10/16/2015 10:26AM

Locally based Interpol brings sharp form into Canadian International

Michael Burns
Interpol wins the Grade 1 Northern Dancer Turf on Sept. 13.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Only a handful of Woodbine runners have been victorious in the Grade 1 Canadian International in the last 25 years. The late bloomer Interpol could add his name to the list in the 78th running of the 12-furlong turf route on Sunday.

Interpol, an Ontario-bred 4-year-old trained by Sid Attard, has done little wrong in the lead-up to the $1 million event. He notched his first stakes at 21-1 in the Grade 2 Sky Classic in August, when Emma-Jayne Wilson inherited the mount from an injured Jesse Campbell. Wilson also was aboard for his hard-fought score in the Grade 1 Northern Dancer Turf, the 12-furlong prep for the International that was contested on yielding ground.

Wilson said it’s rare for a horse to hold off all comers throughout the longest stretch on the continent.

“The thing that intrigues me the most about him is he’s so tenacious,” said Wilson. “When I’ve made the lead with him, he’s fought off some of the best horses on the grounds, and ships-ins as well, for the entire length of the stretch. I think that says how much gumption he has. The last horse I can remember who had that kind of three-eighths-of-a-mile run was Rahy’s Attorney.”

The International tops an excellent card that also includes the Grade 1, $500,000 E.P. Taylor; the Grade 2, $300,000 Nearctic; and the Grade 3, $150,000 Ontario Fashion. The International, scheduled for 5:40 p.m. Eastern, will be broadcast in Canada on TSN5 from 4:30 to 6 p.m. The late pick four, which encompasses races 8-11, will have a guaranteed pool of $500,000. The early pick four is guaranteed at $300,000.

Canadian International, Race 9


Interpol (Last 3 Beyers: 98-95-87)

◗ Aside from his ability, his strengths are his tactical speed and that he can handle firm or giving ground.

“I really think he’s in good shape,” said Attard, who recorded his biggest win in the 2001 Woodbine Mile with Numerous Times.

Second Step (North American debut)

◗ The morning-line favorite is coming off a distant fourth in the Group 1 Irish St. Leger, in which he was beaten just three-quarters of a length for second while going 1 3/4 miles.

“The distance was maybe a little bit too far,” said Emthe Kuhle-Hansen, an assistant to trainer Luca Cumani. “He didn’t disgrace himself.”

◗ The 4-year-old Second Step has four wins from seven starts at 12 furlongs, including a Group 1 victory in Germany in August.

“That race was just amazing,” said Kuhle-Hansen. “Initially, it didn’t look like he was going anywhere. All of a sudden, [jockey Jamie Spencer] picked him up, and he absolutely flew home.”

Cannock Chase (North American debut)

◗ The Kentucky-bred won a listed stakes convincingly over 12 furlongs on Sept. 25 for trainer Michael Stoute. His internationally acclaimed rider, Ryan Moore, is seeking his third consecutive International win.

James Savage, an assistant to Stoute, said the last race was an experiment in terms of distance.

“The boss wanted to find out if he could stay 12 furlongs,” Savage said. “We were happy after that he stayed it well. He traveled well throughout the race and quickened away. He ran through the line.”

Sheikhzayedroad (Last Beyer: 100)

◗ The well-traveled 6-year-old captured last year’s Northern Dancer Turf but is winless in eight starts since then in England and Dubai.

“He’s won on this course before,” said Ian Russell, an assistant to trainer David Simcock. “The obvious choice was to come back here.”

Up With the Birds (Last 3 Beyers: 87-98-93)

◗ The 2013 Canadian Horse of the Year is winless in four outings this year, his first campaign for trainer Graham Motion. The Sam-Son Farm homebred is exiting back-to-back fourths in the Grade 1 Arlington Million and the Grade 2 Commonwealth Cup over nine furlongs at Laurel.

“I thought his Arlington Million going a mile and a quarter was very good,” said Motion. “We tried him shorter last time, but he didn’t seem to handle it.”

Triple Threat (Last 3 Beyers: 91-65-99)

◗ He won the Grade 2 Monmouth Handicap over firm turf in June but then laid an egg over yielding ground in the Arlington Million. If he genuinely prefers it firm, then his stalking third most recently in the Northern Dancer Turf was better than it appears.

DRF FORMULATOR FACT: No. 7 Triple Threat. Trainer Bill Mott is 40-4-3-5 with a $0.58 ROI over the past five years in turf-route graded stakes in the third start following a layoff. Click for more details. Mike Hogan

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Kaigun (Last 3 Beyers: 100-88-93)

◗ He rallied for fourth in the Grade 1 Woodbine Mile, which should set him up nicely for the stretch-out to a distance over which he’s untested.

DRF FORMULATOR FACT: No. 10 Kaigun. Trainer Mark Casse is 26-1-6-4 with a $0.54 ROI over the past five years in turf-route graded stakes of 10 furlongs and longer. Click for more details. Mike Hogan