Turf Venture Reaps Ascot Glory For Eclipse Thoroughbreds

Turf Venture Reaps Ascot Glory For Eclipse Thoroughbreds

By Emma Berry TDN

ASCOT, UK–The G2 Queen Mary S. victory of the well-named Quick Suzy (Ire) (Profitable {Ire}) brought not only the diverse training skills of Gavin Cromwell to wider attention but also a welcome touch of internationalism to the Royal Meeting. The latter is usually a given, but with restricted travel in the last two seasons, there have been fewer overseas travellers than usual, though those who have made the trip have largely been well rewarded at Britain’s showcase meeting.

Barbara Banke’s Stonestreet Stables enjoyed success in the same race last year with Campanelle (GB) (Kodiac {GB}) but this time around had to settle for second when the front-running Twilight Gleaming (Ire) (National Defense {Fr}) was overhauled in the final furlong by the filly owned by fellow American enterprise Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners.

“We wouldn’t be here if it were not for the great efforts of Aron Wellman and his team at Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners,” said a delighted Mariam Zerehi, the sole representative of the ownership group who had made the trip from the U.S. to savour the moment of a winner at Royal Ascot.

She continued, “They are really great at picking quality horses and they are true horsemen. They care about what races they put the horses in and making sure they don’t step them up too quickly. Aron and his team work relentlessly so we can have these types of moments, which are so elusive.”

Zerehi, who is involved in around 30 horses with Eclipse, was making her first trip to Ascot, having missed out on the experience of watching Sharing (Speightstown) compete last year.

“We had Sharing last year in the Coronation Stakes and she placed second but none of us were able to be here to witness that so I am just happy to be here,” she said. “This is a really big moment because we are in a very different place today than we were just a year ago. I think this Royal Ascot represents a lot of hope and optimism that we are all moving in the right direction, so that’s special to be a part of–it’s not just an ordinary Ascot for me.”

Having undergone “extensive Covid testing” to be able to make the trip from Los Angeles, Zerehi added, “I have to say, standing here right now, it was all worth it.”

She continued, “I was a little nervous watching the filly being saddled as she was a little fresh and I was worried that she was unsettled, but I spoke with Gavin and he said ‘No, she’s ready to go.’ And obviously he knows better than I, and he was right.

“For Eclipse, we’ve been moving more into turf racing. Dirt is great and that’s what the Americans do best and know best, but we’ve had some really good success with our turf horses in recent years and this might be another confirmation that we are going in the right direction with our selections.”

The result was also cause for celebration in County Kildare, at Oghill House Stud to be precise, where Quick Suzy was bred by a trio of Hyland brothers–Pat, Hugh and James–along with a couple of their nephews.

It is six years since the farm celebrated the listed Windsor Castle S. victory of Washington DC (Ire) (Zoffany {Ire}), who was bred at Oghill House in partnership with Chris and James McHale. There will have been widespread delight throughout the Hyland family at this latest triumph, especially as the story involves their farrier Liam O’Donovan, who bought the filly for her original owners, the Dunphy family, for whom she made her first two starts, while it was the Hylands’ longtime ally Joseph Burke who recommended her to Aron Wellman.

“She was sold privately off the farm as a yearling and the man I must mention is Liam O’Donovan, as he’s a brilliant judge of a horse and he bought her for the Dunphys,” said Burke.

“Liam kept sending me videos of her when she was in pre-training and then in training, and once she won her second start at the Curragh I could then approach Aron and say, ‘Look, I’ve known her from the start and I know all her history,’ and when I asked him if he was interested he was just brilliant, he said yes straight away.”

Burke continued, “Obviously Aron knows more about these things than I do but he had no hesitation when I recommended that we keep Gary [Carroll] on board. He said, ‘Book him, make sure he knows,’ and that was for the last race. He was 100% behind keeping Gary on board for Ascot. Gary had so much confidence in the filly and I firmly believe there’s nothing better than a guy getting up and thinking ‘this is a machine, she’s going to win.’ And he’s ridden her like that.”

Quick Suzy was making her second start in the Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners silks having been runner-up in the G3 Coolmore Stud Irish EBF Fillies Sprint at Naas on her most recent outing.

Burke added, “Aron rang last night and he couldn’t have been better. He just said, ‘Go and enjoy the day. We’ve got her stakes-placed and if she wins, great, and if she doesn’t we’ll regroup afterwards.’ And how many people say that to you really?”

In the aftermath of victory, Burke was also quick to remember one of Quick Suzy’s co-breeders, the much-loved Pat Hyland, who died in February at the age of 78.

He said, “Pat loved nothing more than Royal Ascot. He dressed up at home and he watched every single bit, the fashion included, and he would have been so delighted to see her win like that today.”

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