Scratched from last Friday’s Patton S. at Dundalk, New World Tapestry instead seeks to score points in Wednesday’s Road to the Kentucky Derby Conditions S. at Kempton, the race that launched Gronkowski (pictured) two years ago. The Aidan O’Brien trainee finds fewer rivals – only four – on this European Road event, but a couple are at least listed-stakes class.
New World Tapestry is a well-named son of noted Kentucky stallion War Front and the Irish-bred Tapestry, a descendant of Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1) great Miesque. Tapestry was herself a past O’Brien star, earning her biggest victory in the 2014 Yorkshire Oaks (G1) (when upsetting odds-on Taghrooda).
The first foal produced by the Galileo mare, New World Tapestry was beaten by high-class stablemates in his initial starts at the Curragh. On his debut, he was a distant third to Arizona, the next-out winner of the Coventry (G2) at Royal Ascot and most recently fifth as the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1) favorite. New World Tapestry’s next start resulted in a better fourth to Armory, who went on to win two Group races and placed in three more, including a third in the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere (G1) on the European Road.
After a three-month break, New World Tapestry resumed Sept. 27 at Newmarket and broke his maiden in determined front-running fashion. O’Brien pre-entered him in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf, but he was so low on the also-eligible list that he didn’t ship. New World Tapestry tried the Nov. 1 Vertem Futurity Trophy (G1), where he was forwardly placed on the Newcastle Tapeta but faded to eighth.
The Kempton race marks his second attempt on an all-weather surface, and New World Tapestry promises to perform much better in this Polytrack mile. Ryan Moore, aboard for his maiden win, reunites with the lone Triple Crown nominee in the small field.
American George Strawbridge Jr., honored with an Eclipse Award as the breeder of Horse of the Year Bricks and Mortar, is represented by his homebred colt Berlin Tango.
The Andrew Balding trainee won a novice at Ffos Las but raised his game to place in a pair of stakes, finishing third in both the Stonehenge S. at Salisbury and the Flying Scotsman S. at Doncaster when last seen Sept. 13. In the latter, Berlin Tango was only a half-length behind O’Brien’s smart colt Wichita, and that makes him the one to beat here according to Racing Post ratings. Regular rider Oisin Murphy has the call.
Undefeated Chares, the only stakes winner in the field, sold for €710,000 (almost $780,000) at last October’s Arqana Arc Sale and steps out for new connections here. Previously based in France, he romped in his first two starts in the provinces but cut it a lot closer when getting up by a neck in the Sept. 27 Criterium de Lyon. Chares was subsequently purchased with a Hong Kong career in mind. In the meantime, he’ll get more experience under the tutelage of Jane Chapple-Hyam.
While the other two entrants don’t have the same level of form, they are proven on all-weather. The Mick Appleby-trained Ayr Harbour, who has raced exclusively on this kind of surface, has won back-to-back handicaps at Newcastle and Lingfield. Naval Commander has the biggest question to answer as a maiden, but he was arguably unlucky not to score on his Southwell debut after blowing the break, striking the front widest of all, and just getting run down by a more experienced foe.
The Road to the Kentucky Derby Conditions S. is worth 20-8-4-2 points applicable to the European leaderboard. Post time is 2:15 p.m. (ET), and you can watch and wager at TwinSpires.com.
File photo of Gronkowski winning the 2018 Road to the Kentucky Derby Conditions S. at Kempton (by John Hoy)