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November 6, 2009

Henry Cecil

Teddy Grimthorpe

Thomas Queally


ERIC WING: We're live with the winning connections of Midday, winner in the Breeders' Cup Filly and Mare Turf. From left to right, Henry Cecil, in the middle is Teddy Grimthorpe, the racing manager for Juddmonte Farms, and on the right, of course, Tom Queally, and a victory in his debut of Breeders' Cup racing.
Congratulations to all three of you gentlemen. And our first question is a question from the press box for Mr. Cecil. You had commented after the Prix de L'Opera, that perhaps Midday had been left a little bit too much to do. Was that a conscious part of the strategy today to have her within range before she turned for home?
HENRY CECIL: Well, the Breeders' Cup was always her sort of main target. But I thought I'd hoped I got her right for the Prix de L'Opera, because it is a breed Group 1 race at the Arc de Triomphe day, when you give them a rest, sometimes they don't come back quite as quick as you would expect, and she just needed that race.
ERIC WING: Tom, from all appearances down the backstretch, you were asking Midday a little bit to pick it up and get there. Once you did that, were you at all concerned that maybe her stretch kick might be diluted a little bit?
THOMAS QUEALLY: No, she's a peculiar filly in that she's got loads of class. A great turn of foot, but she tends to hits a flat spot. Of course it's a worry when the horse comes off the bridle a little bit. But I knew when she hit top gear she'd respond and find plenty for me. And thankfully she had plenty in reserve when it mattered.
ERIC WING: Teddy Grimthorpe, congratulations to Juddmonte Farms, your fourth Breeders' Cup victory. And you've got a particularly strong record in the Filly and Mare Turf. This is your third win in that race with Banks Hill and Intercontinental coming up previously.
Henry alluded to the fact that this race was the target. How far back in the year was it a target for Midday? Or is that a silly question? Is it a target for your top Filly and Mare grass runners all the time?
TEDDY GRIMTHORPE: I think Prince Khalid always likes us to bear in mind the Breeders' Cup when we're planning strategies. And obviously, he's a big part of that planning. But after the Irish Oaks when I talked to Henry about it, that looked to be -- it looked to be the most sensible objective and most worthwhile, obviously, now. But that was certainly the plan back in really end of June, July.

Q. You got beat badly in the Irish Oaks very heavy ground. And you managed to win at Goodwood, and you did make a statement about a soft Curragh being different from a soft Goodwood. What did you mean?
THOMAS QUEALLY: I mean, in Ireland, the weather is obviously much worse than it is in England. Therefore, the ground just tends to get a bit softer. Though they may describe it soft in the Curragh for England, they would probably say soft to heavy.

Q. Did the race today live up to your expectations regarding the manner in which Midday finished?
HENRY CECIL: Yes, I think the Breeders' Cup, I always sort of dreaded it, because I happened to be a great success at it over the years. To win it, certainly lived up to my expectations, the excitement and thrill. Once you've won a race here you feel you can probably do it again. We have one more to come.
ERIC WING: That being twice over tomorrow in the Breeders' Cup Classic.

Q. How long have you and rider Tom Queally been combining your talents?
HENRY CECIL: Well, Tom came out for me last year, and had some rides for me. And, yeah, I was very sort of happy with him. I got on well with him. And I thought he's a young person with the horses to ride and more experience. So he could be what I wanted.

Q. But usually he was saying British trainers in the barn area, you weren't sure if this was your best group of European horses because you didn't know if the other horses were better.
HENRY CECIL: Sorry, I couldn't quite --

Q. Yesterday you didn't know for sure if the European horses here this year were better than last year. Are you prepared to say anything about that now?
HENRY CECIL: No, I thought that the contingent this year was strong. I thought probably the English fillies were probably stronger from the American.
Now I think I was misquoted or misunderstood. I talk rather quickly, and probably people don't listen to me anyway.

Q. Do you think she liked the firm turf moreover here at Santa Anita today as compared to previous starts?
HENRY CECIL: She likes fast ground. She doesn't like it very soft. We took a chance at Goodwood. The ground was getting soft. In Ireland it got very, very heavy between the first and the third race. And that was her undoing. Although Sariska is a very good filly, and loved the ground.

Q. Can you talk about the future is for this filly now?
TEDDY GRIMTHORPE: I've got to sit down and talk to Henry and Prince Khalid. But the plan would be to take her back to Europe and campaign her next year in Europe. And possibly come defend her, hopefully at Churchill next year.

Q. How about winning your first Breeders' Cup race for Juddmonte?
HENRY CECIL: I think it's a lovely feeling, I tell you. The Prince has always been a great sort of friend and supporter for me and very loyal through my bad times. It's lovely to be able to repay him with a win here, because he loves the Breeders' Cup. He adores it, and he deserves winners.

Q. Obviously Juddmonte has won every big race in the world pretty much. But where does this rank just the way that Juddmonte has dominated this race specifically?
TEDDY GRIMTHORPE: Well, when Banks Hill started off the roll for us in Belmont, the Breeders' Cup is very important because Prince Khalid, obviously, is a an owner/breeder, and he's been a big supporter both as an owner and as a breeder both through his nominations of his foals and, of course, the stallions he stands both here in Kentucky and in Europe.

Q. Let me address you properly, Sir Cecil. Since you won the Oaks two years ago at Epsom, your career and a lot of the British press said they had sort of written you off. But do you now believe you are reliving the glory days?
HENRY CECIL: Well, I don't -- I mean, we went through a bad path for four or five years when things were going wrong in every way. I didn't have the horses, and probably my health hasn't been terribly good.
But I was determined to get back. Probably I'll never get back to what I was, because I don't want to train more than 100 to 120 horses now, where I used to train 200. When I'm competing against armies and a battalion, it's not easy. I love to be able to compete in some good races.
I feel everything is on the up, it has been for the last two years. And long may it continue.

Q. Were there any things that you had in the back of your mind riding on this course with this filly? What were some of the things that you brought into this race approach-wise?
THOMAS QUEALLY: I dissected it to begin with, and found there wasn't a whole lot of pace, and I didn't want to give the leaders too much of a lead. I always had it in the back of my mind that she might hit a flat spot, which she did.
But as the boss likes me to ride the horses, keep it simple, get a nice position, and get her on the stretch. Keep her balanced. And I knew she had the heart and the attitude, plus the ability to dig deep when it mattered.
ERIC WING: Henry Cecil and Tom Queally, congratulations on your first Breeders' Cup victory. And Teddy Grimthorpe, congratulations on Juddmonte's fourth. Well done.

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