Declan Rix

Part two of Declan Rix's future stallion profiles sees names like Highland Reel, Ribchester, Time Test and Ulysses assessed.

  • Thursday 23 April
  • Blog
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In part one, we looked at the likes of Caravaggio, Churchill and Decorated Knight, as first-season stallions whose progeny will hit the track in 2021. Below, we have covered another eight, starting with 2000 Guineas winner, Galileo Gold.

GALILEO GOLD

Age: 7

Pedigree: Paco Boy (IRE) x Galicuix (GB) (Galileo) (IRE)

Classic season: 2016

Highest official rating: 123

Group 1s won: 2

Times ran: 12 (May ‘15 – May ’17)

Distance: 8f

2020 fee: €7,500 (Tally Ho Stud)

Don’t let the name fool you! Although Galileo Gold might suggest he is a son of Galileo, the former Hugo Palmer inmate is indeed by Paco Boy, another top-class miler in his time on the track. For the legion of Galileo fans out there however, there is top-class blood coursing through his veins, thanks to his dam Galicuix, herself a daughter of the great sire.

Galicuix would make the race-track twice in her career, finishing last on both occasions. Galileo himself would run eight times. Together, their sum could not match Galileo Gold’s 12 starts across three seasons, and it was his high-class and mainly consistent Classic campaign that saw him earn a place at stud.

A horse blessed with strong-travelling abilities, Galileo Gold was both precocious enough and quick enough to make his juvenile debut at the end of May over 6f. He would run second before breaking his maiden over said trip, and then, the Al Shaqab Racing-owned colt just got better and better with each run and each furlong he tackled. Over 7f at Glorious Goodwood, the January foal would win the Group 2 Vintage Stakes before finishing a close-up third in the Group 1 Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere (8f) at the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe meeting at Longchamp.

His trainer was convinced he wasn’t working with just a juvenile horse throughout his 2yo season. Words and phrases like “immature”, “size and scope” were constantly reeled off to the press, and how right the Newmarket handler was. On his first start of 2016, just like Frankel did, Galileo Gold would win the 2000 Guineas in the month of April.

On this day at Newmarket, Galileo Gold’s high-cruising speed and ability to maintain a gallop, saw him get home a good length-and-a-half ahead of Massaat and Ribchester. On much slower ground in a more tactical and slightly messy Irish 2000 Guineas, Galileo Gold would only finish second to Awtaad, but would reverse the form emphatically at Royal Ascot in the St James’s Palace Stakes under a beautiful Frankie Dettori ride.

More aggressive tactics, just like we saw in the 2000 Guineas, suited Galileo Gold’s high-cruising characteristics, in what was for me, what was his career best effort. Unfortunately, it would go gradually downhill from here, starting at Goodwood.

A length-and-a-quarter defeat of The Gurkha at Royal Ascot would be turned on its head six weeks later, Galileo Gold going down a neck to the Aidan O’Brien-trained runner, and although it couldn’t come close to what you would call a disappointing effort, the best of Galileo Gold had now been seen, with hindsight as a guide.

A disappointing eighth (beaten just under four lengths) followed in the Prix Jacques Le Marois. Galileo Gold’s finishing position sounds worse than the actual run, but while a straight-track like Deauville wouldn’t really suit his front-running style, there were signs his tough 3yo campaign were now starting to show, both physically, and mentally.

Freshened up for a crack at the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes 62 days later, while Galileo Gold again looked physically and mentally fatigued, he was drawn on the wrong side of the track to have any winning chance, and finished a well-held fifth behind the brilliant filly Minding. The wheels had now come off, but the chestnut colt started his season with a bang in the Guineas and showed a fair amount of soundness and durability to run consistently well, performing once a month from April until August.

Connections were bold enough to keep Galileo Gold in training at four, but he picked up a soft tissue injury in his first start of the campaign at Newbury in the 2017 Lockinge Stakes and was subsequently retired. It was a disappointing end to what had been a highly successful career.

A new career in trying to influence the breed is next and on what we saw on the track, there are plenty of qualities Galileo Gold possessed that may give him a chance. As his rating suggests, he was a top-class colt, but it’s his precociousness, consistency, durability and attitude to work was what made him standout for me. There is quality on the dam’s side of his pedigree, too; names like Again, Goldream and Montjeu standing out.

Despite all the above, Galileo Gold’s 2020 fee, since 2018, has already halved from a starting price of €15,000. With a 106 live foals on the ground, he was given a chance by breeders, but the early signs could’ve been kinder, seemingly.

