Exciting 2YO G1 Winner for Wootton Bassett
Covering his second Australian season this spring , Wootton Bassett added a new Group I winner to his tally in Ireland on the weekend when exciting colt Al Riffa (2c Wootton Bassett x Love on My Mind, by Galileo) upset the favourites to win the Group I National Stakes (7f) at The Curragh.
With a win and second at his first two starts, Joseph O’Brien and his owners elected to pay a late entry fee to put Al Riffa into the race and he rewarded them when drawing clear to win by a length and a quarter over Galileo colt Proud and Regal.
It was also the first Group I win for his jockey Dylan Browne McMonagle.
“It was a special performance. Al Riffa won his maiden well and the owners were keen to supplement him for this. It was a very impressive performance to come from the back of the field like that,” said Joseph O’Brien.
“He was a big shell of a horse as a yearling and I thought he'd make a lovely 3yo, I didn't for a minute think he'd make the two-year-old that he has made.
“His family is all stamina, so for him to be doing this at this stage is very positive for the future. We always thought he was a middle-distance horse, and he's closely related to an Ascot Gold Cup winner, so that's real stamina, but he's not slow.
“I'd imagine he's a Guineas horse for sure and we'll take it from there. He's a classy horse and very exciting. The plan coming here was to go on to the race on Arc day (the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere) but we'll see how he comes out of it today and discuss it with the owners.”
Al Riffa was bred in France and sold as a foal at the Arqana December Breeding Stock Sale in 2020 for €31,000 before being re-offered at the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale Book 1 where he was bought by his trainer for 150,000 guineas.
Al Riffa is the first winner for unraced Galileo mare Love on My Mind, a sister to multiple Group III winning stayer Mizzou, who was second in a Group I Royal Ascot Gold Cup.
Love on My Mind is from stakes-winning stayer Moments of Joy a daughter of two time Group I winning mare My Emma.
Al Riffa is the 29th stakes-winner for Wootton Bassett and is his sixth Group I winner.
Interestingly, he is the first stakes-winner bred by Wootton Bassett from a daughter of Galileo, but we can expect Al Riffa to be the first of many as Wootton Bassett has been covering the cream of the Galileo mares at Coolmore since his purchase and relocation from France in 2020.
Wootton Bassett stands in Australia this spring at a fee of $71,500.