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Wednesday 14 February 2018

Horse and Jockey Profile

Sadler’s Wells: His Legacy Lives On

Sadler’s Wells, who retired from breeding in 2008 and died at home at Coolmore Stud, County Tipperary in 2011, is now best known for his prolific stud career. He was champion sire in Britain and Ireland 14 times, in France three times and North America once and his progeny won all the British Classics.

However, it’s worth remembering that, prior to taking up stallion duties in 1984, Sadler’s Wells was a top-class racehorse. By Northern Dancer, the most influential sire of the 20th century, out of Fairy Bridge, a half-sister to Nureyev, Sadler’s Wells was bred by the late Robert Sangster in America and trained by the late Vincent O’Brien at Ballydoyle, County Tipperary. Having won the Beresford Stakes at the Curragh in the September of his two-year-old campaign, he went on to win the Irish 2,000 Guineas, the Eclipse Stakes, by a neck from Time Charter, and the Phoenix Champion Stakes. He also ran creditably in defeat, finishing second to Darshaan in the Prix du Jockey Club and Teenoso in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes.

A small, sturdy, dark bay colt, not unlike his sire, he demonstrated courage and durability on the racecourse, characteristics he passed on to his notable progeny, which included Montjeu, Galileo, High Chaparral and, of course, Frankel who remained unbeaten in a fourteen-race career . Following his death, Ben Sangster, son of the late Robert, said, “His legacy will live on through his sons and daughters and their sons and daughters.”

The Rise and Rise of James Bowen

Welsh jockey James Bowen has had a remarkable twelve months. Fresh from setting a record total of 30 winners in his debut point-to-point season – all the more noteworthy for the fact that he had his first ride on his 16th birthday, March 12, several months into the season – Bowen turned professional in May.

He rode his first winner as a professional, Curious Carlos, for his father, Pembrokeshire trainer Peter, at Cartmel on May 27 and joined Nicky Henderson as conditional jockey on October 1. He rode out his seven-pound allowance aboard Thomas Campbell, trained by Henderson, at the Cheltenham November meeting and has since become the youngest jockey to win the Welsh Grand National, steering the veteran Raz De Maree to victory at Chepstow in January.

At the time of writing, according to Bowen Jnr. has ridden 39 winners, 13 more than any other conditional jockey in the country and just one short of riding out his five-pound allowance. He has already been touted as a future champion jockey and, if fate decrees, that should be just a matter of time.

For a lad of 16 he has a wise approach to the sport looking to the long term. Asked about what winning the likes of the Grand National would mean to him compared to winning the jockey's title he said “Being champion would mean more. I’d love to do that. Obviously the big days are special but for me the aim is to ride winners every day and try to be champion jockey.” I have a feeling he might not have to decide between the two.


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