At €7,500, is he now offering lower-end breeders some value, considering you may get an early horse who continues to improve?

HIGHLAND REEL

Age: 8

Pedigree: Galileo (IRE) x Hveger (AUS) (Danehill) (USA)

Classic season: 2015

Highest official rating: 123

Group 1s won: 7

Times ran: 27 (June ’14 – December ’17)

Distance: 10f-12f

2020 fee: €12,500 (Coolmore Stud)

Twenty-seven career runs, 15 race-tracks, 10 wins, seven Group 1s, seven countries, four continents, but only one Highland Reel (IRE). Not quite The Twelve Days of Christmas, but “Reeler” was a present himself for race fans.

Aidan O’Brien’s globetrotting superstar won’t go down as one of the greats on sheer ability, but many variables are considered in the “great debate”, and for mine, Highland Reel was a great of his era for different reasons.

When you talk about consistency, durability and soundness, Highland Reel was everything and more in these regards; all important characteristics in a future stallion. While longevity played a significant role in increasing Highland Reel’s fan base, it shouldn’t be forgotten that the free-sweating son of Galileo made his juvenile debut in June and was a commanding Group 2 2yo winner in the Vintage Stakes (7f) at Goodwood.

This performance was enough to send the February foal off as short as 11/8 in the 2015 Poule d'Essai des Poulains (French 2000 Guineas) the following season, but he could only manage sixth behind Make Believe. Three weeks later in the Prix du Jockey Club, over 2½ furlongs further, we saw a much better version of Highland Reel, the colt running second to New Bay. Next time, in the Irish Derby, would come what I’d consider the only poor run – where he had no excuses pre-event - of his 27-race career. From here, Highland Reel would start collecting those air miles, shortly after a confidence-boosting Group 3 success back at Goodwood in the Gordon Stakes.

In Reelers next four starts – all Group 1s - he would run in Arlington (America), Leopardstown, Moonee Valley (Australia) and Sha Tin (Hong Kong), producing form figures of 1531, respectively – taking on true greats like Golden Horn and Winx in the run. He would be defeated by the aforementioned pair, but ran superbly well considering he competed over 10f when 12f – on fast ground - was now looking his most effective trip and conditions. More importantly however, two top-class races were bagged in this sequence, and given his top-class pedigree, some form of stud career would beckon.

With the dam’s side of Highland Reel’s pedigree dripping in top-class Australian blood, I did wonder was his Cox Plate excursion a potential plan to make an Aussie-based Coolmore stallion. His dam, Hveger, was a quality racing filly Down Under, but her half-brother Haradasun, of whom many European race fans will know, was a multiple top-level winner in his homeland as was Hveger’s full-brother Elvstroem. Their dam, Circles Of Gold, helping produce three quality performers.

Over the following two seasons, his last two, Highland Reel would run 16 times. A King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes, a memorable Breeders’ Cup Turf, a Coronation Cup, a Prince Of Wales’s Stakes (10f) and a second Hong Kong Vase would all be won, this on top of finishing runner-up in a Juddmonte International Stakes (10.5f), an Arc and another Hong Kong Vase. A truly incredible career!

Highland Reel was a horse that did all his talking on the track. If his stock are in anyway as consistent, durable, versatile and as game, he will give many breeders and owners a much cheaper (son of) Galileo option at €12,500. With a 130 live foals on the ground, for a horse who excelled over 12f, it’s great to see breeders have given the fluent-mover every chance to be a success, judged on the early skirmishes.

But again, we must not forgot, Highland Reel was a Group 2-winning juvenile and a top-class 3yo, as well as being a 460,000 Guineas yearling purchase. He also manged to win a pair of Group 1s over 10f in his career so, breeders and owners may not have to wait long in potentially recouping an outlay.

I really enjoyed looking back at Reelers career and I look forward to following his new one closely. What a fantastic horse he was, with all the makings of being a successful stallion.

MONDIALISTE

Age: 10

Pedigree: Galileo (IRE) x Occupandiste (IRE) (Kaldoun) (FR)

Classic season: 2013

Highest official rating: 118

Group 1s won: 2

Times ran: 31 (April '13 - October '17)

Distance: 8f-10f

2020 fee: €6,000 (Elwick Stud)

Another globe-trotting son of Galileo to cover in Mondialiste, who was placed brilliantly by his trainer David O’Meara to secure a stallion career. In Europe, for me, he was a Group 3/Group 2 performer, but the Geoff & Sandra Turnbull-owned horse would bag a pair of top-level races in North America, seeing him get a slot at Elwick Stud in County Durham.

