TRAINER Archie Watson has set out ambitious plans for Soldier’s Call after the two-year-old sprinter – owned by Yorkshire businessman Steve Parkin – won the Flying Childers Stakes on day three of the St Leger festival.
Ridden by Danny Tudhope, the colt proved that his Royal Ascot win in the Windsor Castle Stakes was no fluke by flying out of the stalls and galloping all the way to win the Group Two contest comfortably from Well Done Fox.
The win atoned for a disappointing run in Goodwood early last month.
“You’ve got to be delighted. He’s a very, very quick two-year-old. We’ve always held him in very high regard,” enthused Watson.
“Obviously Goodwood was a little bit disappointing – but he’s gone out and won a Group Three in a very quick time in France and backed up here within 13 days, and he’s absolutely blitzed them.
“He’s now a Group Three winner and a Group Two winner – so I think it’s got to be Group Ones.”
Assessing plans, Watson said: “His two options are one or both of the Abbaye, getting the two-year-old allowance at Longchamp on October 6, and the new race at the Breeders’ Cup, the Juvenile Turf Sprint, which is five-and-a-half (furlongs) at Churchill Downs.
“There are lots of good older five-furlong horses around, (but) you’d like to see him getting a shed-load of weight from them and seeing what he can do. He’s getting bigger and stronger.
“There’s no reason why he shouldn’t be a proper five-furlong sprinter next year.
“If you were to ask me now where we’d be headed next June, if we were lucky enough to get him to Ascot I’d say he’d be a King’s Stand horse rather than a Commonwealth Cup horse.”
There were echoes of the Cheltenham National Hunt Festival when Thomas Hobson beat stablemate Max Dynamite in a hard-fought finish to the Doncaster Cup for stayers.
Trained by multiple National Hunt champion Willie Mullins, both horses run in the colours of leading owner Rich Ricci and his wife Susannah.
The amount raised by the annual Leger Legends race has now topped the £1m milestone.
First staged in 2010, Wednesday’s renewal on the opening day of the St Leger festival raised at least £120,000.
The event – backed by Doncaster racecourse, Clipper Logistics and other supporters – sees retired riders take part in a race in aid of the Northern Racing College, and Jack Berry House, the Injured Jockeys Fund rehab centre in Malton.
This year’s race, organised by Dale Gibson and Tim Adams who are now stepping down, was won by former St Leger-winning jockey Ted Durcan on Central City.
Flat racing’s final Group One race of the year is to be sponsored by North East-based stockbrokers Vertem.
Headed by John Dance, who owns star filly Laurens, the firm takes over Doncaster’s one-mile race for two-year-olds from the Racing Post in a five-year deal.
The late October race has, over the years, been won by many subsequent Classic heroes.