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Monday 12 August 2019

Sir Mark Prescott Elated As Pivotal Wins Nunthorpe Stakes For Cheveley Park Stud

Foaled on January 19, 1993, Pivotal was a lightly-raced, but nonetheless high-class, sprinter, sired by Polar Falcon, a top-level colt over distances between 6 furlongs and a mile and winner of the Ladbroke Sprint Cup in 1991. Bred and owned by Cheveley Park Stud and trained by Sir Mark Prescott at Heath House Stables in Newmarket, Suffolk, unusually for such an early colt, Pivotal did not make his racecourse debut until October, 1995, late in his second year. 

On that occasion, ridden by Colin Nutter, second jockey to Prescott, he was sent off at 16/1 for a maiden stakes races, over 6 furlongs at Newbury; he missed the break and was never really involved, eventually finishing ninth of 20, beaten 6 lengths, behind Fly Tip, trained by Barry Hills. Eleven days later, when ridden by stable jockey George Duffield, he won a similar race at Newcastle and, six days after that, won a minor conditions stakes race, over 5 furlongs, at Folkestone in taking fashion. 

After a 228-day break, he reappeared in the King’s Stand Stakes, over 5 furlongs, at Royal Ascot – at the time, demoted to a Group Two contest – for his first attempt at earning some ‘black type’. He was successful, catching Temple Stakes winner Mind Games, who had attempted to make all, in the shadow of the post to win by a half a length, with the two of them separated by the width of the course. 

On the strength of his first Group win at the first attempt, Pivotal was sent off 9/4 favourite for the July Cup, over 6 furlongs, despite tackling Group One company for the first time. Ridden with more restraint over the extra furlong, he made headway at halfway and held every chance with two furlongs to run, but could only keep on at one pace to finish sixth of ten, beaten 5¼ lengths, behind French raider Anabaa. 

The following month, Pivotal met his old rival Mind Games over 5 furlongs again, but this time on 4lb worse terms compared with Royal Ascot and in the Group One Nunthorpe Stakes at York, worth over £72,000 to the winner. Mind Games was sent off favourite at 7/4, with Prix de l’Abbaye de Longchamp winner Hever Golf Rose second favourite at 11/4 and Pivotal marginally third favourite at 100/30. Despite being pushed along in the early stages, Pivotal once again made headway at halfway and, under maximum pressure, led in the last stride to beat Eveningperformance, trained by Henry Candy, by a head.

All told, between October, 1995, and August, 1996, Pivotal ran in just half a dozen races, but won four of them, including two which were, and still are, prime targets for specialist 5-furlong sprinters. In his brief racing career, he may have been awarded a Timeform Annual Rating of ‘just’ 124, more than 10lb behind the best winners of the Nunthorpe Stakes, but could only beat what was out in front of him and, in so doing, established himself as one of the leading sprinters in Europe. Interestingly, from a Nunthorpe Stakes perspective, Pivotal was the sire of Kyllachy, who won the race, ironically, for Henry Candy in 2002 and the grandsire of Sole Power, who won the race twice for Edward Lynam, in 2010 and 2014.