In September 2015 as a 6yo, Mondialiste won the Woodbine Mile Stakes at Woodbine, Canada. The following season, his second and final Group 1 would be earned over 10f, in the Arlington Million. In his 31-race career, four of his five victories came in Stakes races, two of those at the pinnacle of the sport.

Despite both his sire and dam making it to the racetrack at two, Mondialiste would not debut until his Classic season. Maybe all was not quite right, but to be fair to the horse, when trained in France by Freddie Head, before being sold and moved to O’Meara’s, he quickly made up into a high-level Stakes runner at three, finishing third in the Group 1 Prix Jean Prat on just his fourth run despite still being a maiden.

On his first start in Britain, Mondialiste nearly won the Lincoln, a heritage handicap, and would just continue to get better. Six starts later a Group 1 was secured before a gallant second to the brilliant American mare Tepin in the 2015 Breeders’ Cup Mile.

While mostly consistent – and clearly sound given the amount of times he ran – a run or two each season after would see him badly underperform. He just couldn’t cut it with the top Euro horses, but seemed to grow a leg when sent on his travels. Maybe that was down to the use of Lasix Stateside? I am not sure.

Mondialiste’s biggest weapon in the breeding shed may well be his pedigree. His sire, Galileo, obviously needs no introduction but his dam, Occupandiste, was a top-class filly on the track, bred and owned Wertheimer & Frere.

You don’t need to be a top-class horse to be a successful sire, and while Mondialiste only has 45 live foals, of the five that went through the sales ring, they performed very well, as Kevin’s piece suggested. He caught Kevin’s eye, despite the small sample size, so it will be interesting to see how his progeny go and whether other breeders will now look at him as a value option.

POSTPONED

Age: 9

Pedigree: Dubawi (IRE) x Ever Rigg (GB) (Dubai Destination) (USA)

Classic season: 2014

Highest official rating: 124

Group 1s won: 4

Times ran: 20 (July '13 - March '17)

Distance: 10f-12f

2020 fee: €10,000

It would take the last run of his 3yo season for Postponed to really show the world that we were dealing with a top-class prospect. The son of Dubawi would make the racetrack as a juvenile, breaking his maiden at Yarmouth over 7f, but the longer his 3yo season went on, with him gradually stepping up in trip, the better he got, and it was a brilliant Grade 2 Great Voltigeur Stakes success at York where the then Luca Cumani-trained colt announced himself.

Connections resisted the lure of both the St Leger and Arc in favour of putting the colt away for a 4yo campaign, and while the start of that season proved frustrating for his owner and trainer (now Roger Varian) over inadequate trips, a maiden Group 1 success came in the much-coveted mid-summer highlight, the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot, where Postponed showed the most wonderful attitude to rally and get back up and win.

One more run that season came in the Prix Foy, usually a sound Arc trial for older horses, and while Postponed won, connections would again skip the Arc, seemingly in favour for a crack at the following season’s Dubai Sheema Classic, a race I’m sure his Dubaian owner Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum would want to win with his pride and joy.

Under Andrea Atzeni, the now 5yo would get the job done in Meydan, the first of three Group 1s to be won in-a-row by the colt, in what would be Postponed’s best and most successful season. At Epsom, in the Coronation Cup, he dismantled subsequent Arc heroine Found in a career best effort before rolling on to York to beat her stablemate, Highland Reel, in the Juddmonte (10.5f).

At York, he showed he had the pace to drop in trip and his wonderful straight-forward nature again allowed Atzeni to place him ideally throughout. Now, physically, Postponed looked at the peak of his powers; wonderfully muscled up and thriving, but this would be the last time he saw him in the winners’ enclosure.

A crack at the Arc would finally come Postponed’s way, punters sending him off a 15/8 favourite, but he could only manage fifth place behind Found and Highland Reel, two horses he had beaten earlier in the season, comfortably running below his best. I suspect his long season had taken its toll.

Kept in training the following season, two runs in Dubai would see Postponed beaten. He just didn’t seem the same horse and was later in the season retired having picked up a stress fracture.

Under the Darley banner, a new career now awaits for this son of Dubawi. Typical of his sire's produce, Postponed just seemed to get better and better with age and is probably going not going to play to the strengths of your typical, modern-day commercial breeders, but horses like him are still important for the breed, and should his progeny race in the Godolphin blue, they will be given the time to come to themselves.

