Now the dust has settled on a fabulous week at Royal Ascot, we are able to reflect on two Group 1 victories for British-bred horses.
The first of these came on Thursday when Big Orange landed the Gold Cup, a race that will be remembered for a truly thrilling climax as well as the horse’s guts and sheer will to win.
The Michael Bell-trained six-year-old is well-known for his front-running style, and he made virtually every inch of the two and half mile trip under James Doyle. He bravely fought off the final furlong challenge of reigning champion Order Of St George to land his first Group 1 by a short-head.
“He’s just an absolute superstar,” said Bell. “I can’t praise his attitude enough; he wants to race and he’s a colossal racehorse. On fast ground in the middle of the summer, he’s a monster.”
Big Orange, who was bred at owner-breeders Bill and Tim Gredley’s Stetchworth & Middle Park Studs in Newmarket, has become a firm people’s favourite in recent years due to his big-hearted, warrior-like approach to his racing, as well as his globe-trotting. His victory in the Gold Cup delighted the Ascot crowds and his career earnings now stand at over £1m.
Big Orange has proved over and over again that he has a big heart to go with his big frame, but this time it was something special.
The second British-bred Group 1 victory of the week came on the final day when The Tin Man landed the spoils in the Diamond Jubilee.
Gaining his second success at the highest level, the the five-year-old son of Equiano showed an impressive turn of foot around two furlongs from the finish in order thread a passage and take the lead before prevailing from the fast-finishing Tasleet (also British-bred and hailing from Whitsbury Manor Stud) at the winning line.
Jockey Tom Queally was very complimentary of the horse: “He’s a pretty great horse and exceptional in this division. He stamped his authority on them there.
Bred by Elizabeth Grundy, The Tin Man was sold for 80,000gns at Book 1 of the Tattersalls October Yearling Sale in 2013. He was sold by Newsells Park Stud, who stand sire Equiano, to Anthony Stroud Bloodstock.
Next on the horse’s agenda appears to be the July Cup at Newmarket where the prospect of a first clash with the three-year-old division could set up an exciting race.
Jack Hobbs is one of 17 horses confirmed at the five day stage to run in the Group 1 Prince of Wales’s Stakes on the Wednesday of Royal Ascot, June 21st.
The Godolphin-owned five-year-old was most recently seen when winning the Group 1 Dubai Sheema Classic at Meydan in March. He put up a visually impressive performance that day, travelling powerfully throughout and ultimately finishing two-and-a-half lengths ahead of Group 1 winners Seventh Heaven and Postponed in second and third respectively.
Godolphin bought into the colt after his second to Golden Horn in the 2015 Dante Stakes, a trial for the Epsom Derby, and he went on to finish in the same position behind his stablemate at Epsom, 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.
Jack Hobbs was bred by Minster Stud in Gloucestershire, England 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 Yearling Sale in 2013 for 60,000 guineas, bought by Blandford Bloodstock and originally owned by a group which included trainer John Gosden’s wife Rachel Hood.
He looks set to put up a big performance on Wednesday.
British-bred Enable provided her stallion Nathaniel with a stunning Classic winner from his first crop when landing the Investec Oaks at Epsom.
Thunder and lightning closed in before the race, so in the torrential rain the two market leaders, Rhododendron and Enable, moved to the front just over two furlongs out after a solid gallop had been set throughout the race by Pocketfullofdreams.
Ryan Moore appeared to be travelling the better of the two on 1,000 Guineas runner-up Rhododendron but when she drew alongside Enable resisted and stayed on strongly to draw clear under Frankie Dettori. Rhododendron was five lengths adrift at the winning post, with Alluringly, the runner-up behind Enable in last month’s Cheshire Oaks, back in third.
“As we passed the two-pole I got him [Ryan Moore] off the bridle,” Dettori said. “I thought, ‘I’m definitely going to get to the line and he’s not going to’ and she pulled away in the last furlong. I daren’t take my hands off the reins to celebrate until after the line. I just had to get the job done and celebrate after.
“She has put up a very good performance and I think she will get better and better.”Nathaniel, who won the 2011 King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes and the following year’s Eclipse for Enable’s trainer John Gosden, is standing at the Jacobs family’s Newsells Park Stud near Royston in Hertfordshire and is making a fine start to his new career. His fee in 2017 was set at £17,500.
His daughter was bred by owner Prince Khalid Abdullah out of his British-bred dam Concentric, who ran in France for Andre Fabre. Enable’s siblings Contribution and Tournament both won races.
Ridden by Frankie Dettori, the Cheshire Oaks scorer pulled five lengths clear of hot favourite Rhododendron in a thrilling battle down the home straight.
Lord Grimthorpe, the owner’s racing manager, said: “I’m so thrilled for Prince Khalid. His breeding operation and having another homebred Classic winner is so vital for everything. We’ve got to enjoy this and think about the future.”
Trainer John Gosden added: “It’s great for Nathaniel to get a Classic winner in his first crop. He was a proper Galileo winning a King George and an Eclipse.”