Trainer Andrew Balding spoke with evident emotion, reflecting on Donjuan Triumphant’s success in the Listed Marathonbet Official Global Partner Of Manchester City Wentworth Stakes.
The five-year-old, hugely consistent at up to Group One level but without a previous win this season, saved the best until last on this final day of the Flat turf calendar as he stayed on best under James Doyle.
The well-backed 2-1 favourite was only the third domestic runner for King Power Racing since his owner’s death two weeks ago, after the helicopter crash which claimed his life and those of four others as it left Leicester’s Premier League match at home to Burnley.
King Power’s Hero Hero had finished second for Balding on his debut in a maiden race little more than an hour earlier – but Donjuan Triumphant made no mistake, beating Hey Jonesy by a head in the six-furlong contest.
The trainer was solemn as he considered the circumstances surrounding victory.
“It puts horse racing and the triviality of other things in life into perspective,” he said. “It was a huge loss not just to his family and families of other people involved in the crash, but to the whole King Power family.
“He was a tremendous guy, as has been well-recorded and reported, and will be sadly missed.”
Balding was full of praise for Donjuan Triumphant too.
“He really loves this (soft) ground,” he added. “The punters thought he had a really good chance today, and he’s just so tough.”
Company Asset had made it a homecoming to remember for Kevin Ryan’s stable with her emphatic victory in the Listed Marathonbet Sportsbook British EBF Gillies Fillies’ Stakes.
The five-year-old was well on top at the finish, scoring by two and a quarter lengths at 16-1 under Kevin Stott, with Shenanigans back in second.
Adam Ryan, son of and assistant to the trainer, was all smiles as he reflected on the good life back in Yorkshire after travelling to the Breeders’ Cup last weekend to watch the stable star East finish runner-up to the brilliant Newspaperofrecord in the Juvenile Fillies Turf.
“When I landed back here, it was absolutely pouring down – there’s not much difference really, is there?” said Ryan, recalling last week’s storms in Kentucky.
“It was a good experience there, and the filly ran great. What more can you ask for?”
Company Asset, without a win in four previous runs this year but a Listed runner-up at Saint-Cloud last October, may be on her travels again soon after this win.
“She’s travelled beautifully through the race, and quickened up lovely,” added Ryan.
“On that ground at this time of year, she just seems to thrive.
“She did last year, and she’s done it again. She was different class.
“She was placed in Listed company in France last year.
“There’s one for her now – a Group Three in France.
There was a notable success in the opening Marathonbet Supports Responsible Gambling Apprentice Handicap when 19-year-old Cieren Fallon, son of six-time champion Kieren, struck on board Lady Freyja.
It was a fourth win from just 27 rides for the 19-year-old, who said: “It’s a great way to finish the season.
“I’m loving every minute of it.
“The back-end of the year, I got my licence, and it was just a bit of practice. But it’s gone better than we expected – I didn’t expect anything like this anyway.”
John Ryan’s back-to-form four-year-old Lady Freyja stretched two and a quarter lengths clear of runner-up King’s Pavilion at the line, for an easy win at 14-1 on her last racecourse appearance.