Seemingly a straight-forward horse to ride, if he can pass on his wonderful attitude and fluent-moving stride, as well as his ability (I actually had him rated a little bit higher than the BHA’s 124), with time, his progeny may thrive.

With 77 live foals on the ground and just 14 going through the sales ring, the early signs via the sales look OK. That said, his opening stallion fee of £20,000 has now dropped to £10,000.  

PROFITABLE

Age: 8

Pedigree: Invincible Spirit (IRE) x Dani Ridge (IRE) (Indian Ridge) (IRE)

Classic season: 2015

Highest official rating: 117

Group 1s won: 1

Times ran: 23 (July '14 - October '17)

Distance: 5f

2020 fee: €12,000 (Kildangan Stud)

With 128 foals on the ground from his first season, and his breeding fee standing steady, Profitable has clearly been given a chance by breeders to make a success of his new career at Kildangan Stud.

A top-class progressive sprinter for Clive Cox, the son of excellent sire Invincible Spirit only managed to bag one Group 1 race throughout his four seasons racing, but that’s maybe more of a sign of the pass the parcel nature of 5f races. Throughout his last couple of seasons, he was a mainstay in top-level sprint contests, and mostly consistent.

A February foal, he would make the track as a 2yo in early July and showed a strong juvenile constitution to run six times. He would finish the season rated 98, but his trajectory would continue to rise at three. Stakes races were the norm in that season, a Listed success at York the campaign highlight.

Heading into the following season rated 107, Profitable came back a significantly better horse from his winter break, racking up three victories on the bounce, the last of those at Royal Ascot in the King's Stand Stakes. Here, the Adam Kirby-ridden colt deserves credit for this success; overcoming what I deemed a slight pace and draw bias to win on ground that was likely also softer than ideal.

To be fair to Profitable, I always felt him a better horse on quicker going, but another string to his breeding bow is how versatile with underfoot conditions he was. I suspect it was his good attitude that helped him through more taxing ground, as he was such a beautiful moving horse.

Amazingly, the King’s Stand would be Profitable last success of his career, failing to win in his next eight starts. In black and white, that record doesn’t look great but he was mostly consistent and at the time, was taking on brilliant sprinting names likes Battaash, Lady Aurelia and Marsha; a classy period for improving European sprinting stock.

From a highly successful family of the dam’s side and by Invincible Spirit, accompanied with his will to win, fluent moving action and ground versatility, there is a lot to like about Profitable as he starts on the journey of his new career.

As Kevin said in his own piece, “Profitable had three foals that were bought for six-figure sums with the clear stand-out amongst them being a half-sister to the Group 1-placed Jash”. The early signs look to be encouraging.

RIBCHESTER

Age: 7

Pedigree: Iffraaj (GB) x Mujarah (IRE) (Marju) (IRE)

Classic season: 2016

Highest official rating: 125

Group 1s won: 4

Times ran: 16 (July '15 - November '17)

Distance: 7f-8f

2020 fee: €20,000

Ribchester is right up there with my favourite milers of the more immediate past; he was a thoroughly wonderful, consistent and tough race horse for Richard Fahey. If he is able to pass on all we saw on the track, I simply cannot see why he won’t be a success in his new career, standing at Kildangan Stud.

Regency bias likely helps, and overshadows what he did at two and three, but his 4yo season was truly phenomenal. OK, he was beaten in four of his seven runs, but to zone in on those negatives without looking at the bigger picture would be criminal.

Having run an excellent second to Minding in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes on British Champions Day at Ascot in the last run of his 3yo season, Ribchester likely didn’t get the length of break he deserved when asked to travel to Dubai in March of the following campaign. This tough management of the Iffraaj colt would be the first of a seven-race final campaign which saw him compete at seven different tracks, in four different countries on three continents; the last of which came at the Breeders’ Cup in early November.

His form figures that season read: 3112125 with the biggest distance beaten just 1¾ lengths. Over what amounts to nearly a full calendar year of training, to be that consistent at the top miling table in every single race, with all the travelling, is a testament to the horse’s constitution. But on top of this, Ribchester was a bona fide Group 1 performer with a serous amount of class; as his two-time European Champion Miler status suggests.

Having run a fine race in Dubai, back in Europe he would kick off his season in the Lockinge Stakes at Newbury, crushing his field by 3¾ lengths. He was again flawless at Royal Ascot in the Queen Anne Stakes, breaking the course record in the process.

