To help get back in the swing of things ahead of the British Flat turf season which starts at Doncaster on Saturday, John Ingles profiles Timeform's leading stayers of 2022.
Kyprios (131) 4yo c Galileo – Polished Gem
Lightly raced prior to 2022 and found wanting on his two attempts in better company, including in the Derby Trial at Lingfield, it was a very different Kyprios who emerged last year, taking the staying division by storm in an unbeaten six-race campaign.
Stepped up in trip, he soon showed his potential as a stayer with two wins in Ireland to start with, a listed race at Navan and the Saval Beg Stakes at Leopardstown, before he took the scalp of star stayer Stradivarius – beating him into third after hemming in him in a falsely-run race – in the Gold Cup.
Things were closer between the pair in the Goodwood Cup but again Kyprios proved the stronger, finding extra to beat Stradivarius a neck with Trueshan third on the only occasion the top three stayers all met. On softer ground in the autumn Kyprios proved at least as good, first of all digging deep to beat Hamish by three quarters of a length in the Irish St Leger and then winning a gruelling Prix du Cadran in extraordinary fashion by twenty lengths despite hanging badly left in the closing stages.
A setback means a delayed start to Kyprios’ campaign this season. Aidan O’Brien
Trueshan (128) 6yo g Planteur – Shao Line
Once again the ground prevented Trueshan from contesting the Gold Cup meaning he again took his chance in the Northumberland Plate instead.
The difference this time was that he not only had even more weight on his back than when sixth the year before, he also managed to carry the 10-8 to victory. Despite conditions on the firm side, he was allowed to take his chance in the Goodwood Cup and played his part in a magnificent race in an attempt to win it for the second year but wasn’t quite at his best in finishing third behind rising star stayer Kyprios and old-timer Stradivarius.
Trueshan met with a surprise defeat to the Goodwood Cup fourth Coltrane in the Doncaster Cup, but he ended the season as he had begun it (in a listed race at Nottingham) with a win in the race that he has made his own in recent seasons, the Long Distance Cup at Ascot. This time he turned the tables on Coltrane for a head win, with the Ebor winner Trawlerman back in third.
No doubt that race will be one of his targets again, while the absence of both Stradivarius and Kyprios makes the Gold Cup look more winnable, ground permitting of course. Alan King
Hamish (124) 6yo g Motivator - Tweed
The lightly-raced Hamish is another stayer who seems dependent on some give in the ground on turf nowadays and while not much of him was seen again last year, he proved better than ever under optimum conditions when running Kyprios to three quarters of a length in the Irish St Leger, sticking to his task and pulling well clear of former dual winner Search For A Star in third.
For the second season running Hamish was successful on his reappearance, this time in the Ormonde Stakes at Chester in May when conceding weight all round. He had to wait until the autumn for the ground to come right again, and after the Irish St Leger he dropped back to a mile and a half to win the Cumberland Lodge Stakes at Ascot, again under a penalty, but then lost out by a head to Max Vega in a messy edition of the St Simon Stakes at Newbury. William Haggas
Stradivarius (124) 8yo h Sea The Stars – Private Life
Stradivarius embarked on his sixth and final campaign in some of the top staying contests in 2022. It wasn’t quite a fairytale ending to a glittering career but he did add another win to his tally before he bowed out, winning the Yorkshire Cup on his reappearance for a third time to take his record number of pattern-race victories to eighteen.
With Kyprios emerging as the new top stayer half his age, Stradivarius could only pick up place money from the Gold Cup and Goodwood Cup but he was anything but disgraced on both occasions.
Held in by the winner just as the race was taking shape, he was beaten into third at Ascot but that defeat in a race he was trying to win for the fourth time resulted in his long-time partner Frankie Dettori losing the ride to Andrea Atzeni who’d partnered him to the first of his four Goodwood Cup victories as a three-year-old and they only just failed to win another in going down by a neck. Later than most, Stradivarius started his stallion career at the National Stud this spring. John & Thady Gosden
Iresine (123) 5yo g Manduro – Inanga
Under his regular rider Marie Velon, Iresine has been a prolific winner in France in recent seasons and took his record to eleven wins from fifteen starts by the end of last year.
However, until the last of them he’d been campaigned only over middle-distances, with his biggest success previously coming in the Prix Foy at Longchamp in September, despite being denied a run up the rail for much of the straight, and where his most notable rival was the Melbourne Cup-winning mare Verry Elleegant who finished third after making much of the running.
The Foy is an Arc trial but with the gelded Iresine ineligible for the Arc, he was stepped up in trip later in October instead for the Prix Royal-Oak. None of the big names in the staying division was present but Iresine beat some smart rivals in clear-cut fashion in the heavy ground, with only Kyprios’ sister Search For A Song finishing within ten lengths of him.
Iresine is capable of winning more good staying events in France and would be worth his place in the field if sent over for the Gold Cup. Jean-Pierre Gauvain
Mojo Star (123) 4yo c Sea The Stars - Galley
Mojo Star added a second place in the Gold Cup to his standout performances as a three-year-old when also runner-up in both the Derby and St Leger. The Gold Cup was his only appearance in 2022 and a fine effort in being beaten just half a length by Kyprios, carried even wider than the winner but bursting to the front approaching the final furlong before finding that race-fit rival too strong.
With earnings of more than half a million pounds in the bank but only a maiden win to his name so far, Mojo Star will surely be capable of winning a good staying race or two if getting a clear run at things this season. Richard Hannon
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