10/23/2013 12:12PM

Woodbine notes: Joshua Tree arrives for Canadian International

Michael Burns
Now We Can, who won the Group 2 Prix de Chantilly in June, arrived at Woodbine Monday and will start in Sunday's Canadian International for trainer Nicholas Clement.

ETOBICOKE, Ontario – Joshua Tree, who has sandwiched a pair of Canadian International wins around a second-place finish in the 2011 edition, checked in late Monday evening for another go-around in the Grade 1, $1 million turf race.

The Canadian International, at 1 1/2 miles, will share the spotlight Sunday with the Grade 1, $500,000 E.P. Taylor, a 1 1/4-mile turf stakes for fillies and mares.

“He’s an old hand at this job,” said Andrew Stringer, traveling head lad for Joshua Tree’s trainer, Ed Dunlop. “He’s in good form; he traveled well.”

Accompanying Joshua Tree on his overseas journey were Now We Can, a Canadian International candidate, and Fitful Skies and Moment in Time, both here for the E.P. Taylor.

Now We Can, trained by Nicholas Clement in France, has won 5 of 8 starts, including the Group 2 Prix de Chantilly over about 1 1/2 miles of good-to-soft turf in June.

Fitful Skies, based in France with trainer Henri Alex-Pantall, sports a 4-4-0 record from 10 starts and was a Group 3 winner over about 1 3/8 miles of good going when making her most recent appearance in Germany.

Moment in Time, trained in England by David Simcock, is a Group 3 winner and will make her first start since finishing sixth in the Group 1 Yorkshire Oaks over 1 1/2 miles of good-to-fast turf on Aug. 22.

“She’s in good form at home,” said traveling head lad Ian Russell, who was here last month with Woodbine Mile third-place finisher Trade Storm. “She seems quite happy being here.”

Attfield horses breeze

Trainer Roger Attfield sent out three horses for workouts ahead of the International card. Forte Dei Marmi and Perfect Timber breezed four furlongs in 52.60 seconds on a good E.P. Taylor turf course with the dogs well out Wednesday morning.

Jockey Eurico Rosa Da Silva was aboard Forte Dei Marmi, while exercise rider Ally Walker did the honors on Perfect Timber.

Moment of Majesty, also with Da Silva in the irons, breezed four furlongs in 51 seconds in preparation for the E.P. Taylor.

“They just galloped around out there,” Attfield said. “They had their strong works last week.”

Fifty Proof retired

Fifty Proof, who led into the final furlong before weakening slightly to finish fifth in the 2010 Canadian International, has been retired after finishing seventh here in last Sunday’s Bunty Lawless.

“We said going in that if he didn’t show up we’d be calling it a career,” said trainer Ian Black, who sent out the Ontario-sired 7-year-old gelding to win 7 of 23 starts and $782,175 for owners David Willmot, Ben Hutzel, and John Fielding. “He came from a modest legacy and gave us some great thrills.”

Also ranking high in that category was the Grade 1 Northern Dancer, in which Fifty Proof was beaten a half-length as the runner-up in his start prior to the Canadian International. He was Canada’s champion older male the following season.

While Fifty Proof’s immediate future has not been determined, his grand stature and appearance virtually guarantee him a second career.

“A lot of people are interested in him, as a riding horse,” Black said.

Skylander Girl fresh

A stakes doubleheader will be on tap here Saturday, with eight Ontario-bred 2-year-old fillies entered in the $150,000, six-furlong Fanfreluche and nine 3-year-old fillies slated for the $100,000 Ruling Angel at 6 1/2 furlongs.

Skylander Girl, with two stakes wins under her belt, will be looking to get back on target in the Fanfreluche after finishing sixth in the 6 1/2-furlong Muskoka and fifth in the Grade 2 Natalma over one mile of turf.

Skylander Girl was given some time off following the Sept. 14 Natalma and has returned to two bullet breezes at four furlongs.

“She’s fresh: she’s doing really well,” said Skylander Girl’s owner and trainer, Al Patykewich.

◗ Jockeys Emma-Jayne Wilson and apprentice Skye Chernetz will be serving three-day suspensions, this Friday through Sunday.

◗ Jim Mazur and Jim Bannon will host a handicapping seminar here Saturday focusing on the Nov. 1 and Nov. 2 Breeders’ Cup cards at Santa Anita.