The son of champion Montjeu won the 2010 edition by a head over Mores Wells, when trained by Aidan O’Brien. Last year, as an 11-1 shot, he finished second to an even bigger longshot, 22-1 runaway winner Sarah Lynx, while under Botti’s care.
Since 1958, when the Pattison Canadian International became a grass race, only two horses have won the classic turf contest twice: Canadian-bred George Royal, consecutively in 1965-66 and Majesty’s Prince in 1982 and 1984.
Joshua Tree arrives at Woodbine fresh from an excellent performance, a close third-place finish, just one and one-quarter lengths behind Orfevre, Japan’s Triple Crown champion and current co-favourite for Sunday’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, in the mile and one-half Prix Foy, September 16 at Longchamp. In his previous start, he won a Group 2 at Deauville.
“I thought he was in very good form,” said Botti, about the Prix Foy. “He seems to be coming into his best form recently and seems to enjoy racing. I haven’t trained many horses as tough as he is. Every time he comes back after a race, he’s full of life.”
It’s been a busy year for Joshua Tree, beginning in February in Dubai. He’ll be making his 10th appearance of 2012 Sunday at Woodbine. Botti also expects to confirm a rider for his Pattison hopeful on Monday. Frankie Dettori and Ryan Moore have been aboard the last two starts, while Adam Kirby rode him in last year’s International.