Racing: Judgement day for the Sangsters

Sue Montgomery says Revoque can spring an evocative victory in first Classic

There is probably no one in racing today who has been there, done that, worn the T-shirt more than Robert Sangster. He has won just about every big race, but his competitive instinct remains as sharp as ever. And a victory for Revoque in Saturday's 2,000 Guineas, the first Classic of the season, would bring particular satisfaction.

Not just because Sangster, the ultimate bloodstock businessman, has a substantial stake in the colt's sire Fairy King and owns his dam La Bella Fontana. Or even because he has had a serious punt at rewarding odds. The reasons are more personal. "My son Ben picked him out as a foal and bought him," he said. "He's a terrific judge of a horse - actually much better than me - and I'd be thrilled for him if he could win."

The intriguing story of Revoque typifies Sangster's present role in the world of racing, one he thoroughly enjoys. The days when he spent millions at the yearling sales in the quest for high-class colts to race in his own colours and turn into stallions have gone; he now breeds his own and sells as many as he keeps. He's a trader, with horses his currency.

He has actually bought La Bella Fontana twice in the past eight years. The first time, for 12,000 guineas, she was a prospective mate for Fairy King, but the product of that first union was not much good. After three years the formula was tried again, but by then La Bella Fontana has passed into the ownership of one of Sangster's partners, who in turn sold her the following year for 1,200 guineas to a small Irish breeder.

Meanwhile, Sangster jnr had acquired the second Fairy King colt - Revoque - for 36,000 guineas at auction. And even then it was only because nature intervened that he runs in the famous blue, green and white silks. "He was actually bought to re-sell as a yearling, but he just grew and grew and grew, and was far too big and boat-like to offer," said Sangster. "Just as well, really."

Last year Sangster tracked down La Bella Fontana and brought her back into his 100-strong Swettenham Stud broodmare band. It was at a cost of pounds 80,000 this time, but she is now carrying to Fairy King again, and who knows what that foal might be worth. "I enjoy dealing," said Sangster. "It used to be a matter of which one to buy; now I have to judge which one to sell. The skill is getting the balance right, and sometimes I'm wrong, but trading is fun."

Like most of Sangster's horses, Revoque, last year's champion two-year- old, has a price tag on his head. Bidding would start at $10m, but only after Saturday, as his owner is looking forward to claiming a fourth 2,000 Guineas after Lomond, El Gran Senor and Rodrigo de Triano. "In terms of confidence, I'd say I was more than with Rodrigo and less than with the Senor. The two favourites [Entrepreneur and Shamikh] are unproven at top level. One could be brilliant, but it must be long odds against them both being.

"Mine is the one with the runs on the board. He'll be spot-on after his run at Newbury - he sluiced up in his work since - and whatever the going is he won't mind it. I just can't see them kicking him out of the first three. At the price, he must be a cracking each-way bet."

Whether Sangster's confidence is justified or not, there is no doubt that his enthusiasm is as catching as ever. "Every race brings a different challenge, a different pleasure," he said. "And each win seems better than the last."

Suggested Topics
News
Howard Marks who has been diagnosed with inoperable cancer aged 69
people
Arts and Entertainment
Benedict Cumberbatch has spoken about the lack of opportunities for black British actors in the UK
film
Voices
Winston Churchill, then prime minister, outside No 10 in June 1943
voicesA C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
News
Rowan Atkinson at the wheel of his McLaren F1 GTR sports car
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Austen Lloyd: Private Client Solicitor - Oxford

Excellent Salary : Austen Lloyd: OXFORD - REGIONAL FIRM - An excellent opportu...

Austen Lloyd: Clinical Negligence Associate / Partner - Bristol

Super Package: Austen Lloyd: BRISTOL - SENIOR CLINICAL NEGLIGENCE - An outstan...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Consultant - Solar Energy - OTE £50,000

£15000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Fantastic opportunities are ava...

Recruitment Genius: Compute Engineer

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A Compute Engineer is required to join a globa...

Day In a Page

Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

Pinstriped for action

A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

Michael Calvin's Last Word

How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us