Last winter, the Juddmonte brain trust had the clever idea to base Flintshire (GB) in the United States for his 2016 campaign, and the masterstroke yielded him an Eclipse Award as champion turf male.
Flintshire had been a money-spinning globetrotter for original trainer Andre Fabre. Although he captured the 2013 Grand Prix de Paris (G1), 2014 Hong Kong Vase (G1) and 2015 Sword Dancer Invitational (G1), he was especially known for compiling a series of placings at the highest level. Perhaps most memorably, Flintshire was twice runner-up in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (G1) and the bridesmaid in the 2014 Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1).
Requiring firm turf to put his best foot forward, and already proven capable of top efforts in his past American forays, Flintshire was a natural émigré. And spying a weak domestic turf scene ripe for the taking, the son of Dansili (GB) arrived in the Chad Brown barn as virtually the pro tem leader of the division.
Brown unveiled his high-profile recruit in one of the deepest races of the season, the June 6 Manhattan H. (G1). Despite his six-month layoff, and resuming at a 1 1/4-mile trip short of his best, Flintshire was simply too good. His overmatched rivals at Saratoga had less of a chance to contain him. After overcoming traffic trouble without breaking a sweat in Bowling Green (G2), he got a controversial assist in the Sword Dancer Invitational (G1). His rabbit Inordinate came off the fence to give him a free pass through, and Flintshire took the right-of-way to a bloodless repeat victory. He hardly needed the help.
Come October at Belmont Park, the weather turned against him for the Joe Hirsch Turf Classic Invitational (G1), and fans were reminded of why he pitched camp stateside in the first place. Soft turf dampens Flintshire’s acceleration, and as his stride floundered, he was left vulnerable to front-running Ectot (GB).
The Breeders’ Cup Turf over a pristine course at Santa Anita gave him his prerequisite ground, only Flintshire bumped into an even more formidable galloper in Highland Reel (Ire). Unable to reel in a world-class pacesetter in the zone, Flintshire settled for second again – the same spot he’d filled when the pair last met, and Highland Reel had dethroned him in the 2015 Hong Kong Vase. While some of the Eclipse electorate thought Highland Reel toppled his Eclipse candidacy too, the majority honored Flintshire for his overall domestic resume.
|TURF MALE||FIRST-PLACE VOTES|
|Da Big Hoss||1|
Juddmonte’s all-time richest earner with approximately $9.5 million to his credit, Flintshire retired with a record of 24-8-12-1. The seven-year-old will enter stud at Hill ‘n’ Dale Farms near Lexington, Kentucky, for a $20,000 (stands and nurses) fee.
Out of the Group 2-winning and French classic-placed Sadler’s Wells mare Dance Routine, Flintshire is a full brother to multiple stakes scorer and Group 2-placed Dance Moves. This is the extended family of Group 1 victor Spanish Moon.