Ben Pauling is hoping the unraced Stokes can live up to his world-beating name – and maybe attract a fellow cricket enthusiast as a future owner in the process.
Pauling has explained champion trainer Paul Nicholls and leading owner Max McNeill were not the only ones quick off the mark to reserve names in honour of Ben Stokes’ heroic summer for England.
In fact, it is Pauling who has bagged the most obvious and perhaps resonant one for his four-year-old bay gelding by Califet out of a half-sister to smart hurdler Iktitaf.
It seemed to be within minutes of Stokes’ superhuman role in a thrilling World Cup final win over New Zealand in July, and then his even more far-fetched success in an amazing Ashes run chase at Headingley, that first McNeill and then Nicholls were trending on Twitter with Champagnesuperover and Onethreefivenotout.
Only Pauling has an exact namesake of England’s match-winner in his stable, though.
“I named him immediately after the World Cup (final),” he said.
“I’m a big cricket fan, and I thought I’d go and grab the name.”
The equine Stokes does not yet have his alter ego’s profile as he takes his first steps as a racehorse in training, without any grand publicity – but Pauling reports early indications are that he has the talent to make a few of his own headlines on the track.
He added: “I didn’t make much of a song and dance about it.
“He’s a nice bumper horse that I own myself, that we’ll look to run and then sell on.
“He’s a very nice horse, and I hope he should be well up to winning a bumper – then we’d probably move him on to stay in the yard.”