Thursday 17 January 2013

Coventry Stakes Stars

The first 2yo race of Royal Ascot - The Coventry Stakes Group 2. This contest for colts & fillies is run over 6f. Named after the 9th Earl of Coventry, it has a long history first run in 1890 won by The Deemster. Historically, Sir Gordon Richards is the leading jockey with 9 wins (Manitoba 1933 - King's Bench 1951). Leading  trainers with most winners are Frank Butters (Fairway 1927 - Palestine 1949) & Fred Darling (Lemnarchus 1930 - The Cobbler 1947) respectively. Both trained 7 winners. Since 1980, Aidan O'Brien has proven most successful winning 6 races, training some of the most talented thoroughbred race horses. Other notable trainers of this modern era include Richard Hannon.
The 2013 Coventry Stakes Group 2 is run on Tuesday, 18th June.

Whether past or present the Coventry Stakes Group 2 has seen an number of incredibly talented horses and fascinating betting. 

High Class Equine details our Top 10 Coventry Stakes Group 2 Winners starting with: 

Henrythenavigator (USA)

This brown son of Kingmambo was trained by Aidan O'Brien, in the ownership of Mrs John Magnier, bred by Western Bloodstock. His 11 race career saw an impressive 7-length debut victory when priced odds-on at Gowran Park.

Travelling across the Irish Sea for his second start, this colt was driven out to win the Coventry Stakes Group 2 by just under 1 length from the David Elsworth-trained Swiss Franc.

He was to race twice more in his juvenile campaigned in Ireland, probably hampered to some extent by testing ground conditions. Finishing 2nd in the Phoenix Stakes (Group 1) & 3rd in the Futurity Stakes (Group 2) could hardly be considered disappointing by anything other than an exceptional horse. 

His 3yo campaign saw him running at Group 1 class on all but one occasion. A string of blue ribbon events came his way.

In May, 2008, he won the 2,000 Guineas at Newmarket by a nose. In the same month he challenged his old adversary, New Approach, taking the Irish 2,000 Guineas. Next came a return to Royal Ascot and the St James' Palace Stakes Group 1, holding classic-race rival Raven's Pass by less than a length. At Goodwood's Sussex Stakes Group 1 he once again held the late charge of John Gosden's equine star, taking another huge purse with a narrow victory.  These four successes saw connections travel to Longchamp for the Prix Du Moulin De Longchamp Group 1. In what turned out to be a messy raced, on softer than ideal conditions, Henrythenavigator finished fourth behind the exceptional Goldikova.   

This defeat would lead to another loss at Ascot when finishing 2nd in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes Group 1. This time Raven's Pass would have his day, always holding the Irish challenger by 1 length, after being held up in the last trio, tracking the eventual winner, who always held his ground. 

His last race saw him travel to the United States when competing at the very highest level in Santa Anita's Breeder's Cup Classic. This was the first time he had raced over 1 mile, attempting 1m 2f on the pro-ride surface. With prize money topping the million pound mark, it was no surprise to see a strong field of 12 runners. With the likes of Steve Asmussen's prolific winner Curlin & Raven's Pass as leading opposition ''Henry'' was sent off a 11/1 shot.

Raven Pass prevailed by just under two lengths in a race which saw the retirement of those named horses. 

Henrythenavigator was retired to Ashford Stud, Kentucky. In 2010 he was shuttled between  Ashford Stud & Coolmore's Australian farm. He is now shuttled between Coolmore's Ireland and Australian farms.

He retired with an official rating of 125 with total prize earning of £1,384,598