Sapa Inca lands Listed success at Bath

By John Scanlon 

The progressive three-year-old filly Sapa Inca scored a first Listed win at Bath on October 16, when she came from last to first in the Beckford Stakes to score comfortably.
The Galileo filly, owned by China Horse Club International Limited, has improved steadily across this year. She gave notice of that improvement when landing the Shergar Cup Classic, over a mile and a half, under Hayley Turner at Ascot in August, held up off the pace and produced with a winning run in the closing stages.
Since then, Sapa Inca has run with great credit. She perhaps found conditions a little too testing when finishing fourth in the Lanark Silver Bell at Hamilton Park, but stepped up both in distance and class when chasing Hereby home in the Listed Noel Murless Stakes at Ascot over a mile and three-quarters.
Created as a new Listed race in 2016, the Beckford Stakes at Bath is open to fillies and mares of three-years-old and upwards and is run over a mile and six furlongs. This year’s renewal attracted a field of ten runners, including the Irish-trained pair Diamond Hill and Bongiorno. Hayley Turner, who has struck up a good understanding with Sapa Inca, took the ride on the Kingsley Park filly.
While Loralina and Vindolanda contested the early lead, Hayley Turner was content to settle Sapa Inca towards the rear of the field, with only Diamond Hill behind her. Relegated to last with just over a mile to run, Sapa Inca was travelling strongly, but, even so, she remained in last place as she passed the three furlong pole.
Responding well to Hayley’s urgings, Sapa Inca made relentless progress to take the lead with just over a furlong to race. Thereafter she always had the race in control, and at the post the margin of success over the second horse, Hulcote, was a length and three-quarters, with Dance Legend a head away in third.
This was a first black-type success for the Galileo filly, which was obviously of great importance to her owners. “A great performance,” commented Mark Johnston, “and obviously a very important win for a filly like her. She’s clearly very progressive at the moment and is going the right way.”
Sapa Inca is out of the Holy Roman Emperor mare, Inca Princess. She won a Fairyhouse maiden over six furlongs for Coolmore, but has excelled in the paddocks. Her 2013 foal was Johannes Vermeer, winner of the Group 1 Criterium International at Saint-Cloud, and second in the 2017 Melbourne Cup, whilst her 2014 foal was Elizabeth Browning, winner of the Group 2 Kilboy Estates Stakes at the Curragh. Both are full siblings to Sapa Inca.
The filly has now won three races this year, and has progressed from an opening official handicap rating of 74 to her current mark of 97. It should also be acknowledged that Hayley Turner’s ride on the filly at Bath produced much favourable comment on social media. It was, in truth, a good day at the office for all concerned.