QIPCO IRISH CHAMPION STAKES
Leopardstown, Turf, 2012m
13 September 2014
The Grey Gatsby caused a major upset when beating hot favourite Australia in the Gr.1 Irish Champion Stakes, the feature race on the opening day of Irish Champions Weekend.
The three-year-old son of Mastercraftsman, who completed a big race double, following the earlier victory of his paternal half-brother Kingston Hill in the Gr.1 St Leger, served notice that he was a possible danger to the dual Derby winner when chasing him home in the Gr.1 Juddmonte International last month.
The surprise winner of the Gr.2 Dante Stakes in May - he has made a habit of causing shocks, he subsequently travelled to France where he ran out the comfortably winner of the Gr.1 Prix du Jockey Club, before disappointing on another trip to France in the Gr.1 Grand Prix de Paris in July. He could run next in the Gr.1 Champion Stakes at Ascot next month and is reportedly to be kept in training next year.
The delighted trainer Kevin Ryan said: “Ryan (Moore) went out with a plan. He thought they would go very hard, so he was going to hang on to him. I said to him that was Plan A, but if he had to revert to Plan B or C, so be it. You don’t tell Ryan Moore how to ride.”
“He’s a great racehorse and I’m very proud of him. I’ve felt all along that he’s never had the credit he deserves and if he doesn’t now it will be unbelievable. The horse has done his own talking.”
“In fairness, Hughesie [Richard Hughes) said at York that Australia just got first run on him. On the day I don’t think he would have beaten him, but Richard thought he would have been a lot closer and given him a harder race.”
“Today we probably had him in a little bit better shape, as we were always conscious of this race. Turning in I was thinking ‘Oh God, he’s got a lot of ground to make up’, but in fairness to Ryan he was saving ground while Australia had to go wide. He made up the ground well and when he passed one and picked up, I thought he would go very close.”
“He’s a horse that has taken us on a great journey, both me and the owner. He’ll stay in training next year and will get stronger and better. We’ll hopefully have another great year. He won’t go to the Arc. There’s a chance he could go to Ascot on Champions Day (for the Champion Stake) and if he did that would be his last run.”
“We’ll start off next year in the (Gr.1) Dubai Duty Free. He’s still young, he’s still improving and we want him for next year.”
Bred by Malcolm Parrish and a dual graduate of the Arqana sales ring, he is out of the Listed-placed Marie Vison (Entrepreneur). His third dam Maximova (Green Dancer) was a Gr.1 winner at two and twice Classic- placed at three, and went on to become the dam of Gr.1 winners Septieme Ciel and Macoumba.
The Irish Champion Stakes has not been kind to Australia and his family. His sire Galileo lost by a head to Fantastic Light (Rahy) in the 2001 renewal, while his dam Ouija Board (Cape Cross) was beaten a quarter of a length by Dylan Thomas (Danehill) in the 2006 edition.
Extract from European Bloodstock News