Sunday 21 June 2020

Frankel Watch: Ghaaliya Wins on Debut at Kempton for Brian Meehan

Who says every Frankel offspring wins at prohibitive odds? 

OK, I know you didn't say it...

Brian Meehan has started this belated two-year-old racing season in fine form with three winners, which is bordering on supersonic as he's only had four runners. 

For the aficionados, they are Talbot, Jimmy Sparks (both second start), and Ghaaliya who we put centre stage because we are talking about all things Frankel. 

For reference, another of his juveniles, Imperial Fora, finished second, losing by a neck. 

Anyway, we know our two-year-old racing and we love to see those Frankel offspring hitting the headlines. 

Ghaaliya is a bay daughter of Frankel out of the mare Shumoos. 

I'm sure a number of readers can remember this mare because she was similarly trained by Meehan back in 2011. She made a scorching debut when thrashing her opponents by four-and-a-half lengths, backed to 15/2 from an opening price of 8/1, touching 10/1. 

I can remember watching that debut at Haydock over 5f. 

The race reporter for the Racing Post said: ''Green to post, raced keenly, held up, headway over 2f out, soon switched left to track leaders, switched right over 1f out, quickened to lead inside final furlong, shot clear final 100yds, impressive.''

She was an expensive yearling purchase at $375,000, racing in the ownership of Fawzi Abdulla Naas.  

Shumoos was one of those horses you would love to own. 

On the back of her sparkling debut, she was made 6/5f to win the Queen Mary Stakes (Group 2) at Royal Ascot. She finished second best but lost nothing in defeat by a short-head to Best Terms, trained by Richard Hannon Snr, a horse that would also go on to win the Lowther Stakes. 

For the rest of her two-year-old season, she campaigned at pattern class. A head victory at Kempton, when winning the Sirenia Stakes (Group 3), was well deserved after a splendid effort finishing third in the Cherry Hinton (Group 2) and disappointment when unplaced in the Lowther when too keen and then hampered. 

Concluding the British season, she was unplaced in the Cheveley Park Stud (Group 1). 

However, on the 4th November, she would face a stiff challenge heading across the pond to race at Churchill Downs (USA) when contesting the Sentient Jet Breeders' Cup Juvenile Sprint on the dirt

Keeping on strongly at the line in an incredible race, she finished a gallant runner-up, losing by one length, to Bob Baffert's 4/7 favourite Secret Circle. A real tribute to this classy filly, taking on a field full of colts, with only a 3lb sex allowance. 

She remained in training in the US with Ben Cecil. However, there must have been serious problems because Shumoos didn't race for almost 500 days. She concluded her four-year-old career with four starts and retired to be a broodmare. 

In a racing career of just 11 starts, she achieved two wins and placed five times. With a highest official rating of 109 she had total earnings of £120,145. 

Like mother like daughter, it was great to see Ghaaliya win on debut at Kempton at odds of 14/1. Although showing signs of inexperience and greenness, she powered clear in the final two-furlong before slightly pulling herself up to beat Rhoda's Choice by a head, the third two-and-a-quarter lengths behind. 

Well done to connections.

Photo: Shumoos, far left, when third in the Cherry Hinton Stakes (Group 2) at Newmarket 2011