- Sire-Dam -
Kew Gardens oozed class and stamina as he gave Aidan O’Brien a sixth victory in the William Hill St Leger at Doncaster in 2018.
And the following year he showed great courage, too, to beat super stayer Stradivarius on QIPCO British Champions Day.
But let’s start with his Classic triumph.
The colt had previously advertised his claims with wins in the Queen’s Vase and a Group 1 in France earlier in the year.
Sent off a 3-1 chance in the hands of Ryan Moore, Kew Gardens was buried in the pack early on as stablemate Nelson set the early gallop in company with Derby runner-up Dee Ex Bee.
They were lining up in behind with half a mile still to run – where inexperience seemed to tell on the market leader – and Moore was eager to push on, assuming control at the two-furlong point.
The pair never looked like being caught from then on and won by two and a quarter lengths from Lah Ti dar. Southern France, his stablemate, kept on for third, a further four and a half lengths adrift.
“We couldn’t be happier with him. He’s a horse that’s progressed lovely,” O’Brien said of Kew Gardens. “We saw what he did in (Ascot) and we were delighted with him in France.
“We always thought he was a horse that would stay well and we thought the distance would suit him. He has a lot of class.”
Moore added: “He travelled well and got there easy. He’s a very uncomplicated horse with a fantastic attitude and he won it nicely. He kept going well.”
Kew Gardens was having his 12th start at Doncaster and was running in his second Classic, having earlier failed to make much impact in the Investec Derby when aggressively ridden.
In 2019, he came close to landing another Champions Series prize – going down by half a length to Defoe in the Investec Coronation Cup at Epsom dropped back to a mile and a half.
After a minor setback and more than three months off, he finished an encouraging second to Search For A Song in the Comer Group Irish St Leger at the Curragh.
That teed him up for the Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup and a memorable nose victory over Stradivarius, who had won his previous ten races.
He rallied tenaciously to take the spoils, the pair five lengths clear after all but hitting the line as one.
“We were training Kew Gardens for the Gold Cup, but he pulled some muscles in his back and it all went pear-shaped,” O’Brien said.
“We are just delighted to get him back really. He barely made it back in time to run in the Irish Leger where he finished and second and it just didn’t go right for him on the day.
“Kew Gardens is an incredible horse and it was a great performance. The lads will decide if he stays in training, but I think there is a strong chance that he will.
“He is a very brave horse and we’re delighted for everybody.
“We were thinking about the Gold Cup this year and if the lads decide to keep him in training, he could go there.
Donnacha O’Brien said: “Kew Gardens is so genuine – these Galileos just don’t know when to lie down. I thought when Frankie came to me [on Stradivarius] that he was going to go past me, but this fella found another gear and battled real hard.
Seamie [Heffernan] rides him work at home, and both him and Dad were very happy with him. I felt he was the one horse in the race where you could not have been sure that Stradivarius is better than him.
“Kew Gardens showed today that he is a top-class stayer.”
As a two-year-old, the Galileo colt saved his best for last when landing the Zetland Stakes over a mile and a quarter at Newmarket. It was an early indicator of his stamina reserves.
BCS Career statistics
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