Who rode Harbinger in the King George?

According to Timeform, Harbinger remains the co-eighth highest rated Flat horse since ratings were first published in 1948. Indeed, his Timeform Annual Rating of 140 – albeit adjudged, effectively, on just race – was the equivalent of that achieved by Shergar, Dancing Brave and Shergar.

A son of Dansili, whose progeny typically progess extremely well, Harbinger won two of his five starts as a 3-year-old, including the Gordon Stakes at Goodwood, but did not reach the peak of his powers until his 4-year-old campaign, in 2010. That season, he reappeared with an impressive, 3-length win in the John Porter Stakes at Newbury, followed up in the Ormonde Stakes at Chester and completed a hat-trick in the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Having been ridden, exclusively, by Ryan Moore on his first eight starts, Harbinger was passed over by his regular jockey on his first attempt at Group 1 level, in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot. Perhaps understandably, Moore, who chose to ride his Derby-winning stable companion, Workforce, instead, with French jockey Olivier Peslier picking up the spare ride on Harbinger.

Some ‘spare’ it proved, too. Sent off at 4/1 second favourite behind Workforce, Harbinger was held up fourth of the six runners in the early stages, but was travelling best of all turning for home and when he ranged alongside his toiling rivals at the two-furlong marker the race was all but over. In the closing stages, he cruised clear to beat the Irish Derby winner, Cape Blanco by a record 11 lengths.

 

Has the Lockinge Stakes always been a Group One race?

Nowadays, the Lockinge Stakes, run over a mile at Newbury in May, is a Group One race open to four-year-olds and older horses. However, that has not always been the case. The Lockinge Stakes was established in 1958 and for much of its existence was open to three-year-olds. Indeed, the inaugural winner, Pall Mall, was a three-year-old owned by Queen Elizabeth II and trained by Cecil Boyd-Rochfort

Following the introduction of the European Pattern in 1971, the Lockinge Stakes was assigned Group Two status but, based on a rolling three-year average of the ratings of the first four finishers, was downgraded to Group Three status in 1983, before being upgraded again in 1985. In 1995, the race was upgraded again, to Group One status, and closed to three-year-olds.

Since the inauguration of the British Champion Series, in 2011, the Lockinge Stakes has been the second race of the season in the Mile category, which starts with the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket and ends with the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot. The most notable recent winner was undoubtedly Frankel, who cruised to a 5-length victory, at odds of 2/7, in 2012.

Did Steve Cauthen ever win the 2,000 Guineas?

Did Steve Cauthen ever win the 2,000 Guineas?  The simple answer is yes, he did, at the first time of asking. Fresh from becoming the youngest jockey in history to win the US Triple Crown, on Affirmed, in 1978, Cauthen made his eagerly-awaited British debut at Salisbury on April 7, 1979. His first ride on British soil, Marquee Universal, trained by Barry Hills, was a winning one and, less than a month later, he had partnered Tap On Wood, again for Hills, to a half-length victory over hot favourite Kris in the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket.

It would be a few years until ‘The Kid’, as Cauthen was affectionately known, won another British Classic, but when he did, like London buses, four came along together. In 1985, by which time he was stable jockey to the late Sir Henry Cecil, Cauthen famously completed the ‘Fillies’ Triple Crown’ – that is, the 1,000 Guineas, Oaks and St. Leger – on Oh So Sharp and won the Derby on Slip Anchor, for the same trainer. He would also win the Derby and the St. Leger again in 1987 on Reference Point, also trained by Cecil, and finished his career with a total of ten British Classic winners.

What is the largest prize fund offered for a single race?

Until fairly recently, the Dubai World Cup, a Group One race run over 2,000 metres, or approximately a mile and a quarter, on dirt at Meydan Racecourse in Dubai, United Arab Emirates in late March each year, was the most valuable horse race in the world. Establised in 1996, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai, the Dubai World Cup still offers a total prize fund of £9.25 million, of which £5.69 million goes to the winner.

However, since 2020, the most valuable horse race in the world has been the Saudi Cup, a conditions race run over 1,800 netres, or approximately nine furlongs, again on dirt, at King Abdulaziz Racetrack in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia in late February. The total prize fund for the Saudi Cup is £15.4 million, with £7.5 million, or just under half, reserved for the winner. The positioning of the Saudi Cup on the calendar is deliberate, insofar as it allows participants to contest the Dubai World Cup, four weeks later. The most recent winner, Mishriff, trained by John Gosden, ran at the Dubai World Cup Meeting, but opted for, and won, the Dubai Sheema Classic. run over a mile and a half and worth a mere £2.2 million to the winner, rather than the Dubai world Cup itself.

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