Sovereign was worth weight in gold for Carr

Memorable spell in 2017 confirmed grey still had all his old talent.

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Grey horses have always attracted a devoted following, but Sovereign Debt also proved the punters’ pal as he enjoyed a golden spell in the spring of 2017.

Transferred to the care of Ruth Carr following a big-race win in Doha for the late David Nicholls in February that year, Sovereign Debt was at his peak at a time when most horses would be starting to feel the pace.

Carr thought it could not get much better than the £93,000 he won at Lingfield on Good Friday – but the upward curve continue as he rolled on to Sandown for the prestigious bet365 Mile.

Pebbles won the inaugural renewal in 1985, with the likes of Soviet Star, Markofdistinction and In The Groove also featuring on the roll of honour down the years.

Partnered by James Sullivan, Sovereign Debt was about to join those illustrious ranks.

Carr recalled: “He was in the form of his life at a pretty advanced age for a racehorse, for whatever reason.

“We went to Lingfield for All-Weather Finals Day on Good Friday, he won there and we all thought we were pleased with that.

“We then decided to go to Sandown, we didn’t have big expectations and being a small northern trainer, there really wasn’t too much pressure on us. But he came out that day and proved he could play with the big boys.

“That was our first Group race and it was a great day for the yard.”

Sovereign Debt went on to add a Group Three win in the Diomed Stakes at Epsom and while he won the Ganton Stakes at York the following season, the Dark Angel gelding was unable to quite recapture that glorious run of form.

He returned to defend his title, but ran into subsequent dual Group One winner Addeybb on the day.

Carr said: “Obviously we went back the next year and Addeybb won, but that’s what happens to you when you get old – you bump into a younger one!”

Owned by Lady O’Reilly, Sovereign Debt bowed out towards the end of that summer, but his striking looks ensured he had something to go on to once his racing days were over.

Carr said: “He was retired in August 2018 and he went to a friend of the owner in the Midlands who does some showing and he’s been taking part in RoR (Retraining of Racehorses) classes.

“He was a lovely-looking horse, a lovely grey, and he always had a lot of presence. I remember after winning a Listed race at York, he just stood there as he had his picture taken – he just had so much presence.”

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