Racing: Judgement day for the Sangsters
Sue Montgomery says Revoque can spring an evocative victory in first Classic
Sunday 27 April 1997
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."
Latest in Sport
Raheem Sterling to Manchester City: Winger to report for Liverpool training on Monday but Reds braced for third City bid this week
Women's World Cup 2015: England secure third place as they beat Germany in extra time with penalty by Fara Williams
Angel Di Maria and Marcos Rojo could miss Manchester United's crucial Champions League play-off due to Copa America run
PornHub begs users to stop uploading video clips of Brazil getting beaten 7-1
Nick Kyrgios fans show their support by smearing Vegemite and Nutella on their faces amid Wimbledon run
- 1 BBC told new political editor must be 'impartial' with Nick Robinson reportedly stepping down
- 2 Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
- 3 Humans of New York image of crying gay teen receives best response yet from Ellen DeGeneres
- 4 The map showing the most dangerous tourist destinations in Europe, according to the Foreign Office
- 5 Swedish minister gives strongest case yet on why EU should stop turning away asylum seekers
More Britons believe that multiculturalism makes the country worse - not better, says poll
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
£7 - £10 per hour: Recruitment Genius: This care provider is looking for Home ...
£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's leading web des...
£27000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A growing, successful, friendly...
£16000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This family owned, independent ...