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Just Because Everyone Else Is Doing It…

This week’s Star 3-Year-Old Retiree is New Approach. He’s had a tremendous year — becoming only the third horse to win the Dewhurst, the Derby and the Champion Stakes. With eight wins from eleven starts, the son of Galileo heads off into the sunset to become a Darley stallion. So why the rush? In this case, it’s (still) all about the rivalry with Coolmore:

On past form, New Approach would surely have transferred to Godolphin for a four-year-old career. But the pendulum within Sheikh Mohammed’s global empire is swinging the other way. Godolphin retains its primacy but the sheikh’s boycott of Coolmore sires, now in its third year, makes it imperative that his own stallion tribe delivers him runners of the highest class.

John Ferguson, managing director of Darley, the sheikh’s global bloodstock conglomerate, is orchestrating the drive. “In the case of New Approach, ” Ferguson said, “you have a champion two-year-old by one of the great sires [Galileo] who has won the Derby, the Irish Champion Stakes and now the Champion Stakes. He is an outstanding athlete.

So, once again, rather than develop that rivalry on the track, it will take place behind closed doors (for a few years, at least) while New Approach racks up stud fees. He’s likely not the last one for the year, either — Raven’s Pass is also rumored to be next to the shed after the Breeders’ Cup (which makes the event rather too well named).

And as for the only horse to beat New Approach (three times) — well, there’s no word yet on Henrythenavigator’s plans for next year. Next weekend may provide some direction, but one hopes at least one of this year’s stars bucks this ugly trend.

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