WILLIAM Buick has paid an emotional tribute to York heroine The Fugue after an injury prompted connections to retire the horse to stud.
The five-year-old, a winner of a world-class Prince of Wales’ Stakes at Royal Ascot, injured her near-fore when unplaced in the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown seven days ago.
Owned and bred by composer Andrew Lloyd-Webber and his wife Madeleine, the John Gosden-trained filly has been emblematic of Buick’s career and came to prominence when winning York’s Musidora Stakes in 2012.
Her liking for Knavesmire’s long straight was self-evident at last summer’s Ebor festival when she won the Yorkshire Oaks, one of four Group One triumphs for The Fugue, after Buick extricated himself from a traffic jam on the A1 near Doncaster and commandeered a helicopter to get to York in time for the race.
Her low action meant The Fugue, arguably the best filly of her generation, needed fast ground and an uninterrupted run to be seen at her very best.
She was denied the latter in the 2012 Epsom Oaks and successive cracks at the Breeders Cup in America, but Buick prefers to concentrate on the highs.
“When things fell right for her and she was on her A-game, she was very good,” said the Northern Racing College graduate.
“She should be remembered for those good wins she had, especially in the Prince of Wales’ this year. She broke the track record and beat world champion horses.
“I know things didn’t go right for her in the Eclipse and obviously the ground wasn’t right. She did something to herself in the race and it explains why she was so under par.
“She lost nothing in defeat and she’s a filly that will always be close to my heart.
“She was all about pace – turn of foot, travel and pace. She always needed an uninterrupted run and sometimes things didn’t go her way.
“It was always a fine line between getting it very right and getting it wrong with her.
“On her day, she was awesome.”