European challengers look to score in Secretariat
The US$400,000, Grade 1 Secretariat Stakes (2000m) at Arlington on Saturday brings together a group of six three-year-old’s; with the only Grade 1 winner being the Bryan Lynch trained Oscar Performance. Three Europeans have made the trip, looking to score a win at the highest level.
The Mark Johnston trained Permian (IRE) (Teofilo-Tessa Reef) is Godolphin’s Group II King Edward Stakes winner who has had a successful year, winning three times from seven starts and placing another three times. The colt by Teofilo (IRE) will look to rebound off a narrow defeat in the Group I Juddmonte Grand Prix de Paris last month.
The Jean-Claude Rouget trained colt Afandem (FR) (Zoffany-Miryale) only has four career starts, but has won three of them for owner Al Shaqab Racing. A debut winner last October, he finished second by a half-length in the Group II Prix Eugene Adam on July 16, a race that produced 2012 Secretariat winner Bayrir.
Taj Mahal (IRE) (Galileo–You’resothrilling) is Aidan O’Brien’s runner. He’s Group III-placed over seven furlongs, but has failed to place in any of his four tries against Group I company. Derrick Smith, Mrs. John Magnier and Michael B. Tabor’s colt will look to improve on his one lifetime win.
Taj Mahal (IRE)
Permian (William Buick) and Afandem (Frankie Dettori) look the horses to beat and with Afandem receiving seven pounds from his rival, he is well placed to win. He looked well galloping with stable mate Mekhtaal on Friday morning, both travelling comfortably to the line as they rounded their preparation.
Afandeu (FR), all pictures Grant Courtney - paomaphotography.com.au