Monday, 27 May 2019

Dayjur: The Horse Who Jumped Shadows

The Mighty Dayjur
Think of a sprinter...

 A horse so fast it captured the attention of fans across the globe. A class act crowned a champion but still, to this day, assessed with a measure of hard luck for an act that saw him lose a race he should have won.

For those who love their sprinters, there is only one horse who comes to mind. 

Dayjur.

He was born on the 6th February 1987. This American-bred son of Danzig out of a dam called Gold Beauty. Bred in Kentucky. Dayjur raced under the ownership of Sheikh Hamdan Al-Maktoum. An expensive yearling purchase for that decade costing $1.65M. Considering such an outstanding horse had total earnings of £327,280 it details his incredible price tag. 

The association of Dayjur went hand-in-hand with his trainer Major Dick Hern, who had been seriously injured in a hunting accident in 1984 which left him wheelchair bound. Both man and horse had a will of steel. 

This brown horse made his two-year-old debut at Newbury on the 15th June 1989. His reputation was tall - he started 8/15f. He won ''easily'' by a length. However, his second race at Listed class didn't go to plan when he was beaten by half a length at odds of 8/13f by Rushmoore, trained by Clive Brittain. 

At the end of the two-year-old season, he had a wind operation (to improve his breathing).

In a relatively short career of eleven races, his three-year-old season would be his last. 

However, this season would give him credit as one of the greatest sprinters of all time but, in the process, break the heart of his trainer and race fans around the world. 

Once again, Dayjur suffered disappointment on his return to racing in 1990. Major Dick Hern had him earmarked for 2000 Guineas (which proved to be a mistake). Racing over 7f in the European Free Handicap saw him disappointing to finish seventh of ten runners. 

Plans were quickly changing. 

Dayjur was dropped back to 6f and given a confidence-boosting run at Nottingham. However, he was beaten a head by Tod, at Newbury. 

At this stage, he looked far from a supreme talent. 

The Major hadn't lost faith. In fact, he entered Dayjur for the Temple Stakes at Sandown over the minimum trip of 5f. 

His jockey, Willie Carson, led from start to finish - winning by two lengths in good style. 

Now connections knew they had a serious horse on their hands and all illusions of him racing beyond sprint distances were forgotten.

In June, he won the King's Stand at Royal Ascot by two-and-a-half lengths although Major Hern was concerned about soft ground. The runner-up, Ron's Victory, was many lengths clear of the third and then went on to frank the form by winning the Diadem Stakes by ten lengths. 

Dayjur was made 8/11f to win the Nunthorpe Stakes (Group 1) racing over 5f at York. He won by an easy four lengths and achieved a course record of 56:16. The Racing Post comment stated: ''very impressive''. (The only horse to beat his time is Borderleescott  (56:09) in 2008.) 

The latter part of Dayjur's career was coming to a conclusion. A few races to add to his credentials as being a true sprinting legend. 

In September, connections decided to attempt six furlongs in the Ladbroke Sprint Cup at Haydock. It was a stiff race with highly-rated Dead Certain a major opponent. Could Dayjur last the extra furlong? 

He led from start to finish. Going clear at the two-furlong pole, he held the late challenge of Royal Academy to win by one and a half lengths. 

To boost the form, Royal Academy went on to win the Breeders' Cup Mile in the United States. 

Dayjur won his final race in Europe when beating four rivals in the Prix de l'abbaye at Longchamp, France. 

Winning, and being eased at the line, Dayjur appeared to jump a shadow cast across the course!

By this time Dayjur had been heralded a sprinting sensation. He would represent Europe by travelling to the United States of America to contest the 1990 Breeders' Cup Sprint, at Belmont Park. A wide draw made life difficult. However, a gutsy Dayjur contested the lead and then headed Safely Kept and looked to have the race sealed. In the closing strides of the race (heartbreaking) Dayjur saw a shadow cast across the track and jumped losing momentum. Then, unbelievably, jumped another shadow at the finishing line. He lost by a neck as the filly took advantage of his ill fate. 

Dayjur Bio: (6th February 1987 - 25 September 2013)

Race record: 

11 runs, 7 wins, 3 seconds and unplaced on one occasion

Awards: 

British Horse of the Year 1990
European Champion Sprinter 1990 





What are your memories of this great sprinter? 




Monday, 20 May 2019

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) 

Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Sheikh Albadou Wins Nunthorpe Stakes

Sheikh Albadou Wins Breeders' Cup
Foaled on April 15, 1988, Sheikh Albadou was a son of Green Desert, who was a good miler, but a better sprinter, as he demonstrated when winning the July Cup at Newmarket in 1986. Bred by Highclere Stud, owned by Hilal Salem and trained by the late Alex Scott at Oak Farm Stables in Newmarket, Sheik Albadou was given a low-key introduction to racing in a maiden stakes race, over 6 furlongs, on the Rowley Mile Course at Newmarket in October 1990. Ridden by Pat Eddery, he was sent off 11/2 co-second favourite but, after a slow start, weakened in the closing stages to finish eighth of 11, beaten 7 lengths. However, after a 192-day break, he made his three-year-old debut in a similar race at Pontefract where ridden by Bruce Raymond, he started favourite, at 13/8, and won very easily, by 7 lengths. 

Sheikh Albadou was stepped up to 7 furlongs for his handicap debut at York, in May, but failed by a short head to concede 14lb to the more experienced Rocton North. Nevertheless, back over 6 furlongs on the Knavesmire the following month, off a 3lb higher mark, he easily won a similar race by 4 lengths. 

Thereafter, Sheikh Albadou was campaigned, exclusively in Pattern company and, although he was beaten favourite on his first attempt in that sphere, in the Criterion Stakes, over 7 furlongs, on the July Course at Newmarket in late June, he soon established himself as the leading European sprinter of his generation. 

After a 54-day break, he was stepped up to Group One company for the first time, in the Nunthorpe Stakes, over 5 furlongs, at York. Despite tackling the minimum trip for the first time in his career, Sheikh Albadou was sent off 6/1 third favourite, behind French raider Divine Danse – who was chasing a hat-trick after two impressive wins at Group Three and Group Two level in his native country – at 2/1, and King’s Stand Stakes winner Elbio, at 11/4. 

In any event, it was the fast, precocious juvenile, Paris House, trained by Jack Berry, who gave Sheikh Albadou. In receipt of a colossal 21lb weight-for-age allowance, Paris House took the lead after a furlong-and-a-half and soon had most of her rivals at full stretch. However, Pat Eddery was always close up on Sheikh Albadou and produced him, under a determined drive, to tackle the long-time leader close home and win by 1½ lengths. Outsider Blyton Lad, at 40/1, finished third, a further neck away, with a long-looking 2 lengths back to the remainder, headed by Divine Danse. 


Sheikh Albadou subsequently finished second, under Bruce Raymond, in the Ladbroke Sprint Cup at Haydock and the Prix de l’Abbaye de Longchamp, before heading across the Atlantic for the final start of his three-year-old campaign, the Breeders’ Cup Sprint at Churchill Downs in Louisville, Kentucky. Reunited with Pat Eddery, but racing for the first time on a dirt surface, Sheikh Albadou was sent off a relatively unconsidered 26/1 outsider in the 11-strong field, behind red-hot favourite Housebuster, at 2/5. However, he took to dirt like an old hand, clearing away from the best sprinters in North America in the closing stages to win easily by 3 lengths. Sheikh Albadou was, unsurprisingly, named Champion Sprinter at the Cartier Awards in 1991.