Truly desperate conditions found him out in the Sussex Stakes before he bounced back in France, in the Prix du Moulin. A return to Ascot on British Champions Day saw him finish second to the heavily punted Persuasive in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes, where the race just didn’t pan out as well for him as the Gosden-trained winner. But, again, we saw his strong constitution at play, as Ribchester ran away with William Buick in the opening furlongs; you could be fooled into thinking he was having his first run of the campaign!

His season and career would finish at the Breeders’ Cup where he adapted quite well to the American-style turf racing, which is not an easy process, especially when running on proper fast ground. All in all, Ribchester had a fantastic career, but now a new one awaits.

With that in mind, and taking into consideration the current breeding market, we should not forget Ribchester was a convincing Group 2 winner as a 2yo, winning the Mill Reef Stakes at Newbury. At three, he was also third in the 2000 Guineas behind Galileo Gold, won the Jersey Stakes at Royal Ascot, was an unlucky and close-up third in the Sussex Stakes before going on to win his first Group 1, the Jacques Le Marois in France.

All the ingredients are there for Ribchester to be a success at stud, from what we witnessed on the track. Class, consistency, durability, ground versatility and raw pace are what stood out for me. With 109 live foals on the ground, he has been given a chance by breeders, although his fee has already dropped from €30,000 to €20,000.

Maybe that’s a move to make him more competitive with more established sires, but in a market flooded with Galileo blood, Ribchester is an option away from that source and one, if I was breeding, I would have high on my shortlist.

TIME TEST

Age: 8

Pedigree: Dubawi (IRE) x Passage Of Time (GB) (Dansili) (GB)

Classic season: 2015

Highest official rating: 121

Group 1s won: 0

Times ran: 14 (July '14 - August '17)

2020 fee: £8,500 (National Stud)

Cliff horses, we’ve all got them, and Time Test was certainly one of mine! Still to this day, despite recording a rating of 121 at his peak, I am convinced we never saw the best of this Juddmonte Farms-bred and owned colt. Despite running to the level of a Group 1 performer, Time Test never actually broke down that barrier.

The weather before the 2016 Coral-Eclipse at Sandown robbed him of his ideal Group 1 moment; rain affected ground no good for a slick-moving, pacey and turn-of-foot-laden son of Dubawi. Throughout his career, in those key Group 1 moments, the weather gods never looked on Roger Charlton’s inmate with much kindness.

When he got conditions however, and was on song, he could mesmerise you. His 2015 London Gold Cup success was good, visually, but his Royal Ascot Group 3 Tercentenary Stakes success blew me away. Frankie Dettori pulling double in the beautiful Abdullah silks on a warm summer’s day on the biggest stage of them all; I was instantly hooked by a performance of such distain for his opposition. It was everything you’d want to see in a flat horse; class and pace coming out of his ears.

With hindsight, it wasn’t the best race, but Time Test still ran to a top-class level, just about, and with the usually reserved Roger Charlton talking him up as a 3yo, saying he is and would go on to be a better horse than the wonderful Al Kazeem, a four-time Group 1 winner, I could not but get excited.

I expected big things in Time Test’s 4yo season and it started off perfectly, with him winning the Group 3 Brigadier Gerard Stakes under a significant 5lb penalty. It was a nice tee-up for the Coral-Eclipse, but as mentioned above, rain ruined his chance. He would at least bounce back in the Group 2 York Stakes three weeks later before being shipped off to America – I am assuming in search of fast ground and not to use Lasix – to be trained by Chad Brown.

He couldn’t have been in better hands for a new career Stateside, but in three runs, Time Test would finish second all times, a pair of those efforts coming in Grade 1s.

I am glad my former cliff horse has now been given a chance to shape the breed, as in my own mind, he was a Group 1 performer, and there are plenty who go to stud with much poorer records. His pedigree, which we haven’t touched on yet, is also sound. By world-class sire Dubawi, Time Test’s dam, Passage Of Time is Juddmonte through and through.

Passage Of Time was a precocious, strong-staying Group 1 winner as a 2yo, and also sent off favourite for the 2017 Oaks at Epsom. Her own dam, Clepsydra, was no Group performer on the track, but with her being a half-sister to the top-class All At Sea, there is plenty of class in Time Test’s DNA.

If he can stamp his stock with the brilliance he showed at the peak of his powers, we should see plenty nice individuals, blessed with speed; and in this game, speed kills. His dam and sire were both precocious, Group 1 winners and Time Test made it to the track three times as a 2yo, but came into his own at three and was better again at four.

