Sheikh Mohammed rolls out classic candidates in France

Sheikh Mohammed continued to roll out his European classic candidates on Friday when regally bred colt Memory Cloth won a mile maiden at Saint-Cloud.

Memory Cloth (3c Cape Cross – Gossamer by Sadler´s Wells) is a Darley homebred trained by Andre Fabre.  He was sighted just once last year when fourth at Chantilly.

His sire Cape Cross was responsible for last year’s champion colt Sea The Stars and his dam is none other than Irish 1000 Guineas winner Gossamer.  The daughter of Sadler’s Wells is a half-sister to Irish 2000 Guineas winner Barathea.

Gossamer has already produced G1 Racing Post Trophy winner Ibn Khaldun and Memory Cloth gave every indication he can emulate his close relations as the season progresses.

Memory Cloth’s victory came a day after Dubawi colt Makfi staked his claim for the classics with a comprehensive victory in the G3 Prix Djebel (1400m) at Maisons-Laffitte.

Makfi (3c Dubawi – Dhelaal by Green Desert) had won on debut at Fontainebleau in November and made it two-for-two with an impressive return to racing in Paris.  Under Christophe-Patrice Lemaire, he quickened to the front approaching the final furlong and was pushed out in the closing stages to win by three lengths.

“Makfi has natural talent and ability,” trainer Mikel Delzangles said.  “He’s not very demonstrative at home, but shows his quality on the track.  We’ll decide whether he goes for the English or French 2000 Guineas after we see how much he improves.”

Makfi was bred by Shadwell Estates and was sold for 26,000gns at the 2009 Tattersalls HIT Sale.  He is from an unraced half-sister to Sheikh Hamdan’s champion colt Alhaarth (Unfuwain) who was unbeaten in five starts as a juvenile in 1995 culminating with a G1 victory in the Dewhurst Stakes.

Sheikh Hamdan’s filly Joanna was also in the frame at Maisons-Laffitte on Thursday when she scored a G3 victory in the G3 Prix Imprudence.

Joanna (3f High Chaparral – Secrete Marina by Mujadil) landed the 2009 Prix du Calvados for her former trainer Bruno Grizzetti before she was purchased by Sheikh Hamdan.

“Joanna will now go to Longchamp for the Poule d’Essai des Pouliches (French 1000 Guineas),” trainer Jean-Claude Rouget said.  “I am delighted to have won my first race for Sheikh Hamdan.”

The Prix Imprudence has been a reliable guide to the classics in recent years.  Natagora won the race before going on to take the English 1000 Guineas while last year’s winner Elusive Wave was trained Rouget to complete a double in the Poule d’Essai des Pouliches.