‘Cheapest horse’ is Peter’s big hope at Newbury
It is only four years since Peter Chapple-Hyam brought a young colt by Montjeu to Newbury for the most historically resonant race of its type in the calendar.
Authorized made a promising debut, in third, without suggesting himself an especially obvious heir to such distinguished graduates of the Haynes, Hanson & Clark Stakes as Nayef, Shahrastani, Rainbow Quest, Henbit and Shergar.
But Authorized then won the Racing Post Trophy at 25-1, and the following year the Derby.
To the exasperation of his many admirers, Chapple-Hyam has since lost some of his best patrons and is now down to 40 horses. After a career of giddy ups and downs, it is surely asking too much for him to return to Newbury today and revive the memory of Authorized with a colt who cost just 3,000 guineas last October.
With another round of yearling sales under way, however, perhaps Cloud Rock can restore Chapple-Hyam in the regard of investors prepared to compromise on some of the fawning attention they might get elsewhere.
A son of Tiger Hill, Cloud Rock was sent off odds-on for a maiden at Folkestone last month and duly outclassed his rivals.
“He's got to be the cheapest horse in England,” Chapple-Hyam enthused yesterday. “I promise you he's decent. We found him at Tattersalls, (bloodstock agent) Tom Goff and myself, and he's always gone like a nice horse.
“Even last Christmas the lads were already telling me he was a racehorse, but I assumed that they had been drinking.
“A few mates are in the horse — they're the Coalition Partnership — and I must say I was quite keen to run him at Sandown on Wednesday, because it would have been the million-dollar horse (Treasury Devil) against the three-grand horse. But he would probably have been beaten.”
An excellent afternoon's sport extends to eight juvenile races at Newmarket, and the second day of the Western Meeting at Ayr. The Listowel Festival, meanwhile, continues its marathon challenge to the livers of Co Kerry, though yesterday it briefly tarred one of the most blameless men in Ireland with the brush of excess.
Davy Russell, a teetotaller, managed to fail a breath test after using a mouthwash — giving a reading twice the limit. Luckily he had time for a second test, which proved negative, and was permitted to take his mounts after all.
“The last time I had a drink was 15 years ago,” Russell said. “Fortunately, because I'd arrived early, they allowed me a second test. It has to bring into question the whole system. If I'd been a bit later to the track, I wouldn't have been allowed to ride.”