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where the horse is always the hero
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Posted 2024-04-11 10:21:33  
Team Valor's week like no other

"Team Valor International experienced an extraordinary week from March 30 to April 6, clinching victories in four stakes races spanning different countries and continents," remarked Barry Irwin, the visionary behind Team Valor's success.

Irwin vividly likened their remarkable streak to a golfer hitting every shot perfectly. The winning spree commenced with Facteur Cheval's unexpected triumph in the Dubai Turf (G1T) at Meydan Racecourse on March 30, marking his return after a five-month hiatus. Irwin shared the palpable sense of relief and elation as Facteur Cheval finally broke his streak of near-misses in group 1 races.

The celebration had scarcely subsided when Easy secured victory in the listed Cork Stakes at Cork Racecourse in Ireland, adding to the jubilation. Irwin recounted the frenetic atmosphere as the stablemates' victories unfolded within minutes of each other.

Despite Easy's prolonged absence from racing due to knee surgery, trainer Andrew Slattery Sr. exuded confidence in her, a confidence that proved well-founded. Irwin admitted to watching skeptically, waiting anxiously for the outcome, but was pleasantly surprised by Easy's resounding performance.

Buoyed by their triumphs in Europe, Team Valor shifted their focus to North America. Nadette, a last-minute addition to the Wilshire Stakes (G3T) at Santa Anita Park, captured her first U.S. victory in impressive fashion. Irwin marveled at Nadette's unexpected dominance, particularly considering her seasonal condition during the race.

Amidst the racing fervor, Team Valor strategically acquired Frances Ethel, a promising South African-bred filly. Frances Ethel completed the quartet of victories for Team Valor by triumphing in the South Africa Oaks (G2) on April 6, maintaining their flawless streak for the week.

Irwin emphasized his past successes with South African fillies and mares in international competitions, drawing parallels between the breeding industries in California and South Africa. He expressed admiration for the robustness and resilience of horses bred in South Africa.

As the exhilarating week drew to a close, Team Valor's streak concluded on April 7 with Mansa Musa finishing second in the Palisades Stakes at Keeneland. Despite the defeat, Irwin lauded Mansa Musa's valiant effort and expressed unwavering confidence in his potential as a 3-year-old sprinter.

Reflecting on the extraordinary week, Irwin acknowledged the rarity of such achievements in the volatile world of horse racing. He expressed profound gratitude for the magical experience, recognizing the unpredictable nature of the sport and cherishing moments of triumph like these.

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