Wednesday 23 January 2013

Norfolk Stakes Stars

Royal Ascot: The Norfolk Stakes Group 2. This 2yo contest open to colts & fillies over 5f is a featured on the third day of this supreme meeting of quality racing.

Established in 1843, it was originally called the New Stakes with Rattan winning the inaugural event. 

The race was renamed in 1973 in honour of the 16th Duke of Norfolk & promoted from Group 3 status in 2006. 

Lester Piggott is the leading jockey for this race (Abermade 1961 - Niche 1992) with 9 victories. Surprisingly, no trainer has achieved more than four winners to date.


This bay colt was trained by two-year-old supremo Bill O'Gorman. Racing in the silks of Mrs P L Young he was bred by D A And Mrs Hicks. This son of Superlative made his debut in 1988 and become known as a prolific-winning juvenile. 

He made his debut in April, a Windsor maiden over the flying five furlongs. This 6/5f won by a length, making all under the tender handling of Tony Ives. This talent was kept busy winning his next four races at stakes class. Pundits noted this juvenile as one of the most promising two-year-olds in training. 

Connections had bigger plans. Royal Ascot's Norfolk Stakes Group 3 looked to be a test. Priced at even money favourite, he made virtually all to win comfortably by two and half lengths. 

At Newmarket he suffered a shock 4/11f defeat in the Chesterfield Stakes Listed. Many considered the weight penalty of six straight wins a factor. A narrow defeat in third was seen when heading across the channel to race at Maissons-laffitte, France, contesting the Prix Robert Papin Group 2 over 51/2f on soft ground. Losing by just over two lengths gave encouragement more victories would come. 

Travelling to Ireland for the Heinze ''57'' Phoenix Stakes (Group 1) saw a truly memorable display. Stepping up to 6f on much faster ground, Superpower, ridden for the first time by Walter Swinburn, broke fast, made all, and won by an easy three lengths to take the £120,000 prize.   

Dropping back to stakes class for his next start over 5f at York looked a straightforward task. He suffered an odds-on defeat against Ron Boss' filly, Madam Millie.

The Flying Childers Stakes Group 2 would see his final juvenile contest. Finishing fifth was a fair effort if not a little disappointing.

Bill O'Gorman's charge ran four times at three at pattern grade before being retired in September of that year. 

Superpower is still remembered for his precocious two-year-old racing achievements.