10/07/2011 12:07PM

Woodbine lures swarm of Europeans for Canadian International, E.P. Taylor, Nearctic

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Michael Burns
The European-based Redwood, winner of the 2010 Northern Dancer. is back to take his second crack at the Canadian International.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario —The fields for next Sunday’s $1.5 million Canadian International, $1 million E.P. Taylor, and $500,000 Nearctic were still in flux as of Friday morning,

But one thing seems certain, and that is the fact the E.P. Taylor turf course will get a good workout on the blockbuster program.

A total of 18 possible candidates were listed for the Grade 1, 1 1/2-mile Canadian International. A maximum of 16 horses can start, with preference based on lifetime earnings.

The Grade 1 E.P. Taylor, a 1 1/4-mile race for fillies and mares, had 13 possible entrants.

The Grade 1 Nearctic, a six-furlong turf race, has 14 probable starters, which would be the limit at the distance.

An unprecedented number of European invaders are booked for the three races with nine listed for the Canadian International, eight for the E.P. Taylor, and three for the Nearctic.

Heading the probable transatlantic shippers for the Canadian International are Joshua Tree, Mores Wells, and Redwood, the top three finishers from last year’s edition.

Joshua Tree, a 4-year-old colt who was in trainer Aidan O’Brien’s stable for last year’s victory, was sold last winter and now campaigns for trainer Marco Botti.

In his last start, which came over about 1 1/2 miles of yielding going in the Group 1 Grosse Preis von Baden in Germany, Joshua Tree was beaten 13 lengths as the third-place finisher behind subsequent Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe winner Danedream.

Mores Wells was saddled by Richard Gibson last year but now is trained by Mike Delzangles. The 7-year-old Mores Wells is coming off a second-place finish in Sweden’s Group 3 Stockholm Cup, an about 1 1/2-mile race which he won last year prior to his first trip to Canada.

Redwood won the Grade 1 Northern Dancer over 1 1/2 miles of turf here last fall and then returned from England for the Canadian International.

Charlie Hills was here last year on behalf of his father, trainer Barry Hills, but will be Redwood’s trainer of record this time around and his brother, Michael Hills, retains the mount.

Dream Peace and Sea of Heartbreak, both Group 2 winners in their last starts, top the prospective European invaders for the Taylor.

Robert Collet trains Dream Peace, whose success came over about 1 1/4 miles of soft turf at Deauville in France.

Sea of Heartbreak would be returning on short notice after capturing the about 1 9/16-mile Prix de Royalieu for trainer Roger Charlton at Longhamp on Oct. 1.

Bated Breath, coming off a near-miss in the Group 1 Betfred Sprint Cup over six furlong of good turf at Haydock, looms the best of the Nearctic prospects.

Dream Ahead, who edged Bated Breath there, came back to defeat the mighty Goldikova in the Group 1 Prix de la Foret at Longchamp.

The only confirmed American shipper for the Canadian International is Rahystrada. Dyna Waltz is the lone filly from the United States slated for the E.P. Taylor.

Rahystrada, a 7-year-old gelding trained by Byron Hughes, is coming off a dominant score in the Grade 3 Kentucky Cup Turf over 1 1/2 miles on the unique Kentucky Downs layout.

Dyna Waltz, a 4-year-old who is conditioned by Jonathan Sheppard, is coming off a second-place finish in the Omnibus Stakes over 1 3/8 miles of turf at Monmouth Park.

Awakino Cat, Fiddlers Patriot, Heros Reward, Right One, and Yield Bogey are expected to come north for the Nearctic.

Right One was here last month for the Grade 1 Woodbine Mile and finished third, beaten just a neck, for trainer Christophe Clement.

Local participation will be strong for the Canadian International with Celtic Conviction, Hailstone, Kara’s Orientation, Laureate Conductor, Musketier, Simmard, and Stormy Lord all on target for the race.

Roger Attfield, who trains both Musketier and Simmard, has Miss Keller and Perfect Shirl set for the E.P. Taylor with his Mekong Melody also a possibility and Magic Broomstick being a fourth local candidate.

The home team for the Nearctic consists of Fatal Bullet, Grand Adventure, Jenny’s So Great, Riding the River, and Signature Red.

Regally Ready, based here last year for trainer Steve Asmussen, has been racing in the U.S. this year but returned last month to prepare for the Nearctic.