The Grey Gatsby (outside) winning over Australia in the Irish Champion Stakes (Gr-I) - All photos courtesy Jason Doyle
2014 has produced a strong three-year-old male division in North America and abroad. Most popular of the colts in Europe are Australia and Kingman, but The Grey Gatsby has gone under the radar despite some quality efforts this year. He has proven himself as a top class horse throughout his 2014 campaign and perhaps now he will reap the recognition he deserves.
Most recently, The Grey Gatsby took down Australia in the QIPCO Irish Champion Stakes (Gr-I) at Leopardstown. After the victory, his trainer Kevin Ryan remarked, “Now the horse will get the credit he deserves because he hasn’t had it yet.”
The Grey Gatsby after winning the Irish Champion Stakes
Though having won the prestigious Prix du Jockey Club (Gr-I) earlier this season, the Irish Champion seems to be The Grey Gatsby’s best performance of the season. The seven horse field included a top class cast of horses such as Trading Leather, Mukhadram, and Al Kazeem.
In the Irish Champion Stakes, jockey Ryan Moore kept The Grey Gatsby in the rear of the field throughout the early fractions. Having conserved ground and energy, The Grey Gatsby burst forward one furlong from the wire and pursued Australia, who was well in the lead with a strong drive. In the 1 ¼ mile contest, the nearly white colt tackled the favorite in a matter of strides and got his neck in front passing the final post. On good to firm ground, he completed the race in 2:03.18
Kevin Ryan commented, “I’m immensely proud of the horse and it was a great ride. He saved a lot of ground on the inside and was passing horses without doing a lot. When I saw him picking up, I thought he’d go close.
“He won’t go for the Arc.” He added. “He might go to Ascot for the Champion Stakes if he runs again but he stays in training next year when he’ll start off in the Duty Free in Dubai.”
Moore said, “My horse is improving and he was impressive in France and very good in the Juddmonte [International Stakes (Gr-I)]. I thought Australia would be hard to beat but that mine would come on from York.
“They went a good gallop but my horse tries really hard. He travels well and you just have to give him a target to aim at and he’ll chase it.
“They both ran a good race to pull clear like that. Hopefully mine can improve a bit more.”
The Grey Gatsby has started seven times this year, winning three times and placing second on two occasions. The Novae Bloodstock Insurance Craven Stakes (Gr-III) was his first outing of 2014, and in this race, he was second beaten two lengths by Toormore. In all starts leading up to this race, he had been ridden by Graham Lee, but Jamie Spencer got the leg up in this outing.
Less than two weeks after his tenth in the QIPCO 2,000 Guineas, The Grey Gatsby won the 10 furlong Betfred Dante Stakes (Gr-II) by ¾ lengths with Ryan Moore aboard for the first time.
This victory was followed by the Prix du Jockey Club at Chantilly. In the 11 furlong event, he was opposed by fifteen rivals and raced in midfield on the rail. Angling out into the stretch, he closed on the leaders with a ¼ mile to spare and led entering the final furlong. The Grey Gatsby drew away to win with a three length margin over Shamkiyr and a final time of 2:05.58.
Next time out, he was sixth-best in the Juddmonte Prix de Paris (Gr-I) contested on very soft ground at Longchamp. Prior to that race, he had never been tested at the 12 furlong distance. However, he showed great ability in his proceeding start, the Juddmonte International Stakes (Gr-I) where he was second, beaten two lengths, by Australia at 10 furlongs on good to firm ground.