Wilgerbosdrift’s resident sire Flower Alley made international news on Sunday when his materal granddaughter Lucky Lilac won the G1 Queen Elizabeth II Cup in Japan.
(The QE2 is a 2,200-meter Grade 1 turf event at the right-handed Kyoto Racecourse open to fillies and mares 3 years old and up. It’s a perennial favourite that carries a JPY105 million winner’s prize and a total purse of nearly JPY227 million.)
Voted Best Two-Year-Old Filly at the JRA Awards for 2017,, Lucky Lilac (by Orfevre) had finished third in her penultimate start, the G2 Fuchu Himba Stakes, but made amends for that defeat with a convincing victory on Sunday.
Lucky Lilac broke sharply from stall 2 but allowed the early leaders pass and settled along the rails in mid-pack in sixth or seventh position. As the field spread rounding the last corner, Christophe Soumillon kept the filly straight in the inside and coaxed her to spring forward into the stretch, pinned race favourite Loves Only You at the furlong pole and then Crocosmia at the 100-meter marker after which she continued to draw away to a 1-1/4-length victory.
“I was very confident when I saw how good she was in training but today she was even better. She was really concentrating and I saw she was reacting very fast. In the race, I would have preferred to have her another position closer, the pace was not very fast so I thought it would be a little bit hard to make up ground, but finally I took the option to stay in the inside and she really quickened well and at the 200-meter marker when I saw the gap was still open I was confident that I had won,” commented winning jockey Christophe Soumillon after the race.
It was a second G1 triumph for Lucky Lilac, who had captured the G1 Hanshin Juvenile Fillies in 2017.
The 2019 Queen Elizabeth II Cup winner was produced by Flower Alley’s top class daughter Lilacs And Lace, whose wins included triumphs in both the G1 Ashland Stakes and California Oaks.
Lilacs And Lace’s G1 Travers Stakes winning sire Flower Alley is the sire of more than 40 black type horses the world over, with his other notable performers including Kentucky Derby winning champion I’ll Have Another and Canadian champion, and G1 winner, Lukes Alley.
Flower Alley’s first South Africa crop currently includes 18 winners headed by the unbeaten Alibi Guy, the stakes placed Parterre and debut winners Marygold and Prince Evlanoff.