Connaught Starts Canada's Turf Stakes Season

(from Woodbine track report)
Jockey Constant Montpellier will have his first opportunity to test the Woodbine turf course in 2003 aboard Stage Classic in the $173,550 Connaught Cup Stakes (Can-III) Saturday.

"He loves the turf, but he appreciates the longer routes," said Montpellier, of the 5-year-old chestnut son of Sky Classic, who has competed in 15 career turf events. "He's a one-paced horse, but he never gets tired. After 1 ½-miles, I have a tough time pulling him up. He's a typical Sky Classic. He wants to go on forever."

While the Dave Cotey trainee appreciates two turns, a strong effort in Saturday's 1 1/16-mile race wouldn't come as a surprise to his rider.

"There's not a lot of speed in here, so he could be closer to the front," said Montpellier, who won a career-best 98 races in 2002. "That could be a good thing. At this distance, I'd like to see him racing comfortably and have something left in the tank."

Anglian Prince, runner-up in last year's Queen's Plate and third-place finisher in the Eclipse Stakes earlier this month at Woodbine, will be on the turf for the second time in his career in the Connaught Cup.

"He ran one race on the turf and it wasn't a distance that really suited him," said rider Jim McAleney, of Anglian Prince's seventh-place effort in last year's 1 ½-mile Breeders' Stakes at the Toronto oval. "This distance should be great."

With over $500,000 in lifetime earnings and 10 top-three finishes in 19 starts, the son of Tejano Run is usually in the thick of the action when it matters most.

"He's a big strong horse and he shows up every time," said McAleney, who'll break from post five aboard trainer Mort Hardy's four-year-old runner. "I'm looking forward to it."

Red Sea, trained by Roger Attfield with Jono Jones in the irons, is the 3-1 morning line pick in the field of 12. Also entered is the Randy Schulhofer-trained Union Place, to be ridden by Emile Ramsammy.

$173,550 Connaught Cup (Can-III), 4 & up, 1 1/16 mile on turf
PP / Horse / Trainer / Rider / ML odds
1 / Silver Spear / Malcolm Pierce / Ray Sabourin / 6-1
2 / Red Sea / Roger Attfield / Jono Jones / 3-1
3 / Solitary Dancer / Layne Giliforte / Patrick Husbands / 12-1
4 / Tails of the Crypt / John Ross / David Clark / 20-1
5 / Anglian Prince / Mort Hardy / Jim McAleney / 12-1
6 / Le Cinquieme Essai / Paul Nielsen / Jim McKnight / 8-1
7 / Academic / John Cardella / Gerry Olguin / 15-1
8 / Stage Classic / David Cotey / Constant Montpellier / 15-1
9 / Union Place / Randy Schulhofer / Emile Ramsammy / 4-1
10 / Mr. Sulu / Josie Carroll / Robert Landry / 10-1
11 / Fly Smartly / Mark Frostad / Todd Kabel / 12-1
12 / Gone Fishin / Mike Doyle / Slade Callaghan / 20-1