With 74 foals on the ground from his opening season, he could’ve maybe done better in terms of numbers, but his fee has stayed consistent at £8,500 which is encouraging, and maybe, just maybe, he may offer some value those looking to get away from a Galileo bloodline.

I haven’t got the money, or mares, to send to him (just yet) and just as well, as we could’ve gone cliff walking once more.

ULYSSES

Age: 7

Pedigree: Galileo (IRE) x Light Shift (USA) (Kingmambo) (USA)

Classic season: 2016

Highest official rating: 126

Group 1s won: 2

Times ran: 13

Distance: 10f

2020 fee: £15,000 (Cheveley Park Stud)

By a Derby winner in Galileo and out of an Oaks heroine in Light Shift, from the day the mating of Ulysses was planned, he had a marker on his back. Pedigrees rarely come better, especially for a colt, whose main aim from the get-go would be to emulate his great father and win Flat racing’s most coveted 3yo race, the Derby at Epsom – the ultimate test of the thoroughbred.

Like his sire and dam, Ulysses made it to Epsom, but according to the bookmaker’s odds, he didn’t have anywhere near as good a chance of winning compared to his father, who was sent off an 11/4 joint-favourite. Light Shift, for the great Sir Henry Cecil, would win at 13/2. Amazingly, at least to my eye anyway, Ulysses’s 2016 Derby SP was 8/1.

On what he had done on the track prior to the first Saturday of that June, Sir Michael Stoute’s lodger looked more a 16/1+ chance, but one had to respect the vibes emanating from Freemason Lodge about the colt. There was a firm belief we hadn’t seen what this chestnut colt had been showing at home and come Derby day, we’d witness the real Ulysses.

Derby day came and not a lot went right for Andrea Atzeni’s mount. Ground with plenty of juice was no good for the sweetly-moving equine for a start, and his will to over-race off what was already a good gallop was a further negative; he simply didn’t settle how Atzeni would’ve wanted. The final nail in the coffin came when he was badly hampered half-way down the straight, and from there, was looked after. His day of reckoning was a write-off.

Still officially rated 98, he would win the Group 3 Gordon Stakes at Goodwood before going to Windsor and running a cracker in the Group 3 Winter Hill Stakes, under a penalty against older horses for the first time, going down a short-head to the talented 4yo mare Chain Of Daisies.

Again, in a sign of how much Stoute believed in Ulysses, the colt would go to Santa Anita for the 2016 Breeders’ Cup and put up a fine effort to finish fourth behind Highland Reel, Flintshire and Found in what was messy Turf renewal. He would stay in training at four, and boy, would we see the real Ulysses then.

The Flaxman Stables-owned horse would come into his own this season, getting better and better as the campaign progressed and importantly, breaking his Group 1 duck. That came in a pulsating Coral-Eclipse where Ulysses would just hold off top-class 3yo Barney Roy by a nose, showing a wonderful attitude.

At Sandown, Ulysses had looked and out-and-out 10f horse; he had such class and a wonderful ability to travel easily, so, it was surprise connections stepped him up to 12f in the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot. Soft ground again made his task harder, and with hindsight, he really had no chance of conceding a stone to the new superstar on the block, the great Enable.

A drop in trip came at York in the Juddmonte International and this would be Ulysses’s crowing moment and the race that surely proved he was an out-and-out 10f, highly-progressive horse. This is a race I will never tire of watching, because it showed everything that was brilliant about Ulysses; attitude, class, fluent mechanics and a potent change of gear. Here, he made Barney Roy and Churchill, two proven top-class 3yo colts, look like Group 3 horses – it was a wonderful performance.

His career swansong came in the Arc behind Enable, where he would finish a gallant third. Soft ground in October was just no good for him, especially over 12f, but he still ran another huge race for a 10f horse, shaping well until the last 200 yards taxed him heavily.

With 87 foals on the ground, based on his track performances and pedigree, I thought Ulysses would have been better supported. He only ran once at two which maybe doesn’t tick the precocious box strongly enough for some breeders, but he was a high-class 3yo. The positive from this negative is his stud fee has dropped to £15,000 from his opening £30,000 and that may well now entice breeders in.

He’s a son of Galileo in a market still dominated by his own sire and his sire’s sons, in places, but to my eye, Ulysses developed into a faultless race horse. The weapons in his arsenal were huge and maybe with some help from more precocious mares, he will develop into a top-class stallion.

Declan Rix
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