Andrew Balding: Champions Sprint win will live long in memory
The Betway ambassador looks back on a successful weekend at Ascot including an emotional win for Donjuan Triumphant in the Champions Sprint.
It’s hard to put into words the emotions I felt on Saturday at Ascot. It was a day that will live long in the memory.
One of the most well-loved horses that has ever made home at Park House Stables, Donjuan Triumphant, won the Champions Sprint on his final start as a racehorse before setting off for France on stallion duties.
Success on the biggest stage was the reason that The Chairman [Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha] got involved in the sport and it’s still saddening that he is no longer with us to witness Donjuan winning at Ascot – a racecourse where he dreamed of owning top-class winners.
His success was a testament to the whole team here. Group 1 successes really boost the morale around the yard – you can see the spring in everyone’s step this morning!
It was a fantastic ride by Silvestre [De Sousa], who hasn’t had the easiest of seasons with injury costing him a shot at retaining his Champion Jockey title.
However, all congratulations go to Oisin Murphy, who has been relentless in his quest to win his first Jockey's Championship.
We made the decision to supplement Fox Tal for the Champion Stakes and he didn’t let us down by finishing a very gallant fourth on what was just his second start of the season.
He was only narrowly run out of finishing third very late on and I’m sure we’ll have some fun with him next year. He’ll be campaigned at the better middle-distance races.
Happy Power also ran with superb credit in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes and certainly outran his odds by finishing a good sixth, with plenty of very good horses in behind him.
There will be plenty of good mile races for us to target with him, but it’s imperative to have juice in the ground for him to be seen at his best.
With Stradivarius beaten in the Long Distance Cup, we may have a new staying champion in Kew Gardens, who was good enough to win the St Leger at three.
The staying division looks exciting for next year and I’d to think our Cleonte would be campaigned at the better staying races and handicaps. He ran OK on Saturday but the long season had taken its toll.
Looking ahead to this week, it looks like we’ll be outnumbered in the Vertem Futurity Stakes at Doncaster on Saturday as our Kameko is the only one of 12 entries to not hail from Aidan O’Brien’s yard.
He has been working very well and we really do expect him to go close.
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