THE Breeders’ Cup in America is the long-term target for North Yorkshire jockey Danny Tudhope’s Royal Ascot winner Soldier’s Call.
Running in the colours of Leeds businessman Steve Parkin, who owns Clipper Logistics, the two-year-old’s triumph in the Windsor Castle Stakes was a first success in racing’s showcase meeting for ambitious second-season trainer Archie Watson – one of the sport’s rising stars.
The Showcasing colt showed dazzling speed to head up the group of horses racing closest to the stands’ side rail in this 28-runner cavalry charge on the concluding day of Royal Ascot.
He also demonstrated great resolve in the closing stages of the five-furlong contest as Sabre, trained by Malton’s Richard Fahey and the mount of Paul Hanagan, burst from the pack to throw down a serious bid for glory.
But Soldier’s Call dug deep to win by a half-a-length to give Watson recompense for finishing second with Nate The Great an hour earlier in the Chesham Stakes.
Lambourn-based Watson, who served his apprenticeship with Skipton-born trainer William Haggas, said: “I’m very blessed. It means the world to me and the whole team at home.
“We are a very young team and I’m sure there will be some partying. This horse has got so much natural speed. We were umming and ahhing about whether to run in the Norfolk Stakes or the Windsor Castle. So I’m glad our decision to run here has been vindicated.
“We are just grateful to Steve Parkin and his team for sending us this calibre of horse.
“I would imagine the Molcomb (at Glorious Goodwood) would be his aim. We would love to go to Churchill Downs for the new Breeders’ Cup race over five-and-a-half furlongs for two-year-olds in November if that’s the way the season progresses.
“He and Nate The Great are two very natural horses and there is nice strength in depth to our two-year-olds.”
The win was potentially a season-defining success for Danny Tudhope, The Yorkshire Post’s Saturday racing columnist.
A year after he won the Wokingham Handicap on Out Do to record his breakthrough Royal Ascot win, he reflected: “It’s been a long week, it is very hard to get winners here, but I am delighted for Archie to get his first Royal Ascot winner.
“It was a great performance from this horse. He’s got so much speed, he was a bit behind the rest of them on the far side but I was able to do my own thing – nothing hassled me. I just wanted to keep it simple and stay straight. He won nicely in the end.”
However, Fahey was slightly frustrated by the running of Sabre.
“Sabre has run a blinder. He flew home and we do like the horse. He has seconditis a bit,” said the trainer, whose Sands Of Mali was a fast-finishing second in Friday’s Group One Commonwealth Cup.
“He probably didn’t handle coming down the hill that well and got himself out of position and into one where he probably shouldn’t have been, but that is not his fault – that’s racing.
“Once he hit the rising ground, he took off. He could go up to six furlongs or we could stay at five furlongs – he is a nice horse. I like him and I thought he would win so I’m disappointed. I’ll get him home and see how he is before making any further plans as every horse who runs at Royal Ascot has a tough race.”