- Sire-Dam -
The Aidan O’Brien-trained globetrotter is among the toughest and most popular horses in training. He is also one of the sport’s biggest earners, having scopped his connections more than£6 million in prize money.
He had already made his mark at the highest level in America and Hong Kong before landing the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot in July 2016.
The Galileo colt was given a superb front-running ride by Ryan Moore at Ascot and always looked like holding off Wings Of Desire, the Derby fourth, with Dartmouth, who had previously beaten him a head in the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot, four lengths back in third.
He added to the tally when chasing home Postponed in the Juddmonte International Stakes at York, keeping on stoutly after being prominent all the way.
And he did so again when beating all bar Found in the 2016 Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, before gaining revenge on her in the Breeders’ Cup Turf, when making all under Seamie Heffernan. He followed that with a close second in the Hong Kong Vase.
His one tame run was in the QIPCO Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown, finishing seventh in a race that involved eight Group One winners.
Highland Reel began his 2017 campaign with a lacklustre effort behind Jack Hobbs in the Longines Dubai Sheema Classic at Meydan but has since bounced back in his usual style – winning the Investec Coronation Cup at Epsom and Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot.
“He is an incredible horse,” O’Brien said after his win at the Royal meeting. “Pace, courage, tactical speed, he has everything.
“He has passed every test that you would want a thoroughbred to go through. His first Group race was as a two-year-old and we have toured the world with him since then. Every time, he turns up in big races over a mile, 10 furlongs and 12 furlongs, he has a great mind and has passed all the tests everywhere he goes – he is an amazing horse.
“He is like his sire Galileo because he also had so much courage and he has passed it on to Highland Reel ten-fold.
“He has been racing at the top level for the last few years. Sometimes he gets beat, but if the pace is strong and if it comes anywhere near courage, then he will be there fighting. He has danced every dance. I’m not sure we have ever had a horse with the constitution that he has.”
Highland Reel then defended his crown in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes at Ascot but, on rain-softened ground, his powers were blunted and he could finish only fourth behind the brilliant Enable.
Conditions were also against him in the QIPCO Champion Stakes at Ascot in October but he again gave his all, finishing third to Cracksman.
Ryan Moore, his regular jockey, said: “He ran a super race on ground that isn’t really suitable for him.”
BCS Career statistics
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