Pattison Canadian International Notes: Pumpkin Rumble & Pivoine
Pumpkin Rumble and Pivoine both have their sights set on winning the 2019 Pattison Canadian International, at Woodbine Racetrack this weekend.
Woodbine-based Pumpkin Rumble, a 10-time winner from 45 starts, goes for his second straight stakes score in Saturday’s Grade 1 $800,000 Pattison Canadian International at Woodbine.
Owned by Al and Bill Ulwelling, and trained by Kevin Attard, the eight-year-old gelded son of English Channel heads into the 1 ½-mile turf classic off an impressive win in the Alphabet Soup Handicap on September 21.
Sent off as the 6-5 favourite in the 1 1/16-mile turf event at Parx, Pumpkin Rumble showed plenty of fight in the stretch, using a rail rally to cross the wire a half-length victor in a course record time of 1:40.21 over ‘good’ ground.
“It was amazing,” said jockey Luis Saez. “We broke perfect and we saved ground. I didn’t know where we were going to go because everyone was moving everywhere. We stayed on the rail, and, thank God, we did. He finished strong and I am very happy with how he ran.”
Now, the chestnut will stretch out in distance on his home turf, and take on some formidable rivals, including last year’s International champ, Desert Encounter.
Attard knows exactly what to expect from his wily veteran.
“He’s a horse that always shows up to compete. Those are the ones you love to have. He’s a classy older guy that is as honest as they come. He’s been competitive and consistent for a long time.”
Boasting 28 top-three finishes (10-8-10), Pumpkin Rumble has carved out a solid career that includes a record of 5-5-7 in 30 grass engagements.
In his past six starts, the Pennsylvania-bred has four wins and a pair of thirds. He capped off his 2018 campaign with a half-length triumph in the Grade 3 Valedictory Stakes at the Toronto oval, besting former stablemate and Attard trainee, the recently retired Melmich.
The Valedictory crown was a milestone victory for the Ulwellings.
“I’m very happy for the owners – first graded win – and they’ve put a lot of confidence in me to give me a lot of their horses to train and we appreciate that,” said Attard. “They’ve really supported Canadian racing. They’re breeding a lot of horses here in Canada now and in Ontario, and they’re great people to work for. It’s been a pleasure.”
Adding a Grade 1 title and surpassing the $1 million lifetime earnings mark with an International win would be the icing on the cake for Pumpkin Rumble’s connections.
The Smart Angle-bred star will have his biggest fan in attendance when the gates open on this year’s running of the International.
“Pumpkin Rumble is a cool horse in the barn, just chills out in his stall, and tries his best each time he runs, no matter the distance or surface,” said Attard’s son, Joshua.
PIVOINE LOOKS TO PLANT ONE ON HIS INTERNATIONAL RIVALS
Pivoine, a five-year-old son of Redoute’s Choice, could deliver trainer Andrew Balding his second Pattison Canadian International crown, this Saturday at Woodbine.
Owned by King Power Racing Co. Ltd., Pivoine (French for ‘peony’) is a six-time winner from 22 starts.
The bay gelding comes into the Grade 1 $800,000 turf feature off a strong second-place showing in the Group 3 Dubai Duty Free Legacy Cup on September 21 at Newbury, a race won by defending International champ Desert Encounter.
Pivoine will get a chance to turn the tables on his rival in Saturday’s 1 ½-mile event to be contested over the world-renowned E.P. Taylor Turf Course.
Should the Irish-bred be victorious, it would be the second International score for Balding, who won with Phoenix Reach in 2003.
Not surprisingly, the accomplished trainer has high praise for Canada’s Showplace of Racing.
“Obviously, it was a great thrill to win the race with Phoenix Reach in 2003,” said Balding, who has 120 wins on the year. “I have been lucky enough to win the E.P. Taylor, Wonder Where Stakes, and the Play The King Stakes, so Woodbine has been a happy hunting ground in the past.”
This time, he’ll look to spring the upset with a horse that has shown a penchant for rebounding nicely from an off-key performance.
After an 18th-place finish in the Duke of Edinburgh on June 21 at Ascot, Pivoine took the John Smith’s Diamond Jubilee Cup at York on July 13.
Balding was thoroughly pleased with the effort.
“Although it was only a handicap, the John Smith’s at York is a tremendously competitive race and he won it really impressively.”
Robert Hornby, aboard for the runner-up finish in the Legacy Cup and the Diamond Jubilee Cup victory, will get the call for the International.
The England-born jockey, who won a career-best 59 races in 2018, has 45 victories on the year. Last year, his big-race wins came aboard a trio of Balding trainees: Maid Up, Morando and Belle Meade.