British Champions Series stars to stud: Persuasive
6 Dec 2017
In the latest of our weekly series we focus on the filly who signed off her career with a bang on Champions Day
Frankie Dettori celebrates after riding Persuasive to victory in the QIPCO-sponsored Queen Elizabeth II Stakes. Picture: Racingfotos.com
Connections of Persuasive intimated she had run her final race after she had finished runner-up to Roly Poly in the Kingdom of Bahrain Sun Chariot Stakes at Newmarket in the autumn of 2017.
She came out of that race in such rude health, though, that they decided to roll the dice
a final time and the daughter of Dark Angel lined up in the in the £1.1 million Queen Elizabeth II Stakes (sponsored by QIPCO) on Champions Day at Ascot.
With the soft ground in her favour, she bowed out in stunning style – winning by a length from Ribchester, with dual Guineas winner Churchill third. In the process, she also landed a gamble, having been backed from 20-1 to 8-1 on the day of the mile feature.
Owned by Cheveley Park, Persuasive had the distinction of winning her first five races, including in the Sandringham Handicap at Royal Ascot in 2016.
A handicap win on the all-weather at Chelmsford a fortnight before the royal meeting guaranteed she would get in the race and, sent off the well-supported 11-4 favourite on that occasion, she won tidily off a mark of 95. She would her career with a rating of 118.
Before her grand finale, she had run in four Group 1 races against her own sex and was placed on three occasions – in the Kingdom of Bahrain and twice in the Coolmore-sponsored Matron Stakes at Leopardstown.
She finished out of the first three just once, when under two lengths fifth to Roly Poly in the Group 1 Prix Rothschild at Deauville in late July of 2017.
In total, she won six of her ten races, which were all over a mile, and accumulated £866,000 in prize money.
Undoubtedly her win in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot on Champions Day.
Patiently ridden, travelling well throughout, she had to switch two furlongs out to prevent getting blocked in and accelerated into the lead a furlong from home under Frankie Dettori, who rode her in eight of her ten races (Jimmy Fortune and Robert Havlin also enjoyed wins on her).
Persuasive never looked like wilting in the closing stages and had a length to spare over Ribchester, with Churchill another half-length back in third.
The only previous time she won when not starting favourite was on her debut, at Kempton almost two years earlier, when she scored at 16-1.
What they said:
Trainer John Gosden said after her win in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes: “It’s nice to go out on a high. She deserves it and is a very nice filly. I think she would have been unlucky if she had not have won because she was about to get boxed in so Frankie had to take her back, check his run and switch.
“She just adores this [soft] autumn ground. The owners have been incredibly patient to wait a long time to have her right. She’s got her ground today and just flies through it.
“It’s important for the stud to have a Group One winning filly. I thought she was going to run a big race and she adores this track. I never worry taking on the boys in a race in the autumn with a filly as they go through hell in the spring and summer hormonally and they come to late summer/autumn and everything is settled so they can focus on racing.”
Dettori added: “Persuasive travelled so good – I could not believe it. The ground is key for her. Barry [her groom] knows the filly very well and told me to wait as long as I dared. She showed an explosive turn of foot.”
Cheveley Park stud’s managing director Chris Richardson said: “We are actually a little overwhelmed, it’s fantastic. She has not run many times this year, but she has been getting better and better and ground is paramount. That’s why we came here.”
Where she will stand:
At Cheveley Park in Newmarket. It is the oldest stud in existence, with evidence of horse breeding on the site for more than a thousand years. Several monarchs have owned Cheveley Park, including King Athelstan, King Canute, Edward the Confessor, William the Conqueror, Edward I and Edward II.
David and Patricia Thompson purchased it in 1975 when it was in receivership and had dwindled down to 270 acres. Against industry advice, they stood their Gimcrack winner, Music Boy at the stud in 1977. He became leading first season sire and a life size bronze of him stands in a stud that is thriving again and now comprises just under 1000 acres.
What should we expect from her offspring:
Persuasive cost €180,000 as a yearling but one thing seems certain: her offspring are going to fetch considerably more!
As a Group 1-winning daughter of Dark Angel she has plenty going for her and it will be fascinating to see which sires are chosen to cover her over the years ahead.
The sire’s side of her pedigree is all about speed. Dark Angel has produced some of the fastest horses seen in recent seasons, such as Lethal Force, Mecca’s Angel, Harry Angel and Battaash.
However, Persuasive’s dam, Choose Me, a daughter of Choisir, was a winner at up to a mile and a quarter. Her other offspring, Azamour and Tisbutadream, are also useful performers at up to a mile.
Persuasive only ever raced over a mile and had a penchant for soft ground. She was certainly not short of speed – she may well have been effective over shorter – but equally was a strong stayer at the trip and might have got a bit further had she been asked.
A champion sprinter? A champion miler? Perhaps both? Persuasive’s Champions Series story might easily have more chapters in it.
Other British Champions Series stars to stud: