National Defense Filly Wins G2 Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint
Widden Stud Victoria shuttler National Defense (IRE) was in the spotlight at the Breeders’ Cup meeting at Del Mar on Friday when his brilliantly fast Wesley Ward trained daughter Twilight Gleaming became the first filly to win the Group II Juvenile Turf Sprint (5f).
Irad Ortiz Jr took up the running on Twilight Gleaming and she led all the way, defying all challengers to win by half a length
Ward loves to send a team to Royal Ascot every year and Twilight Gleaming finished second in the Group II Queen Mary Stakes.
The European sojourn did not end there as Twilight Gleaming travelled to Deauville, where she won the Listed Prix de la Vallee d’Auge by a neck.
Bred by Pier House Stud and campaigned by Barbara Banke’s Stonestreet Stables, Twilight Gleaming advances her record to three wins and two seconds from five starts.
From the first small crop by Invincible Spirit’s Group I Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere winning son, Twilight Gleaming was purchased by Ben McElroy on behalf of Banke for £75,000 at the 2020 Goffs’ Orby Sale in 2020.
“We started early. This filly went to Barbara’s farm in Ocala. They did a great job, and when they sent her to me she was well prepared. I told Barbara that this filly was very fast and precocious,” Ward told Blood-Horse.
Twilight Gleaming is the best of two winners from three to race out of the unraced Dansili mare Thames Pageant.
Thames Pageant is a sister to Mainstream who raced for Matthew Smith in Australia as Invictus Prince. The son of Dansili had his moment in the sun when separating Winx and D’argento in the 2018 Group 1 Winx Stakes.
Thames Pageant is a half-sister to the Group III winner Reach For The Moon and stakes-placed Chalk Stream out of the stakes-winning Sadler’s Wells mare Golden Stream.
Standing at a fee of $9,900, National Defense shuttles to Widden Stud Victoria from the Irish National Stud and his first Australian yearlings sell in 2022.