French horseman Yves Seguin’s New Zealand-trained mare Arcenciel is the only horse in this year’s Ipswich Cup seeking successive wins, the four-year-old having destroyed a quality field at Caloundra at the start of the month.
The marquee event on a bumper line-up at Ipswich this Saturday, the $200,000 Listed Ipswich Cup (2150m) has attracted a just-below capacity final field of 15 stayers including Black Minnaloushe mare Arcenciel.
Arcenciel enjoyed a barnstorming win in their Australian race debut on June 5 when she scored victory by an easy five lengths in the Caloundra Business Awards Handicap (1600m).
The success was her third career win from eight starts and prompted Arcenciel’s Cambridge-based trainer Seguin to give her a shot at a black-type win in the 2011 Ipswich Cup on Saturday.
Seguin was originally concerned Arcenciel’s rating would not be enough to earn her a start in the Ipswich Cup, but when weights were released on Wednesday she easily made the line-up with 53kg.
“I was worried she didn’t have a high enough rating to get into the Ipswich Cup but I’m delighted she’ll get a run now,” Seguin said.
For her Caloundra triumph Arcenciel was ridden by Chris Munce, the champion hoop continuing his association with the progressive mare for her second run on Aussie turf.
Munce became a five-time Brisbane Cup winning jockey last Saturday thanks to an upset win from Gai Waterhouse’s emerging galloper Tullamore, and this weekend will vie for his second Ipswich Cup title.
The rider won his first and to date sole Ipswich Cup aboard the John Wallace-trained Oompala back in 1994 and Seguin is confident he will be the jockey on the winner again this year.
“Chris was very happy with her last start win and we’re confident she’ll run very well,” Seguin said.
“It’s a big step up in class for her but she’s a promising mare.”
Drawn in barrier 11 for the Ipswich Cup, Arcenciel will face a tough field of rivals in the Queensland feature including dual defending champion the Robert Heathcote-trained Our Lukas (barrier two), recent Group 3 Premier’s Cup winner Shuffle The Cash (barrier 12) and last year’s Summer Cup champion Spechenka (barrier 10).
Seguin, 53, has been a part of the international racing industry for over two decades originally working in California and then in Dubai, France and finally basing himself in New Zealand for the past seven years.
His most famous association was as an assistant to Alain De Royer-Dupre, the trainer behind last year’s Melbourne Cup winner Americain.
Arcenciel’s Caloundra win was Seguin’s maiden in Australia and he is loving the atmosphere down under having come over for the Queensland Winter Racing Carnival.
“I’ve never been to Australia before and I love it,” he said.
“Caloundra is a very nice place to train and I hope to be back again soon.
“I bought three horses over with me but this mare (Arcenciel) is the only one to win so far.
“I’ve trained a few Listed winners in the United States and I ran third with Green Supreme in the Group One Levin Classic at Otaki (in 2009).”
A strong performance by Arcenciel in the Ipswich Cup this weekend and Seguin plans to back her up in the $200,000 Caloundra Cup (2400m) on Saturday, July 2.
“I’m heading back home in mid-July and if Arcenciel can run in the first four in the Ipswich Cup I’ll run her again in the Caloundra Cup,” he confirmed.