Dazzling Star Looks To Give Appleby Third Success in G1 Natalma

September 14, 2023

By Bill Tallon – Woodbine Communications

TORONTO— Trainer Charlie Appleby has a remarkable record at Woodbine, with his last seven starters here heading back to England with Grade 1 victories.

On Saturday, Appleby will be looking for his third success in the Grade 1 Johnnie Walker Natalma Stakes when he sends out Dazzling Star (GB) in the $500,000, one-mile turf race.

The Natalma also is a “Win and You’re In” for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf, a Grade 1 race over the same distance which will be run at Santa Anita on November 3. Fifteen fillies have been listed with four cross-entered for Saturday’s bet365 Summer Stakes.

“It is a race which we like to target each year, and she has a similar profile to our other fillies who we have run in the past with success,” said Appleby, whose previous Natalma scores came with Wild Beauty (GB) in 2021 and La Pelosa (IRE) in 2018.

Dazzling Star races for the powerhouse owner/breeder Godolphin, who have provided five of Appleby’s Woodbine winners. The daughter of Blue Point and Dancing Sands has seen action three times, all in six-furlong races, with the two most recent being straightaway turf runs.

Appleby, noting that the Natalma has been on Dazzling Star’s dance card since her last-out fourth-place finish in Ascot’s Group 3 Princess Margaret on July 29, acknowledges that the Natalma’s one-mile trip around one left-handed turn poses a new challenge for his promising charge.

“It is an unknown, but she settles well in her work at home and her half-brother (the 3-year-old Bold Act) has won over 10 furlongs,” said the trainer. “(The E.P. Taylor turf) is a fair track which should only help her.”

William Buick, who guided Modern Games to victory in last year’s Grade 1 Woodbine Mile and Mysterious Night to success in the same day’s Grade 1 Summer Stakes, will do the honours on the current pair of Appleby invaders, which also includes Woodbine Mile favourite Master of the Seas (IRE).

Ozara makes her debut a winning one Aug. 6 at Saratoga (NYRA/Coglianese)

Ozara (IRE), a maiden winner over 1 1/16 miles of “good” Saratoga turf in her only career start on August 6, will be stepping into stakes company for owner Cheyenne Stable LLC and trainer Christophe Clement.

“To be completely honest, we’ve been looking at this race for her ever since she broke her maiden,” said Miguel Clement, son and assistant to the trainer. “We were strongly considering a Kentucky Downs race or the Natalma, and we decided to go with the Natalma and we’re probably a little more at ease with the Woodbine course than we were with Kentucky Downs.”

Although Ozara was sent off at 12-1 in that debut, Clement said her success was no huge surprise for her connections.

“We liked this horse from day one. She’d been working well on the grass, and we were actually quite confident in her,” he said. “She’s a gutsy little filly, with tactical speed and a turn of foot that makes her very dangerous.”

The Clement outfit finished second in the 2021 edition of the Natalma with Pizza Bianca, who went on to win the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf.

Trainer Mark Casse will be looking for his eighth victory in the Natalma, the most recent coming with Victory to Victory in 2016 and has entered a quartet of Golden Canary, Go With Gusto, Ready to Jam and Dancing Duchess.

Golden Canary and Go With Gusto are cross-entered in the Summer Stakes, the Grade 1, one-mile turf race for 2-year-olds, which also is part of the “Win and You’re In” series.

Owned by Eclipse Thoroughbred Partners and Gary Barber, Golden Canary defeated males to win the Soaring Free over 6 ½ furlongs of turf here on August 20. Dancing Duchess finished a neck back as the runner-up.

Airosa, conditioned by Kevin Attard, won the Catch A Glimpse, a 6 ½-furlong turf race named in honour of Casse’s Natalma and Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies winner.

Attard also has entered Bolt Enoree and Rhapsody, with Airosa and Bold Enoree cross-entered in the Summer.

Dea Matrona (FR), making her first North American start for new trainer Chad Brown, also will invade from south of the border along with Brocknardini, She Feels Pretty, Ms. Tart, and She’s Fire.

$500,000 Johnnie Walker Natalma (Grade 1) – Race 8

Post – Horse – Jockey – Trainer  

1 – Dazzling Star (GB) – William Buick – Charlie Appleby

2 – Bolt Enoree – Patrick Husbands – Kevin Attard

3 – Dancing Duchess – Emma-Jayne Wilson – Mark Casse

4 – Brocknardini – Declan Carroll – George Weaver

5 – Ms. Tart – Antonio Gallardo – Todd Beattie

6 – Airosa – Rafael Hernandez – Kevin Attard

7 – Simply in Front – Jose Campos – Patrick Dixon

8 – Ready to Jam – Sahin Civaci – Mark Casse

9 – Go With Gusto – Emma-Jayne Wilson – Mark Casse

10 – She’s Fire – Addiel Ayala – Kevin Rice

11 – She Feels Pretty – John Velazquez – Cherie DeVaux

12 – Ozara (IRE) – Dylan Davis – Christophe Clement

13 – Dea Matrona (FR) – Joel Rosario – Chad Brown

14 – Golden Canary – Sahin Civaci – Mark Casse

15 – Rhapsody – Kazushi Kimura – Kevin Attard  

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