Juddmonte Farms' Redwood, winner of the Northern Dancer Stakes (Can-IT) in his initial North American start for trainer Barry Hills, returns to Woodbine as the morning line favorite for the $2 million Pattison Canadian International (Can-IT) Oct. 16.
Nine were entered for the 1 /2-mile turf event, the final race of the 2010 Breeders' Cup challenge series. The winner of the Canadian International, Canada's richest horse race, gains entry to the $3 million Emirates Airline Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT) Nov. 6 at Churchill Downs.
Post time for the 73rd Canadian International, the 10th race on a program, is 5:40 p.m. EDT. The card also includes the $1 million E.P Taylor Stakes (Can-IT) for fillies and mares at 1 1/4 miles, and the $500,000 Nearctic Stakes (Can-IIT) for turf sprinters at six furlongs.
Redwood is the 2-1 morning line favorite for the International. The field includes one prior winner, 2008 victor Marsh Side, and United Nations Stakes (gr. IT) winner Chinchon. First-time North American starters are group II winner Joshua Tree, a 3-year-old from the renowned Aidan O'Brien stable, and Mores Wells, trained by Richard Gibson.
English invader Redwood, a 4-year-old son of two-time Breeders' Cup Turf winner High Chaparral, outfought local hope Fifty Proof for a half-length win as the surprising 9-5 choice in the Sept. 19 Northern Dancer, which is also contested at 1 1/2 miles. A group III winner this summer at Goodwood, the bay colt returned for a possible reprise in the International this week after shipping back to Great Britain following the win.
“He seems to have come out of the Northern Dancer really well," said assistant trainer Charlie Hills, a son of Barry. "He lost very little weight when he arrived back in England. He had a dream run round last time. He took to the course well. That’s one of the reasons we’re sending him back.”
Juddmonte won the International last year with favored Champs Elysees, and previously captured the event with French Glory in 1990 and Rain Trap, who set the stakes record in winning in 1994.
In the Northern Dancer, Redwood was off a little slowly, racing seventh early, but unleashed a strong stretch bid after moving into contention to defeat the pacesetter Fifty Proof, who returns in the International as well.
Michael Hills, also a son of Barry Hills, will be back to ride Redwood, who has won four of 10 starts with three seconds in his career. They drew post 8.
Irish-bred Chinchon, like Redwood, won his only prior North American start this year when he rallied from last to take the 11-furlong United Nations by 1 1/2 lengths at Monmouth Park July 3. He decisioned Take the Points and Winchester. Chinchon is 7-2 heading into the International.
Owned by Darpat France and trained by Carlos Laffon-Parias, the 5-year-old son of Marju returned to his home base in France, where he ran sixth in the Qatar Prix Foy (Fr-II) at Longchamp over 12 furlongs Sept. 12.
Garrett Gomez, who was aboard Chinchon for the Monmouth score and also rode Champs Elysees to victory in last year's race, has the call once again. He could become the only jockey to win consecutive Internationals since 1958.
Robert Evans’ homebred Marsh Side returned a record $61.20 when he won the 2008 International for trainer Neil Drysdale by 1 3/4 lengths. Now 7, he will be competing in a record fourth consecutive renewal and retains jockey Edgar Prado. He is 4-1 on the morning line.
The strapping Kentucky-bred son of Gone West comes in off a fading eighth-place finish after racing on the early pace in the Northern Dancer. Marsh Side easily won the Sky Classic (Can-IIT) over the course Aug. 22 over soft ground and leads the field in earnings with about $2.5 million. He attempts to join Majesty’s Prince (1982, 1984) and George Royal (1965, 1966) as the only two-time winners of the turf classic.
The Bill Mott-trained Al Khali (6-1), owned by Brous Stable and Wachtel Stable, won his last start, the 1 3/8-mile Bowling Green (gr. IIT) Sept. 11 at Belmont Park. He tallied by a neck over Winchester with a strong stretch kick.
Five-year-old Simmard, representing trainer Roger Attfield in the International, was only a head further back in third in the Bowling Green. Attfield, who has never won the race in his long and successful career, decided against entering 2008 International runner-up Spice Route after he was unhappy with the way his 6-year-old KIng's Best gelding worked on Oct. 12.
O’Brien, who won the 2002 International with Ballingarry, sends lightly-raced Joshua Tree, an Irish-bred son of champion Montjeu. Joshua Tree won the Juddmonte Royal Lodge Stakes (Eng-II) as a 2-year-old. He has raced only twice this year, finishing third in the Sportingbet.com Great Voltigeur (Eng-II) at York Aug. 17, then fifth in Ladbrokes English St. Leger (Eng-I) at Doncaster Sept. 11. He is the only 3-year-old in this year's field and receives a four-pound weight allowance.
Jockey Colm O’Donoghue, who was aboard Joshua Tree for the Royal Lodge win, will ride the Derrick Smith, Mrs. John Magnier and Michael Tabor-owned hopeful. The last 3-year-old to win was Phoenix Reach in 2003.
Denis O’Flynn’s Mores Wells, a British-bred 6-year-old son of Sadler’s Wells, arrives from France via Sweden after winning the group III Stockholm Cup International at Taby Sept. 12. It was the same race won by Collier Hill before he came to Woodbine to capture the 2006 International. Gibson previously saddled favored Doctor Dino to a disappointing fifth-place finish in the 2008 International. Mores Wells has won three of seven races this year, and owns seven victories overall in 32 lifetime starts. Sebastien Maillot rides.
Fifty Proof, trained by Ian Black for owners Kinghaven Farms, John Fielding and Ben Hutzel, shocked many at 29-1 with his big runner-up placing to Redwood in the Northern Dancer in his stakes debut. The 4-year-old Ontario-bred son of Whiskey Wisdom will try to become the first Canadian-bred since Thornfield in 1999 to win the International. Justin Stein retains the mount on Fifty Proof, who has won four of only eight lifetime starts, with three second-place finishes as well.
Butterfly Stable’s Memorial Maniac, trained by Larry Demeritte, finished fifth in the Northern Dancer. He won the Stars and Stripes (gr. IIIT) at Arlington Park prior to that for his first stakes win.
$2 Million Pattison Canadian International (Can-IT, Race 10, 5:40 p.m.), 3 & Up, 1 1/2 Miles (Turf)
PP. Horse, Jockey, Weight, Trainer, ML Odds
1. Memorial Maniac (KY), J Graham, 126, L W Demeritte, 20/1
2. Chinchon (IRE), G K Gomez, 126, C Laffon-Parias, 7/2
3. Mores Wells (GB), S Maillot, 126, R D Gibson, 12/1
4. Simmard (KY), J Castellano, 126, R L Attfield, 15/1
5. Al Khali (KY), A Garcia, 126, W I Mott, 6/1
6. Marsh Side (KY), E S Prado, 126, N D Drysdale, 4/1
7. Joshua Tree (IRE), C O'Donoghue, 122, A P O'Brien, 8/1
8. Redwood (GB), M P Hills, 126, B W Hills, 2/1
9. Fifty Proof (ON), J Stein, 126, I Black, 10/1