Trainer Andrew Balding spoke with evident emotion as he reflected on Donjuan Triumphant’s poignant success in the Listed Wentworth Stakes as Leicester City mourned the loss of its inspirational figurehead and benefactor..
The hugely consistent five-year-old, without a previous win this season, saved the best until last on this final day of the Flat turf calendar as he stayed on best under James Doyle.
“It puts horse racing and the triviality of other things in life into perspective,” said Balding.
“It was a huge loss not just to his family and families of other people involved in the crash, but to the whole King Power family.
“He was a tremendous guy, as has been well-recorded and reported, and will be sadly missed.”
Balding was full of praise for Donjuan Triumphant too.
“He really loves this (soft) ground and he’s just so tough,” said the trainer.
Meanwhile Royal Line capped John Gosden’s remarkable season with a record sixth victory for the trainer in the November Handicap.
Gosden’s Group One exploits home and abroad with superstars such as Enable and Cracksman have been a high-profile theme throughout the summer.
Gosden, who had failed to add to his record-equalling fifth November Handicap success for the past six years, took the family tally to nine – adding to his father Towser’s three winners.
He has also put himself one ahead of Sam Hall, whose five wins came in the days when the race was known as the Manchester November Handicap and run on the other side of the Pennines.
From the moment Havlin and Royal Line headed Birds Of Prey two furlongs out, it was clear the four-year-old was a class apart in this traditionally ultra-competitive mile-and-a-half event.
Meanwhile Company Asset had made it a homecoming to remember for Kevin Ryan’s stable with her emphatic victory in the Listed Fillies’ Stakes.
The five-year-old was well on top at the finish, scoring by two and a quarter lengths under Kevin Stott, with Shenanigans back in second.
Adam Ryan, son of and assistant to the trainer, was all smiles as he reflected on the good life back in Yorkshire after travelling to the Breeders’ Cup last weekend to watch the stable star East finish runner-up to the brilliant Newspaperofrecord in the Juvenile Fillies Turf.
“When I landed back here, it was absolutely pouring down –there’s not much difference really, is there?” said Ryan, recalling last week’s storms in Kentucky.
“It was a good experience there, and the filly ran great. What more can you ask for?”
Apprentice rider Clifford Lee showed his prowess when winning on Lord Oberon for Leyburn trainer Karl Burke who has also enjoyed big-race success at home and abroad this year.
There was a notable success in the opening Apprentice Handicap when 19-year-old Cieren Fallon, son of six-time champion Kieren, struck on board Lady Freyja.
It was a fourth win from just 27 rides for the 19-year-old, who said: “It’s a great way to finish the season.
“The back-end of the year, I got my licence, and it was just a bit of practice, but I didn’t expect anything like this anyway.”
Saint Calvados will head to Sandown’s Grade One Tingle Creek Chase next month after making all to win the Poplar Square Chase at Navan.
The British challenger, trained by Harry Whittington and confidently ridden by Gavin Sheehan, appeared to have the two mile race won when Ruby Walsh’s mount Footpad – winner of last season’s Arkle Trophy at Cheltenham – crashed out at the fianl fence.
“He’s a proper two-miler, and Gavin felt he was just hacking round. He’s only going to get better with age, as he’s still a big, raw horse and only five. It’s very exciting,” said Whittington.
North Yorkshire jump jockey James Reveley recorded a Grade One success when hurdler Master Dino won the Prix Renaud du Vivier at Auteuil, Paris, yesterday for top trainer Guillaume Macaire.