Watson the perfect gent pursues his old interests

The term dual-purpose usually refers to a beast who shows his talent both on the Flat and over obstacles. But for Winker Watson, the jumping side of the versatility equation has a whole different connotation. His appearance in Saturday's July Cup at Newmarket, his second run after two years off the track, would be an ambitious enough comeback in itself, but is made the more unusual by the fact that the six-year-old has spent two seasons on duty as a stallion.

For most horses, athletic endeavour and sex do not normally sit comfortably alongside each other. The two activities generally produce not only different muscular development but different attitudes; once introduced to the delights of the breeding shed, the male equine mind is focused on, to use the time-honoured phrase, being only after one thing.

But Winker Watson is something of a rarity, a proper gentleman. "When he came to us earlier this year he astounded me," said trainer Mick Channon. "He's the kindest horse I've ever known, just a smashing horse to have around."

Horses do return to racecourse action after serving as stallions, but generally only if their manhood has fallen short; the now-gelded Kingsgate Native, a dual Group One winner before he proved infertile, is an example. Winker Watson has proved perfectly capable of fatherhood, but a bit more quality on his CV would undoubtedly help with harem numbers in the future.

The son of Piccolo was a classy, speedy juvenile when with Peter Chapple-Hyam, a winner at Royal Ascot. But after taking the July Stakes at Newmarket four years ago he failed to add further success and retired cheaply to Norman Court Stud (in which his trainer has an interest) in Wiltshire.

In his previous incarnation Winker Watson was tried in top mile company at three and four but is now being reinvented as a sprinter like his sire, whom Channon trained to win a Nunthorpe Stakes. And his effort to finish a close sixth in Group Three company at Newcastle on his return 10 days ago delighted Channon.

"We were all chuffed to bits with him," he said. "He's got to step up again, but he will strip fitter and I'm hoping he'll be spot-on for Saturday. He may have been off to stud but that doesn't mean he's trained any differently. He's back to being a racehorse and we'll try to win races with him."

Turf account

* Chris McGrath's Nap

Maltease Ah (2.30 Pontefract)

This filly, not disgraced against a potentially top-class rival two starts ago, may have scope for improvement.

* Next best

Dark Promise (4.00 Pontefract)

Continued the upward mobility she had shown on the all-weather in her first turf run this term and looks capable of a successful step out of handicap company.

* One to watch

Dimension (James Fanshawe) was stopped more than once in his run when sixth in the seven-furlong handicap at Sandown on Saturday.

* Where the money's going

Pekan Star is 5-1 favourite from 6s with Ladbrokes for the John Smith's Cup at York on Saturday.

Life and Style
Steve Shaw shows Kate how to get wet behind the ears and how to align her neck
healthSteven Shaw - the 'Buddha of Breaststroke' - applies Alexander Technique to the watery sport
Arts and Entertainment
The sight of a bucking bronco in the shape of a pink penis was too much for Hollywood actor and gay rights supporter Martin Sheen, prompting him to boycott a scene in the TV series Grace and Frankie
footballShirt then goes on sale on Gumtree
Terry Sue-Patt as Benny in the BBC children’s soap ‘Grange Hill’
voicesGrace Dent on Grange Hill and Terry Sue-Patt
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Performers drink tea at the Glastonbury festival in 2010
Arts and Entertainment
Twin Peaks stars Joan Chen, Michael Ontkean, Kyle Maclachlan and Piper Laurie
tvName confirmed for third series
Cameron Jerome
footballCanaries beat Boro to gain promotion to the Premier League
Arts and Entertainment
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

Career Services
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Guru Careers: Software Developer / C# Developer

£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...

Guru Careers: Software Developer

£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...

SThree: Trainee Recruitment Consultant / Resourcer

£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...

Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, AngularJS)

£25000 - £40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: UI Developer - (UI, JavaScript, HTML...

Day In a Page

Abuse - and the hell that came afterwards

Abuse - and the hell that follows

James Rhodes on the extraordinary legal battle to publish his memoir
Why we need a 'tranquility map' of England, according to campaigners

It's oh so quiet!

The case for a 'tranquility map' of England
'Timeless fashion': It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it

'Timeless fashion'

It may be a paradox, but the industry loves it
If the West needs a bridge to the 'moderates' inside Isis, maybe we could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive after all

Could have done with Osama bin Laden staying alive?

Robert Fisk on the Fountainheads of World Evil in 2011 - and 2015
New exhibition celebrates the evolution of swimwear

Evolution of swimwear

From bathing dresses in the twenties to modern bikinis
Sun, sex and an anthropological study: One British academic's summer of hell in Magaluf

Sun, sex and an anthropological study

One academic’s summer of hell in Magaluf
From Shakespeare to Rising Damp... to Vicious

Frances de la Tour's 50-year triumph

'Rising Damp' brought De la Tour such recognition that she could be forgiven if she'd never been able to move on. But at 70, she continues to flourish - and to beguile
'That Whitsun, I was late getting away...'

Ian McMillan on the Whitsun Weddings

This weekend is Whitsun, and while the festival may no longer resonate, Larkin's best-loved poem, lives on - along with the train journey at the heart of it
Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath in a new light

Songs from the bell jar

Kathryn Williams explores the works and influences of Sylvia Plath
How one man's day in high heels showed him that Cannes must change its 'no flats' policy

One man's day in high heels

...showed him that Cannes must change its 'flats' policy
Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Is a quiet crusade to reform executive pay bearing fruit?

Dominic Rossi of Fidelity says his pressure on business to control rewards is working. But why aren’t other fund managers helping?
The King David Hotel gives precious work to Palestinians - unless peace talks are on

King David Hotel: Palestinians not included

The King David is special to Jerusalem. Nick Kochan checked in and discovered it has some special arrangements, too
More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years

End of the Aussie brain drain

More people moving from Australia to New Zealand than in the other direction for first time in 24 years
Meditation is touted as a cure for mental instability but can it actually be bad for you?

Can meditation be bad for you?

Researching a mass murder, Dr Miguel Farias discovered that, far from bringing inner peace, meditation can leave devotees in pieces
Eurovision 2015: Australians will be cheering on their first-ever entrant this Saturday

Australia's first-ever Eurovision entrant

Australia, a nation of kitsch-worshippers, has always loved the Eurovision Song Contest. Maggie Alderson says it'll fit in fine