Ascot Gold Cup 2006 - 2009
(Photo : Horsephoto/Press Association/Sporting Life)
“YEATS THE IMMORTAL”
That was Friday’s headline in the American Thoroughbred Daily News (TDN), following YEATS’ historic fourth victory in the world’s greatest staying race. We suspect the authors have been reading our “propaganda” on his slightly older brother, resident Summerhill stallion SOLSKJAER, who was named for immortality in honour of the world’s best footballer of his time.
The publishers of both the TDN and the Thoroughbred Times obviously know where SOLSKJAER resides, as they were very quick to send their congratulations, as though we might have been an active party in this remarkable dream.
Amazingly, we have discovered in the course of the weekend that YEATS’ fourth consecutive victory was the first in the 202 year history of the Gold Cup (Gr 1), and that he was the first horse in more than a hundred years to win the race as an eight-year-old. The question now is, do the Coolmore team have a crack at a fifth consecutive victory? No doubt knowing the principals, they’ll be dying to have a go, but already jockey Johnny Murtagh is hedging his bets: “He can’t go on for ever, and I don’t want to be the one on top when he loses; he’s the ultimate heavyweight champ and it’s the greatest day in my riding career”.
A final word from trainer Aidan O’Brien:
“Horses like Yeats don’t come along more than once in a lifetime and I’ve never seen scenes like it before – all the cheering and those posters and flags for him – that’s what it’s all about. It’s more than money and value with him, it’s something really special. We knew we had a wonderful horse, but usually fairy tales don’t come true, even though you dream and dream”.