Mister Baileys struck a blow on many fronts when he got the better of a nail-biting finish to the 2000 Guineas at Newmarket.
A first runner in the race for Mark Johnston and an inaugural Classic ride for Jason Weaver, Mister Baileys also became the first Middleham-trained Classic winner since 1945 as he edged out Grand Lodge by a short head in a course-record time.
The son of Robellino was providing quite a return on the 10,500 guineas he had cost at Tattersalls as a yearling, and looking back, his odds of 16-1 on that day in 1994 were very generous indeed.
Winner of the Royal Lodge under Frankie Dettori on his final juvenile start, the Italian had to settle for second this time behind Mister Baileys, who Weaver recalls as putting in a superstar workout in the big-race build up.
He said: “It was funny really, as before he went to Newmarket, he had two big works. He had one at Thirsk and he worked awful, then he went to Ripon for the second one and worked tremendously well.
“I think Dettori was supposed to ride Mister Baileys rather than Grand Lodge, then he ended up losing on the bob.
“I thought he had won passing the post, it was a thrilling finish and a massive, massive point in my career.”
Mister Baileys went on to the Dante Stakes at York over 10 furlongs, where he finished fourth to Erhaab, before making an audacious bid for a Classic double in the Derby.
He famously tried to make every yard, before fading into fourth, and Weaver said: “Whether he stayed at Epsom or not, I made a meal of it and there’s been some fun over the years with people asking when I thought the Derby had been switched back to a mile!”
Johnston has subsequently admitted he regretted running Mister Baileys at Epsom, with his final run resulting in a tame fifth in the Sussex Stakes after again trying to make every yard of the running.
Regardless of how his career concluded, Weaver is thankful to have had chance to partner the colt, who very much defined the early part of his career.
He added: “He was a great horse, if you’re lucky enough to sit on a horse that has great balance and presence, it doesn’t matter if it’s a racehorse, an eventer or a showjumper – it’s a great thing.
“He had a real presence about him and it doesn’t matter what you are doing, if you’re lucky enough to find yourself in that situation.”