Just when it looked like True Valour (IRE) was finding his best groove since having his talents transferred stateside, a minor physical setback put him on the sidelines for more than seven months. Once the son of Kodiac (GB) was able to return to a competitive setting in October, he more than made up for lost time with a victory in the City of Hope Mile Stakes (G2) at Santa Anita Park.
After making his first 14 career starts in Europe for owner Qatar Racing, True Valour was transferred to trainer Simon Callaghan’s California-based barn in the summer of 2018 following his victory in the Ballycorus Stakes at Leopardstown last June. He would lose his first three starts for his new conditioner, including off-the-boards efforts in the 2018 Eddie Read Stakes (G2) and Del Mar Mile Handicap (G2), before breaking through with a victory in the Thunder Road Stakes (G3) in February.
The 5-year-old horse would emerge from that effort with bone bruising, however, putting him on the shelf until the fall. His fresh legs were put to strong use in the City of Hope as he sat covered up with jockey Drayden Van Dyke in the irons before rallying four-wide in deep stretch to get up by a head.
“He’s such a cool horse, he always comes and makes a big showing,” Callaghan said. “He had some time off after the Thunder Road due to some minor bone bruising and…we felt we had him really fit (for the City of Hope). He was pretty fresh early, he pulled Drayden early, gave him a perfect ride, he sprinted quickly to the front and it worked out well.”
Callaghan is seeking his first career Breeders’ Cup win and comes into the 2019 event having saddled 10 previous starters in the World Championships.