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Monday 26 August 2019

Lochsong Wins Nunthorpe Stakes (Group 1) In 1993

Bred and owned by Jeffrey C. Smith, in whose familiar purple and light blue colours she raced, Lochsong was one of the top sprinters in Europe in the early Nineties. Foaled on 26 April 1988, Lochsong was a daughter of Song, a noted sire of sprinters, and between August 1991, and November 1994, won 15 of her 27 races, including the Nunthorpe Stakes and two consecutive renewals of the Prix de l’Abbaye de Longchamp. Her trademark fast-starting, front-running style earned her the nickname of ‘Queen of Speed’ and huge public acclaim. 

Lochsong arrived at Park House Stables in Kingsclere, near Newbury, Berkshire as a big, backward youngster, but was sent home by trainer Ian Balding, as a three-year-old, before she had even set foot on a racecourse. Thankfully, she thrived sufficiently to return to training and made her racecourse debut in a maiden stakes race, over 7 furlongs, at Salisbury, in August 1991. She finished second on that occasion, but she won her maiden, over 6 furlongs, at Redcar in October and followed up in an apprentices’ handicap, over 7 furlongs, at Newbury.

In April 1992, on her four-year-old debut, Lochsong was beaten 1¼ lengths in a lowly 0-80 handicap, over 6 furlongs, at Pontefract, off a handicap mark of 72. However, as she reached physical and mental maturity, later that year she won the Stewards’ Cup at Goodwood, the Portland Handicap at Doncaster and the Ayr Gold Cup – the first time all three had been won by the same horse in the same season – before earning her first ‘black type’ by finishing second in the Diamed Stakes at Ascot on her final start of the season. 

On her five-year-old debut, in May 1993, she was beaten half a length by Paris House, trained by Jack Berry, in the Palace House Stakes, over 5 furlongs, at Newmarket and finished 3 lengths behind the same horse, when the favourite, in the Temple Stakes at Sandown two starts later. However, on 4lb better terms, Lochsong reversed the earlier form when the pair met again in the King George Stakes at Goodwood in July, beating Paris House by a head. 

Lochsong subsequently stepped up to Group One level for the first time in the Nunthorpe Stakes at York, a race in which she met Paris House for the fourth time that year, but on 8lb worse terms compared with Goodwood. Favourite for the Nunthorpe Stakes, despite never having run, never mind won, over 5 furlongs, was College Chapel, trained by Vincent O’Brien and Lester Piggott, at 9/4, with Paris House sent off at 4/1 second favourite and Lochsong 10/1 sixth choice of the 11 runners. 

Ridden for the fourth time in her career by Lanfranco ‘Frankie’ Dettori, who’d won on her on her two previous starts, Lochsong made all the running, was always going well and quickened away in the closing stages to readily beat Paris House by 1½ lengths, with College Chapel a never-nearer third, a further three-quarters of a length away. On her final start of the season, in the Prix de l’Abbaye de Longchamp, Lochsong confirmed her status as virtually unbeatable over 5 furlongs, when on song, by again making all to win unchallenged by 6 lengths. In fact, that year she was named Cartier Horse of the Year, making her the only sprinter of the Nineties to receive that accolade.