Valachi Downs’ exciting new recruit Ten Sovereigns (IRE) was a Group 1 winner at the ages of two and three, and he was crowned Europe’s Champion 3YO Sprinter in 2019. The pinnacle of his scintillating career came in one of Europe’s greatest sprints and stallion-making races, the Group 1 July Cup at Newmarket.
Ten Sovereigns joins fellow shuttle stallion U S Navy Flag (USA) on the Valachi Downs roster. The son of War Front (USA) was a Champion 2YO in Europe, Champion 2YO Colt in GB and Ireland, as well as Champion 3YO Sprinter.
The July Cup provides the first opportunity for elite three-year-old sprinting talent to clash against older horses, and the gruelling uphill run over the final furlong puts their class and fighting qualities to a stern test.
With a purse of £500,000 and an esteemed reputation around the world, the July Cup routinely attracts the cream of the European sprinting crop.
It has also become a proven springboard to success at stud, with winners in the last 35 years including Green Desert (USA), Soviet Star (USA), Anabaa (USA), Elnadim (USA), Stravinsky (USA), Mozart (IRE), Oasis Dream (GB), Sakhee’s Secret (GB), Starspangledbanner (AUS) and Dream Ahead (USA). July Cup placegetters during that time include the great Danehill (USA), along with Choisir (AUS), Iffraaj (GB), Bertolini (USA) and Equiano (FR).
A select few three-year-olds have had what it takes to beat older horses and win the July Cup over the last three decades, and only six in the last 15 years. The two most recent winners of the race, U S Navy Flag and Ten Sovereigns, take pride of place on the Valachi Downs roster.
Becoming the fifth July Cup winner for legendary trainer Aidan O’Brien, Ten Sovereigns produced what the respected Racing Post described as a “stunning show of speed”.
He exploded out of the starting gate to take up a prominent early position, then stormed clear on that testing final uphill run, opening up a commanding winning margin of two and three-quarter lengths.
Ten Sovereigns stopped the clock at 1:09.31 in the July Cup – the second-fastest time in the history of a race that dates back to 1876.
“He’s a top-class sprinter. He gets the trip very well, and I thought the turn of foot he showed today was the most impressive thing,” said rider Ryan Moore, one of the world’s top jockeys.
Beating home race favourite Blue Point (IRE) and multiple Group 1-winning sprinter Redkirk Warrior (GB), U S Navy Flag added the July Cup to his Group 1 scores, making history by completing a Newmarket Group 1 triple crown.
“U S Navy Flag has already proven himself a world class horse,” commented Coolmore Australian sales and nominations manager Colm Santry.
“He was a dual Group 1-winning champion 2-year-old and is a Group 1 winner at weight-for-age at three, winning one of the most prestigious sprints in the world in the July Cup.”
A son of No Nay Never (USA), who commands a €175,000 service fee in Ireland, Ten Sovereigns will stand for $20,000 at Valachi Downs in 2020, while U S Navy Flag will stand for $17,500.