowlef for first-time starters in June at Deauville.

Pantall also will send out Princedargent, a Kendargent colt who broke his maiden going the Criterium de Saint-Cloud distance Oct. 16 at Angers.

Morandi also will be tested in group I company for the first time while seeking a third consecutive victory for trainer Jean-Claude Rouget. The French-bred Holy Roman Emperor colt has finished in the top two in five career starts, winning at Longchamp Sept. 12 and capturing the 1 1/8-mile Prix de Conde (Fr-III) by an eye-widening 12 lengths on heavy turf at the Parisian racecourse Oct. 21.

The field is rounded out by maiden winners Sempre Medici (by Medicean), Kapstadt (Country Reel), and Miss You Too (Montjeu), most recently runner-up in the Tattersalls Millions 2YO Fillies’ Trophy Oct. 16 at Newmarket. Two-time stakes-placed Cassiopee (Kentucky Dynamite), who will seek a fourth win while making her 18th start of the season.