Twilight Gleaming Breeders’ Cup Bound After French Win

Twilight Gleaming  gave Wesley Ward and Frankie Dettori the perfect start to a big weekend when holding off the persistent challenge of the Tom Dascombe-trained Delmona  to land the listed Prix de la Vallee d’Auge Aug. 7 at Deauville Racecourse.

The pair will be hoping for more of the same with Campanelle  in the LARC Prix Maurice de Gheest (G1) Aug. 8 but Twilight Gleaming, who was second to Quick Suzy  in the Queen Mary Stakes (G2) at Royal Ascot in June, kept her end of the bargain up and looks likely to be in the Ward squad for the Breeders’ Cup.

“I was worried about the ground, which is completely different to Ascot, so I was trying to save her a bit and Olivier (Peslier on Delmona) got the jump on me,” said Dettori. “She fought really well and I expect her to be better on faster ground, but she’s very honest.”

Despite several heavy showers Dettori described the ground as no worse than good to soft and although Twilight Gleaming was not wildly impressive, Delmona brought good form into the race, having been beaten a neck by Zain Claudette  in the July 24 Princess Margaret Keeneland Stakes (G3) over six furlongs at Ascot.

It was another 3 1/2 lengths to Royal Ashirah  in third, while the rest of the seven-runner field came in at long intervals.

Dettori added: “The Breeders’ Cup (Juvenile Turf Sprint, G2T) is the target and that’s why Wesley begged me to come and ride her today.

“If the ground was quicker I would have made more use of her, but there’s a headwind and I was trying to save a bit. The margin wasn’t big but she got the job done.”

Twilight Gleaming broke her maiden in her second start in the U.S. at Belmont Park before shipping overseas for her Royal Ascot bid.

The Stonestreet Stables runner became the first stakes winner for freshman sire National Defense  with Saturday’s victory. The son of Invincible Spirit  was a group 1 winner in France and stands at Irish National Stud for €5,000. From his first crop, National Defense has sired three winners from eight runners to date.

Bred by Pier House in Ireland, Twilight Gleaming was purchased for $96,931 by Ben McElroy at the 2020 Goffs Orby Yearling Sale. She is the second winner produced from the unraced Dansili  mare Thames Pageant, who currently has a yearling son of Sioux Nation .

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