Novellist Wins at Saint-Cloud, Earns BC Berth
Trainer Andreas Wohler's 4-year-old Monsun colt collared Cirrus des Aigles entering the straight and went on to win by 1 1/4 lengths from Australian champion Dunaden, who took second in the final 100 yards. Five-year-old mare Haya Landa finished third, a length back, in a bid for a breakthrough stakes win.
The 2,400-meter (about 1 1/2-mile) test marked the first start of the year for Cirrus des Aigles, the 6-4 favorite, who became the world's top-rated horse in training last year upon the retirement of Frankel.
The 7-year-old Even Top gelding, winner of the 2012 Dubai Sheema Classic (UAE-I), concluded last season with a runner-up finish to Frankel in the QIPCO Champion Stakes (Eng-I) in October. In need of a race after eight months off following a ligament strain that forced him to bypass the Hong Kong International Races in December, he stayed on gallantly in the final 200 meters at Saint-Cloud before fading in the closing strides to finish fifth.
Novellist won his third straight start and was timed in 2:31.12 under Ryan Moore. He concluded last season with his first tgroup I triumph in the Gran Premio del Jockey Club in October at San Siro and opened 2014 with a group II win May 15 at Baden-Baden.
Wohler told England's Press Association that Novellist took the lead sooner than desired but he was pleased with how the colt finished. He said that if Novellist continues to do well, he would run in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes (Eng-I) July 27 at Ascot.
Dunaden, winner of the 2011 Melbourne Cup (Aus-I) and 2012 Caulfield Cup (Aus-I), entered off a second to St Nicholas Abbey in the Coronation Cup (Eng-I) June 1 at Epsom. His connections were pleased with his effort at Saint-Cloud.
"Very proud of Dunaden again today who will be given a break before an autumn campaign culminating with the Arc," tweeted David Redvers, racing manager for owner Pearl Bloodstock.
Under the "Win and You're In" format, the Breeders' Cup will pay the entry fee and provide a $40,000 travel allowance to the winning stable to start Novellist in the $3 million Turf Nov. 1 at Santa Anita Park.
A consistent runner for Wohler and owner-breeder Christoph Berglar, Irish-bred Novellist improved to seven wins and a second from nine career starts. His record also includes a runner-up finish in the German Derby (Ger-I).
Berglar bred Novellist out of German highweight and group III winner Night Lagoon, by Lagunas. Berglar bought Stonereath Farm in Paris, Ky., in 2011.
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