Multiple stakes winner Avie’s Flatter, who cruised to victory in his return to action in June, faces eight rivals on the E.P. Taylor Turf Course in Sunday’s Grade 2 $175,000 Connaught Cup Stakes, at Woodbine.
Bred and owned by Ivan Dalos (Tall Oaks Farm), the five-year-old son of Flatter, trained by Canadian Horse Racing Hall of Fame inductee Josie Carroll, romped to an impressive 5 ¼-length score over the Tapeta on June 13 at Woodbine.
The victory, at seven furlongs, was the first race in nearly a year for Avie’s Flatter, whose previous outing was a fourth-place finish in the Grade 3 Seagram Cup last July.
Sporting a record of 5-3-2 from 14 starts, the bay’s most recent effort had Dalos beaming.
“It was nice to see him come back. You always hope for that kind of effort, but you never know. We always knew he was a good horse. Last year wasn’t a good year for him. He had all kinds of problems, but it looks like he’s back to his old self.”
Avie’s Flatter won his career debut by 2 ½ lengths on the main track at Woodbine in August 2018. He then rallied to finish fourth in the Grade 1 Summer Stakes on the Toronto oval turf one month later.
He ended his two-year-old campaign with consecutive wins at Woodbine, taking the Cup and Saucer Stakes by 5 ¼ lengths on the grass in October and the Coronation Futurity by a half-length in November, en route to Sovereign Award honours as Canada’s champion two-year-old male.
The Ontario-bred made his three-year-old debut in the Grade 3 Transylvania Stakes in April 2019 following a 4 ½-month layoff. He rallied to win the 1 1/16-mile turf by a half-length.
That 2019 season yielded a second in the first two jewels of the Canadian Triple Crown, the Queen’s Plate and Prince of Wales Stakes, respectively, before a third in the final jewel, the Breeders’ Stakes.
In three 2020 appearances, Avie’s Flatter finished third in an allowance race in June, second in the Grade 2 Eclipse on July 4 and fourth in the Seagram Cup just over three weeks later.
“When he was a two-year-old and he started breezing, he showed that he had talent,” remembered Dalos. “When you breed a horse, you always hope you breed a good one, but they don’t all turn out to be like that. I don’t recall him being a troublesome horse. I think he was pretty mature. He always had a good mind.”
Dalos is hoping for a repeat of his latest performance, the first victory in 26 months for Avie’s Flatter, who is a half-brother (same dam, different sire) to Canadian classic winner Avie’s Mineshaft.
“That would be nice to see. Hopefully, he can come up with the same type of race he had in his last start.”
Trainer Mark Casse, who won the 2015 Connaught with Lockout, sends out Chuck Willis, Olympic Runner, Proven Strategies and Tap It to Win. Silent Poet, trained by Nicholas Gonzalez for Stronach Stables, is back to defend his title.
Hall of Fame jockey Robin Platts has won a record eight editions of the Connaught, including back-to-back runnings (1968-69) with James Bay. Plate Glass won the two first runnings, in 1912 and 1913.
The Connaught Cup is race 7 on Sunday’s 12-race card.
First post time is 1:10 p.m. Fans can also watch and wager on all the action via HPIbet.com.
FIELD FOR THE $175,000 CONNAUGHT CUP
POST – HORSE – JOCKEY – TRAINER
1 – Avie’s Flatter – Luis Contreras – Josie Carroll
2 – Silent Poet – Justin Stein – Nicholas Gonzalez
3 – Olympic Runner – Rafael Hernandez – Mark Casse
4 – Tap It to Win – Patrick Husbands – Mark Casse
5 – Proven Strategies – Emma-Jayne Wilson – Mark Casse
6 – Gray’s Fable – Gary Boulanger – Roger Attfield
7 – Holiday Stone – David Moran – George Weaver
8 – Chuck Willis – Kazushi Kimura– Mark Casse
9 – Eskiminzin – Slade Callaghan – Carlos Grant
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