British breeders enjoyed a glittering Dubai World Cup night with two Group 1 winners on the valuable card at Meydan.
The winning spree was kicked off by the French-trained The Right Man, who stuck his nose past Long On Value in the Al Quoz Sprint.
Ridden by Francois-Xavier Bertras in the colours of Pegase Bloodstock, the son of Lope de Vega won for the ninth time in 17 starts, and at the top level for the first time. Previously he was a Group 3 victor in France last November.
“I was always confident,” Bertras said. “I knew in the prep race that the horse was not 100 per cent fit and would come on from that. I got a good position (behind Ertijaal) and my horse was very brave right to the end. You live your life for moments like this.”
The Right Man hails from the stock of renowned owner-breeder Anita Wigan, who for many years ran Rushbrooke Stud near Bury St Edmunds in Suffolk.
The five-year-old was the 10th foal of Three Owls. Another notable performer from his immediate family has been Steve Rogers, a prolific performer in middle distance and staying events in Britain.
The Right Man is now likely to be aimed at the major sprints around the world by trainer Didier Guillemin. Guillemin said: “This is an amazing achievement in my career. The horse is going to Hong Kong next if he’s well and then maybe Royal Ascot.”
The star of the show was still to come in the Dubai Sheema Classic as the John Gosden-trained Jack Hobbs powered two and a quarter lengths clear of a high-class field.
Jack Hobbs was bred by Minster Stud in Barnsley, near Cirencester in Gloucestershire, which belongs to five-time champion and multiple Classic-winning jockey Willie Carson. Sired by the late Halling, he is out of Swain’s Gold, and a half-brother to multiple winner Niceofyoutotellme. His half-sister Mrs Greeley also had a successful track career.
Jack Hobbs was sold at Book 2 of the Tattersalls October Sale in 2013 for 60,000 guineas, bought by Blandford Bloodstock and originally owned by a group which included Gosden’s wife Rachel Hood.
Godolphin bought into the colt after his second to Golden Horn in the 2015 Dante Stakes and he went on to finish in the same position behind his stablemate in the Derby, before winning the Irish version. He was restricted to only a couple of starts last season but was third behind Almanzor in the QIPCO British Champion Stakes.
Godolphin chief executive, John Ferguson, said: “All credit goes to John Gosden for this, he brought him back from injury and it was two years ago that he said to us that the horse could come here for this race as a five-year-old. We’ll talk about plans later, we’ll just enjoy the moment.”
Bryan Mayoh has spoken of his delight at providing the British-bred winner of Friday’s Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup, Sizing John.
Jessica Harrington’s seven-year-old was completing a fabulous Cheltenham Festival for Britain’s breeding industry as one of four Grade 1 winners at the meeting.
Nichols Canyon had already won Thursday’s Sun Bets Stayers’ Hurdle, Special Tiara Wednesday’s Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase and Penhill the Albert Bartlett Novices’ Hurdle before the showpiece success.
Shropshire-based Mayoh, a Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association Elected Board Member, and his former wife Sandra produced homebred Sizing John from La Perrotine, who was bought privately from trainer Howard Johnson at the Doncaster November Sales in 2006. He keeps some of his mares at the nearby Shade Oak Stud.
The Gold Cup hero was sired by Midnight Legend, who was based at Pitchall Farm Stud near Stratford-upon-Avon but died last year from a bout of colic. Sizing John’s half-sister Scholastica won four times in hurdles and bumpers and La Perrotine is still a broodmare at the age of 17.
Bryan Mayoh said:
“It was a great day, as to breed a Gold Cup winner is what every National Hunt breeder is in it for – it requires that combination of speed and stamina.
“I saw Sizing John as soon as he was born and he was a lovely foal. I look at stallion statistics a lot, and I chose Midnight Legend because he had a great record despite having very poor opportunities and he looked a good match for La Perrotine.
“There is a four-year-old half-brother by Schiaparelli called French Steps, who was bought by Stephen Kemble and is in pre-training with Jack Barber.
“La Perrotine is due to visit Telescope shortly and I have two half-sisters that are also going to Telescope. I have also kept two other half-sisters to Sizing John that I am going to put into training.”
Sizing John completed an extraordinary sequence of results for the British breeding industry by winning the Timico Cheltenham Gold Cup.
The seven-year-old is the third British-bred horse to have landed one of the Cheltenham Festival’s showpiece events this week, following the heroics of Nichols Canyon in Thursday’s Sun Bets Stayers’ Hurdle and Special Tiara in Wednesday’s Betway Queen Mother Champion Chase.
Sizing John was bred by Bryan Mayoh, a Thoroughbred Breeders’ Association Elected Board Member. He bought his dam, useful novice hurdler La Perrotine, privately from trainer Howard Johnson at the Doncaster November Sales in 2006.
He was sired by Midnight Legend, who died last year at the age of 25 following a bout of colic, having had a varied and successful career both as a racehorse and a stallion.
Midnight Legend started off on the Flat with Luca Cumani and became a rare entire to run over hurdles with David Nicholson and claimed Grade 2 novice events at both Aintree at Punchestown.
He began stallion duties quietly at Conkwell Grange Stud in Bath but it was his transfer to Pitchall Farm Stud near Stratford-upon-Avon that he began to thrive as a National Hunt stallion, producing useful performers such as Midnight Chase, Seeyouatmidnight and Sparky May. Sizing John, though, has topped them all.
Kathleen Holmes, who runs Pitchall Farm, said:
“We were very pleased for the horse, especially as he was bred by a friend of ours. I suppose the only shame is that it couldn’t have happened when Midnight was younger, then he might have had a chance of covering a lot of better mares.
“However, there will hopefully be Midnight Legends around for the next decade and we think he will be a successful broodmare sire.”
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