Nobody worth his salt in the sport of racing needs an introduction to Pat Shaw – he’s as much a totem of the game in South Africa as Vincent O’ Brien was to Ireland and Bob Baffert to America. You don’t reach those heights as a racehorse trainer without a gifted eye, an abiding intuition and dare we say it, a smattering of courage and “chutzpah”. While some of those legends might’ve chosen to be excluded from the latter category, there’s no escaping it for Mr Shaw.
Indices measuring the business done at Keeneland over the past fortnight trail sparks and smoke. Pondering the state of the market before the September Sale, it had been clear that to maintain the arc set by Fasig-Tipton's summer yearling sales would require something fairly historic.
It seemed so typical of the strange fortunes governing our sport that we should have been made to wait so long for a Triple Crown winner, only for another one to turn up three years later in the very same barn. On the face of it, that coincidence will now be compounded as Justify (Scat Daddy) joins American Pharoah (Pioneer of the Nile) at Ashford for his own attempt to parlay historic capacities, on the track, into an equivalent impact on the breed.
Usurping the Ballydoyle battalion for favouritism in Sunday’s G1 Goffs Vincent O’Brien National Stakes at The Curragh, Quorto (IRE) showed his mettle to emulate his sire Dubawi's 2004 success and register a career high in battling fashion.