December 10 2018

Just a few weeks after reaching the magnificent landmark of £1 million in domestic prize money for 2018, Archie and the team at Saxon Gate achieved the 100th winner of a memorable year at the end of November.

Times Past, ridden by Edward Greatrex in the familiar grey colours of valued supporters Clipper Logistics, brought up Archie’s first century with a head victory in a seven-furlong nursery at Southwell on the final Monday of the month.

Archie now joins an exclusive club, becoming only the fourth Lambourn-based trainer to reach the landmark in a calendar year alongside the great Peter Walwyn, Barry Hills and Nicky Henderson in the record books.

It’s a century full of highlights, including a first Royal Ascot win and a first ever Group win – both with Soldier’s Call – as well as an All-Weather Championships Finals Day success with 3YO sprint king Corinthia Knight.

Eddy Greatrex, who brought up the latest landmark on the Fibresand – almost a year after Isstoora secured the yard’s 50th success of 2017 there – has been a mainstay this year, riding 29 of those winners. Hollie Doyle contributed a further 22 with Oisin Murphy adding 19 and Soldier’s Call’s regular partner Danny Tudhope clinching the Windsor Castle Stakes, the Group 3 Prix d’Arenberg and the Group 2 Flying Childers among his nine.

“It’s a fantastic achievement for everyone involved with my team at Saxon Gate,” says Archie. “I only began training just over two years ago so to reach the £1 million prize money mark and achieve 100 winners for the year is testament to everyone’s hard work and dedication.

“Now we are working hard to build on that success,” he adds. “We already have around 25 lovely yearlings in the yard and I expect to have around 50 two-year-olds for the 2019 Flat Season. Hopefully there’ll be a few more good ones among them.

“Over the winter we will be busy with a nice All-Weather team. Whether we can get enough winners on the board to have crack at the trainers’ championship again after going so close last season remains to be seen, but I’m hopeful of getting some nice horses to Finals Day on Good Friday.”

Remarkably, 10 of those 100 wins were contributed by just one horse, the irrepressible Captain Lars, who reached double figures with a dominant victory in a hot five-furlong handicap at Lingfield Park on Saturday, 24th November.

Indeed, Archie is incredibly proud that he was nominated for (and subsequently won) the All-Weather Horse of the Year accolade at the Racehorse Owners’ Association (ROA) annual awards ceremony in early December. In the meantime, the stable’s golden boy will continue to run on the sand tracks through the winter in pursuit of his 24th career success.

Snowy Winter brought the curtain down on her career with a hard-fought third in the Group 1 Premio Lydia Tesio at the Capannelle in Italy on 4th November, only giving best to Luca Cumani’s Park Hill Stakes winner God Given and Group 2 scorer Nyaleti in the closing stages of the ten-furlong feature.

It was a truly admirable way for her to end a career that yielded a Listed win in Ireland this year as well as five other victories, amassing over £130,000 in prize money. The daughter of Elusive Quality, who was bought as an un-raced three-year-old from Godolphin by Blandford Bloodstock in February 2017 for just 7,500 euros, will be a prize asset for her owners Boadicea Bloodstock in her new career in the paddocks.

Meanwhile, the lightly raced Barys produced a striking display to win a mile novice stakes at Lingfield Park on Churchill Stakes day. This scopey son of Kodiac responded well to first time blinkers under top jockey James Doyle but will almost certainly be put away for the winter now, with the Listed Spring Cup at Lingfield his initial target. He may also go for for the Listed Burradon Stakes at Newcastle or the valuable Royal Mile Handicap at Musselburgh over Easter.

Another winning performer on the All-Weather was Felix The Poet (pictured above with winning connections), who supplemented his win over the extended mile at Wolverhampton in September by dead-heating over the same course and distance on 16th November. Ridden by Hollie Doyle, this nice middle distance prospect will be put away for the year and hopefully have an exciting 2019 in store.

Also in the winner’s enclosure last month was the Clipper Logistics-owned filly It’s Not Unusual, who quickly followed up her breakthrough Chelmsford City victory with another over the extended mile at Wolverhampton in the hands of stable apprentice Tom Greatrex.

And Rockin Roy, a two-year-old who won four of his 11 races, ended his year with Archie in fine style when he finished second to fellow British raider Barbill in a Listed sprint at Chantilly on 13th November. He will now resume his racing career in Australia.

As the century neared, Archie was busy recruiting some potentially smart older horses at the sales, including Sheberghan who was bought at Goffs for 45,000 euros from the Aga Khan’s consignment. The three-year-old Sea The Stars colt, who won his maiden at Sligo for Dermot Weld, will gain further experience on the All-Weather before a turf campaign in 2019.

By Simon Mapletoft