Knight in shining armour
GAY SMITH’S Springhead operation recently added another Grade I success to a growing collection.
Their chestnut gelding Knight Rider, under the stable’s first call jockey Antonio Bishop, stormed home to win the United Insurance Barbados Derby on August 1.“It feels good to win races but winning a Derby is like winning the Gold Cup and it is a great achievement to win the Derby with a horse bred at Springhead,” trainer Edward Walcott Jr told MIDWEEK?SPORT.
“Knight Rider’s dam Stargayzer has thrown some nice horses like Super Star, Super Tarson and Golden Moon so we had no doubt in his ability,” added Walcott.But he pointed out that Knight Rider wasn’t really earmarked for the Derby, which was contested over 2 000 metres.
“He is a horse that I saw potential in and believed that he could go where we wanted him to go. He has only had six starts and is still maturing.”
Walcott said owner Gay Smith, who unfortunately wasn’t present at the Garrison Savannah for the race, was delighted with Knight Rider’s triumph.
“The prestige of winning, especially a race with the credibility of the Derby is very special to Gay Smith. My boss would’ve loved to have been here to witness it but had to settle for watching the live stream. They enjoyed every moment of the victory.”
Walcott was also quick to praise his entire team at Springhead saying it was a team victory.“Every achievement on the track is a testimony to their hard work and dedication. My team is very important to me. We rely on each other. They back me up as we continually strive to maintain a high standard.”
He made special mention of those who work the 24-hour night shift which is an operation mainly in the breeding season.
Walcott said the major reason for Springhead’s existence was to breed their own horses with the aim of producing good stock from their farm to benefit the industry.
“By doing this we would promote the local breeding industry to the highest degree, promote our stallions and push for people to see our thoroughbreds.”
From a local prospective Knight Rider’s third career win rates right behind Zoom and Meteorite as locally-bred horses that have done the stable proud. Although they are happy with their local stock, the possibility of bringing in other importeds if the need arises, has not been ruled out.
In the actual event, High Tide ran the race of her life. She attempted to make all the running but got a little fatigued 25 metres from the finish, eventually taking second, a position which certainly would have pleased her connections.
Vanity Affair gave another honest effort to finish third while Cabin Boy closed well from the back to be fourth. Favourite Nekitta did not have a good trip and had to settle for fifth. Stratfords Lad raced mid-pack and never fired whereas Janak’s Gold tracked the leaders before fading and Sweet Bottom Sarah raced on the lead for one mile before weakening.
Of the others, Snow White never factored; Wild Orchid never issued a challenge; Devil Khandy was always a back marker and Ben Ten maintained the same position throughout before becoming detached.