January 22 2019

2018 was a simply unforgettable year for Archie and his dedicated team at Saxon Gate. A first taste of Group success, Royal Ascot glory and a century of winners that pushed us through the £1 million prize money barrier were all landmark achievements.

It was the brilliance of two-year-old SOLDIER’S CALL that elevated Archie into training’s Premier League in June when he won the Listed Windsor Castle Stakes at Royal Ascot for owners Clipper Logistics.

But that was only the start for the lightning-quick son of Showcasing, who confirmed himself the fastest juvenile in training with further high profile successes in France and at Doncaster’s St Leger Festival in September.

Soldier’s Call became Archie’s first Pattern winner when landing the Group 3 Prix d’Arenberg at Chantilly at the beginning of September and turned out again less than two weeks later to dominate the Group 2 Wainwrights Flying Childers Stakes over five furlongs on Town Moor.

FIRST EVER CENTURY

By the end of November, Archie was celebrating another notable achievement when Times Past, ridden by Edward Greatrex in the familiar grey colours of Clipper Logistics, brought up his first century with a head victory in a seven-furlong nursery at Southwell.

That secured Archie’s place in a rather exclusive club, as he became only the fourth Lambourn-based trainer to reach the landmark in a calendar year alongside the great Peter Walwyn, Barry Hills and Nicky Henderson.

Just a few weeks earlier, Saxon Gate was in the headlines again for reaching the magnificent landmark of £1 million in domestic prize money for 2018 – remarkably a feat reached little more than two years after Archie first began training.

GOOD FRIDAY GLORY

Contributing to that milestone was the talented Corinthia Knight, who crowned a productive season on the All-Weather tracks by winning the £150,000 3YO Final at Lingfield Park on Good Friday under Oisin Murphy.

Archie also came close to winning the All-Weather Championships Trainers’ title, only just missing out in the final few days to Mick Appleby after saddling 37 winners at an impressive strike rate of 24 per cent throughout Season 5.

His title battle was punctuated by the string of successes notched by popular veteran sprinter Captain Lars, who was claimed for just £7,000 at Lingfield in February and became the joint winning-most horse on the All-Weather alongside the Phil McEntee-trained Spare Parts.

Captain Lars, a firm stable favourite, went on to supplement his seven wins in the blanket period by achieving his 11th success of the calendar year at Lingfield Park at the end of November.

The extraordinary exploits of the former South African performer were acknowledged in fitting style when he was revealed the All-Weather Horse of the Year at the annual ROA (Racehorse Owners’ Association) Awards in London.

BLACK TYPE FOR TALENTED FILLIES

Shumookhi, like Soldier’s Call another speedy two-year-old, was the run-away winner of the Listed St Hugh Stakes at Newbury in the summer and stepped up in trip to beat all but one in the Group 3 Firth Of Clyde Stakes at Ayr’s Western Meeting in September.

Meanwhile, bargain buy 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 in November, chasing home Luca Cumani’s Park Hill Stakes winner God Given in the ten-furlong feature.

Bought by Tom Biggs of Blandford Bloodstock for just 7,500 euros, she also won a Listed race at Gowran Park in Ireland during the late summer, adding to her five other victories en route to amassing £130,000 in prize money.

MORE SUCCESS OVERSEAS

Snowy Winter’s exploits in Ireland and Italy contributed to a profitable season overseas for Archie and the team, featuring a Listed win for juvenile Showout.

The grey son of Showcasing added the Prix Zeddaan at Deauville to his CV after Archie and jockey Hollie Doyle won an appeal in Paris into his controversial demotion. His owner-breeder Tim Rootes sold the multiple winner for 100,000 gns at the Horses in Training Sales at Tattersalls to continue his career in Hong Kong.

Rockin Roy, another tough and consistent two-year-old, was second in both the Listed Criterium de Vitesse and the Listed Prix Yacowlef at Chantilly under Hollie Doyle. A modest £36,000 buy at the breeze-ups in April, he will continue his career in Australia for his owner Mr Zhang Yuesheng.

IMPRESSIVE TWO-YEAR-OLD RECORD

Archie’s record with two-year-olds throughout 2018 brought another notable landmark to Saxon Gate. He saddled over 50 domestic juvenile winners at a remarkable strike rate of 24 per cent. Together they amassed over £500,000 in prize money. Only Mark Johnston and Richard Hannon trained more two-year-old winners than our 54 in 2018.

Promising performers alongside Soldier’s Call, Shumookhi, Showout and Rockin Roy included the Nathaniel colt Nate The Great, who finished second in the Listed Chesham Stakes at Royal Ascot before stepping up to a mile and a quarter to be third in the Listed Zetland Stakes at Newmarket in October.

Society Rock colt Quiet Endeavour proved most prolific, winning four consecutive races on sand and turf for his owners Ontoawinner, while Kyllachy filly Gallovie gave owners a big pay day when she was third in the £300,000 Goffs UK sales race at York’s Ebor Meeting.

JOCKEYS PLAY A KEY ROLE

Eddy Greatrex and Hollie Doyle played a vital role in the success of Saxon Gate. Eddy contributed 33 winners, including victories on yard favourites Corinthia Knight and Captain Lars.

Hollie’s link-up with Archie yielded 22 wins at a healthy strike rate of 23 per cent, while young Irishman Oisin Murphy’s memorable year included a further 19 wins for the stable at a strike rate of 24 per cent.

Soldier’s Call’s regular partner Danny Tudhope’s nine wins for Archie came from only 32 rides – an even more impressive return of 28 per cent – and promising apprentices Pierre-Louis Jamin and Tom Greatrex both weighed in with four winners each.

By Simon Mapletoft