European Race Report: Pre-Arc Triumph For Morshdi

Published in Sept. 8 issue of The Blood-Horse
Morshdi joined Captain Steve, Silvano, and Galileo at the top of the Emirates World Series table with his convincing win in the fourth leg, Baden-Baden's UAE Grosser Preis von Baden (Ger-I) Sept. 2. Newmarket trainer Michael Jarvis hopes to run the 3-year-old son of Slip Anchor in the Series' seventh leg, Longchamp's Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (Fr-I, Oct. 7). He would follow the same route of his previous best horse, Carroll House, who took the Grosser Preis in 1988 before winning the Arc the following year.

"Carroll House was a tough horse and so is Morshdi," Jarvis said. "They have a little of the bully about them. They like to push you around, which is not a bad thing."

Morshdi, owned by Sheikh Ahmed al Maktoum but racing in the name of Darley Stud Management, came wide on the track in the late stages of the 12-furlong Grosser Preis under Philip Robinson to beat Deutsches Derby (Ger-I) winner Boreal and 2-1 favorite Sabiango. The margins were 1 1/4 lengths and 1 1/2 lengths as a dozen ran over the "good to soft" going.

"I was concerned with a half-mile left to run because they hadn't gone any pace," Robinson said. "I had to ensure we were in touch when the sprint for home began. I wasn't surprised the leaders went wide on the turn for home because the inside had been chopped up. We found a nice strip of ground and he really finished well."

Morshdi won the Derby Italiano (Italy-I), the third-richest race in Europe after the Epsom Derby (Eng-I) and Arc, before finishing second, four lengths behind Galileo in the Irish Derby (Ire-I) and running a poor eighth behind the same horse in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes (Eng-I). "He was badly drawn and slipped twice going into Swinley Bottom," Robinson said. "The run was a total waste."

Boreal, a half-brother to Breeders' Cup Turf (gr. IT) second Borgia, could be supplemented to the Arc by his owner, Dietrich von Boetticher. His jockey, John Reid, said: "The lack of pace wasn't in our favor, but I have no complaints. The winner beat us fair and square for speed."

In Ireland, trainer Aidan O'Brien bagged his 14th group I win of the season when Quarter Moon flashed home to win the Moyglare Stud Stakes (Ire-I) for juvenile fillies over seven furlongs at the Curragh. Quarter Moon was one of four O'Brien entrants in the field of 17. Stable rider Michael Kinane chose 7-2 favorite Quarter Moon over the other three, and she beat Moyglare Stud's Dress to Thrill by three-quarters of a length with O'Brien-trained Sophisticat third.

Quarter Moon, by Sadler's Wells, is owned in partnership by Susan Magnier and Roisin Henry, wife of Coolmore Stud's marketing supremo, Richard Henry. Her only previous racecourse experience had come when she finished second to Saranac Lake over course and distance in the Irish National Stud Debutante Stakes (Ire-III) last month.

"Mick gave her a great ride," O'Brien commented. "He switched her off and she was racing only for about a furlong. She has always looked a bit special and she's in all the big end-of-season races. I'm not sure where, or if, she will have another run."