Thursday, 13 December 2018

Kingsgate Native Wins Nunthorpe Stakes (Group 1)

Kingsgate Native Wins Nunthorpe Stakes
Foaled in Ireland on February 20, 2005, Kingsgate Native was sired by Mujadil, a prolific source of precocious, speedy types, out of Native Force, by high-class sprinter Indian Ridge. Owned by former bookmaker John Mayne and trained, initially, by John Best at Scragged Oak Farm in Hucking, near Maidstone, Kent, Kingsgate Native missed his intended racecourse debut twice, at Goodwood because of a passport irregularity and at York because of a waterlogged track, before connections decided to send him straight to the Windsor Castle Stakes, over 5 furlongs, at Royal Ascot. 

Ridden by George Baker, Kingsgate Native belied odds of 66/1 by finishing second of 20, beaten just a head, by Drawnfromthepast, trained by Jamie Osborne. Consequently, on his next start, in the Molecomb Stakes, also over 5 furlongs, at Goodwood the following month, he lined up as 4/1 second favourite behind 5/2 favourite, Starlit Sands, trained by Sir Mark Prescott, who’d been beaten just half a length in the Queen Mary Stakes at Royal Ascot on her previous start. 

The field split and jockey George Baker, having initially headed for the far side, realised his mistake and belatedly switched to the stands’ side at halfway. Kingsgate Native disputed the lead inside the final furlong but, despite running on well in the closing stages, was held in the last 50 yards or so and beaten a neck by subsequent Cheveley Park Stakes runner-up Fleeting Spirit, trained by Jeremy Noseda. 

Despite still officially being a maiden, in August, Kingsgate Native was stepped up to Group One level in the Nunthorpe Stakes, again over 5 furlongs, at York. He was described by Timeform as a ‘strong, lengthy’ colt and was clearly precocious, so lacked nothing in terms of the size or maturity required to take on older horses at the early stage of his career. His connections were also, no doubt, tempted by the generous 24lb weight allowance offered to two-year-olds in the Nunthorpe Stakes. 

Carrying just 8st 1lb, and ridden for the first time by lightweight jockey Jimmy Quinn, Kingsgate Native was sent off 12/1 seventh choice of the 16 runners in the Nunthorpe Stakes behind 9/4 favourite Dandy Man. He took a keen hold in the early stages but, having chased the leaders, led in the centre of the course approaching the final furlong and, despite edging left in the closing stages, kept on strongly to beat Desert Lord by 1¾ lengths. In so doing, Kingsgate Native caused a considerable upset and became the first two-year-old to win the Nunthorpe Stakes since Lyric Fantasy in 1992. 


Having beaten the older sprinters, at the highest level, on just his third start, Kingsgate Native proved his Nunthorpe Stakes win was no fluke by finishing second, after missing the break, to Benbaun in the Prix de l’Abbaye de Longchamp on the final start of his two-year-old season in October and by winning the Golden Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot the following June. He subsequently ran in the Nunthorpe Stakes another five times, in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2013, but never won the race again. 

His best subsequent finish came in 2008, when he finished third, beaten 1½ lengths, behind Borderlescott in a rescheduled race run on the July Course at Newmarket. Indeed, in 2009, Kingsgate Native was bought by Cheveley Park Stud and retired from racing, but returned to training with Sir Michael Stoute after proving infertile. That year, he finished sixth, when favourite, behind Borderslescott again, in 2010 he finished sixth behind shock 100/1 winner Sole Power, in 2011 he finished fourth behind Margot Did and, in 2013, on his final attempt, when trained by Robert Cowell, he finished fifth behind lesser-fancied stable companion Jwala.

Related stories: Man Vs Horse (No contest) 

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