The latest from the Saudi Cup
For most people, the old line about owning racehorses rings true.
‘The best way to make a small fortune in horseracing,’ it goes, ‘is to start with a large one’.
Roy Humphrey, his partner Alison Flavell and nephew Oliver Humphrey might disagree with the conventional wisdom, however, since their first dip into the ownership waters has yielded The Wizard Of Eye (IRE), who contests The Saudi Derby presented by Al Rajhi Bank on Saturday.
Lambourn trainer Stan Moore also owns a share of the very striking 17 hands chestnut with a blaze and four white socks and tells the story that around a year ago he called prestige car dealer Humphrey about the possibility of acquiring one of his motors.
“I put the phone down and Roy had bought the horse! Roy is known as ‘The Wizard’. his car showroom is in Eye in Suffolk and that’s how the horse was named,” Moore laughs in his County Down burr.
“He is their first horse and they have received really very good offers to sell him to different parts of the world, but they have stuck to their guns because we all believe he could have a lot to offer this year.”
The Wizard Of Eye, who cost just €4,000 ($4,500) as a foal in Ireland, has won one of his five starts – impressively, too, at Newbury last year – but his three final runs as a juvenile were significant races in France, culminating in the Group 1 Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere on Arc Day at Paris Longchamp.
“The form of the Group 1 is very strong. He was beaten three lengths and the winner Angel Bleu has come out and won another Group 1 in which the second was Ancient Rome, who finished just ahead of our horse in Paris. On ratings alone he is more than entitled to be here,” says Moore, who has been training over 30 years and won the Group 1 Prix de l’Abbaye in 2009 with Total Gallery.
“The Wizard is probably the kind of horse that will get better with racing, he is such a big horse and he has more maturing to come. If he handles the surface – which his jockey John Egan thinks he will – then we believe he will run well. If he comes out of this as we hope, then we might also look at the UAE Derby in Dubai next month. The Irish 2,000 Guineas is another race we could consider later, but our focus is on the here and now,” he adds.
“He is a tough horse. He had no problem with the travelling back and forth to France last year, getting held up at customs and the like didn’t bother him and he is taking this trip in his stride, too, it’s no bother to him. He looks very happy. His owners have just arrived here in Riyadh and they are all very excited about the next chapter in his story.
Saudi Cup News Release
Photo: Trainer Stan Moore. (Saudi Cup)