10/13/2011 1:16PM

Woodbine: De Royer-Dupre, Soumillon try for E.P. Taylor repeat

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Michael Burns
Trainer Alain de Royer-Dupre and jockey Christophe Soumillon, who won last year’s edition of the E.P. Taylor with Reggane, are teaming up this year with Adventure Seeker.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario —The E.P. Taylor Stakes has almost always fared well in terms of European interest and Sunday’s running will be no exception.

Eight fillies and mares have been flown in for the E.P. Taylor, a 1 1/4-mile turf race which offers Grade 1 status and a purse of $1 million.

And all are new equine faces on the Woodbine scene as the only returnee from last year’s E.P. Taylor is locally-based Miss Keller, who thwarted a European sweep with her second-place finish.

Several of the European connections have made their mark in E.P. Taylors past, however.

Trainer Alain de Royer-Dupre and jockey Christophe Soumillon, who won last year’s edition of the E.P. Taylor with Reggane, are teaming up this year with Adventure Seeker.

Bred in France, the 3-year-old Adventure Seeker has run just five times and is coming off a win in the listed Prix de Liancourt over about 1 5/16 miles of firm turf at Longchamp on Sept. 2. Soumillon has been aboard for each of her appearances.

De Royer-Dupre also won the E.P. Taylor in 1987 with Khariyda in her 3-year-old campaign.

Robert Collet will be seeking his third E.P. Taylor win with Dream Peace.

Collet won the E.P. Taylor in 2001 with 31-1 shot Choc Ice and in 1994 with Truly A Dream, who is the dam of I’m A Dreamer. Both Choc Ice and Truly A Dream were 3-year-olds.

Dream Peace, an Irish-bred 3-year-old, won the Group 2 Prix de la Nonette over 1 1/4 miles of soft turf in her last outing at Deauville on Aug. 23. Gerald Mosse, who was in the irons for the first time that day, retains the mount.

I’m A Dreamer, an Irish-bred 4-year-old, will be ridden by William Buick, who guided Lahaleeb to a 44-1 upset in the 2009 running of the E.P. Taylor.

Trained by David Simcock, who is racing here for the first time, I’m A Dreamer is coming off a fourth-place finish in the Grade 1 Sun Chariot over one mile of good to firm turf at Newmarket.

“She’s in good form, and she’s traveled over here well,”’ said traveling head lad Ian Russell.

Martin Dwyer, who won the 2003 Canadian International aboard Phoenix Reach, has the mount on Strawberrydaiquiri for the E.P. Taylor.

Trained by Brian Meehan, Strawberrydaiquiri is coming off a third-place finish in the Group 1 Sun Chariot Stakes over one mile of good-to-firm turf at Newmarket.

“She was just caught for second and she beat Together, who came back to finish second in a Group 1 [the First Lady at Keeneland], so the form looks all right,” said Jonathan Storey, who is here with Strawberrydaiquiri.

“And, she’s only had two runs this year.”

Strawberrydaiquiri began her 2011 campaign in the United Arab Emirates and then had been away for almost five months when she resurfaced in England on Aug. 20.

Roger Charlton, who trains Sea of Heartbreak, has recruited Garrett Gomez for the mount in the E.P. Taylor.

Sea of Heartbreak, a 4-year-old, won Longchamp’s Group 2 Prix de Royallieu over about 1 9/16 miles of firm turf in her last start Oct. 1.

“She ran well there,” said Steve Raymont, a Charlton assistant who is here with Strawberrydaiquiri. “She’s a nice filly, and she’s improving.

“We’ll find out how good she is, find out if she’s a Group 1 horse. We have nothing to lose.”

Gomez has a solid history on the local turf course with Grade 1 scores in the Canadian International and Northern Dancer with Champs Elysees in 2009, the Woodbine Mile with Shakespeare in 2007 and Ventura in 2009, and the Nearctic with Serious Attitude last hear.

He also won the 1991 E.P. Taylor, which was a Grade 2 at the time, with Lady Shirl.

Gomez gets mount on Nearctic favorite

Gomez also will ride Bated Breath for Charlton in the Nearctic, the six-furlong race for 3-year-olds and upward which will be the first of the three Grade 1 turf features on the Canadian International card.

Bated Breath is the morning-line favorite for the Nearctic off his recent second-place finish in Haydock’s Group 1 Sprint Cup over six furlongs of good to fast turf.

The winner, Dream Ahead, came back to upset Goldikova in the about seven-furlong Prix de la Foret at Longchamp.

“He’s in good form,” said Raymont.. “We could do without the rain, possibly. We came here for the firm ground.”

The rain, which began falling late Wednesday afternoon and continued into the early hours of Thursday, was scheduled to resume late Thursday and continue intermittently over the next few days.