- Sire-Dam -
Not too many seven-year-old horses win British races carrying prize money of £1 million, but that is exactly what Here Comes When did when landing the 2017 Qatar Sussex Stakes at Goodwood.
His best previous effort in a Champions Series race was when fourth in the corresponding race two years earlier. The difference this time was that he got the deep ground conditions which bring out the best in him after torrential rain changed the ground from good in the morning to near heavy in mid-afternoon.
Always going well, he dig deep to fend off triple Group One winner Ribchester and the classy Lightning Spear. He was having his 29th run and was chalking up his ninth success, with a couple of his other victories being in Group 2 races.
Owner Mrs Fitri Hay was enjoying her first Group One success as a sole owner.
“We had lots of top wins with the likes of Cape Blanco,” said husband Jim Hay, “but this is our first as a sole owner and not in a partnership. This is Fitri’s horse and it’s a real team effort from all.
“The going today really played to our strengths, but this horse has always been knocking at the door in Group Ones and Twos, he has always had a lot of ability. Andrew has got him at the peak of performance for today.
“Alex [Cole, racing manager], Andrew and I had a long discussion about this race at Ascot on Saturday and we decided to run. We thought we’d go for fourth prize – there is big prize money – as we didn’t think we’d beat Ribchester or Churchill.
“But as the weather changed and the going got softer and softer, I can’t say we were confident, but thought we’d be in with a chance. When they pulled out Churchill, I looked at Here Comes When in the parade ring and I thought he’s going to run a good race for us. I thought he’ll be in the first three and if he did that we’d be over the moon.
“Watching through the race we were quite happy with where we were, and I thought we’re going to pick the leaders. As they came down the straight, Here Comes When was just getting stronger and stronger, and we were praying ‘Jim don’t go, don’t go yet!'”
Balding added: “We hoped he would run well, there’s good money all the way down and he loves the ground and likes the track. He’s been in great form this year. Jim [Crowley] thought we would be in the first three and he gave him a great ride.
“He won two Group Twos as a four-year-old and has always been a handy horse, but he needs these conditions. We were lucky the race fell away a little bit, but you still have to run to a very good level to win it, which he did. It’s one of my more improbable Group One triumphs, but he was 20/1, so not completely without a chance.
“We entered him a long time ago because he was impressive when winning a Listed race at York, and he’s very handy on his day. He’s a strong traveller on this ground.
“I should think he will have just one more run, probably at Ascot [Champions Day] in the autumn when I hope he gets these conditions again, and then we’ll look forward. His racing career will have to end at some point and we’ll have to find a nice home for him.”
Jim Crowley will be hoping for similar ground conditions on Champions Day.
“He’s a very good horse with his conditions,” he said. “But he’s deserved it, he’s battled hardened, he’s run plenty of times, he’s a Group Two winner and this is great for Fitri and Jim. They are very big supporters.
“It’s tough conditions, it’s tough going, it’s proper heavy jumping ground. The horse is very tough and he toughed it out. For every drop of rain that has come today, I was pleased.”
BCS Career statistics
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