Horse Racing

The world tour was just the beginning of Ferguson’s journey


LEXINGTON, KY — On a morning like this, you really can’t be anywhere in the world but Bluegrass: as the night fades after dawn, a ghostly mist is released from each marshland wading, only to be burned up as the surrounding grasslands yawn and stretch gratefully beneath a sky as bright as cut glass. However, for someone new to Keeneland, the level of disorientation is still completely forgivable.

Helpfully, James Ferguson achieved a period of sobriety when he went down to the isolation ward to oversee his preparations. Mise En Scene (GB) (Siyouni {Fr}) for GI Maker’s Mark Filly and Mare Turf on Saturday. But if his brain temporarily catches up with his body, then after the exhausting journey from Australia the day before, many pieces of subconscious memories will surely still be put together one last time. with him could not sleep.

A young man with such clear ambitions might be tempted to see their reassembly as the work of a nightmare sooner than a dream. After all, it’s not just a fleeting moment when The Legend of Deauville (Ire) (Sea The Stars {Ire}) fooled even neutral observers that he would win the G1 Melbourne Cup on Tuesday. He was determined to get everyone’s attention, when the first 1/3 of the race started to affect the rest of it, it really seemed like he was going to deliver a hit. great for a stable still in its third year. . However, in an instant, the gelding would be flooded by two close-ups, and even ranked third in the dark of the post.

“At the end of the day, he ran a very, very solid race,” reflected Ferguson. “He was given a lovely ride, and I would say the ground was probably too soft on that ride. It could be another story on faster ground. That’s right, as he goes longer, his run is like stopping.

“When they came to the bend, and we went very strong, I think we just had to go far and win. But then you see the Gold Trip (Fr) (Outstrip) in the back and it wasn’t a struggle, he passed us very quickly, although I think Deauville Legend fought very recklessly.

“The price he offered was perhaps a bit unfair, as he was only three years old, had never tried the ride and was probably very heavy as well. So I’m absolutely delighted with the way he runs. Of course it would be nice to win, but he’s come a long way past international tournaments. “

Fortunately, unlike most other shippers, this one will return to Ferguson’s new home base in Newmarket and promise to grow into an elite force across the middle distances. However, even when everything went well, he confirmed the exceptional potential of his 32-year-old coach. Because it’s one thing to ride horses around the world in hopes of attracting attention to your emerging business; such an early sense of their eligibility is another thing altogether.

In addition to Deauville Legend, the 3-year-olds developed by Ferguson this season include El Bodegon (Ire) (Kodiac {GB}), his breakout Group 1 winner in France last year and was sent back to the Channel to finish second in the G1 Prix du Jockey-Club. (He was recently beaten briefly on his debut for Chris Waller in G1 Cox Plate.) Then there’s the filth here, already the group winner and definitely considered yes. the odds are better than the odds allow. And these people have graduated from an enrollment that was originally 15 or so.

By knowing better than guessing that Deauville Legend and El Bodegon are qualified for the top tier, Ferguson isn’t just asking us to revisit Mise En Scene. He was quick to prove that he belongs on this level too.

And that’s no less than what one would expect, given his background. Forget that his father John can give such experienced advice, whether in ranch recruitment or in such strategic decisions that a second opinion may warrant a second opinion. By the time of his degree, Ferguson had completed a decade of international apprenticeship, absorbing the work of master after master, from Sir Mark Prescott, Jessica Harrington to Charlie Appleby.

“And for all that I am a youth coach, we are not a youth team,” he said. “I have been helped a lot. Obviously Dad was involved in the planning, and there’s a lot of experience between us. He is always on the phone if needed. But while you try to learn the best from everyone you’ve worked with, it’s about finding a pattern that works for you. I think you do it very quickly, and now I’m just looking forward, trying to keep the ball rolling.”

That agenda is well served by the return of the flagship stable, who first made his debut to wider attention when he was unlucky to win over King George V H. at Royal Ascot. That day the Legend of Deauville failed with just one head to catch the Secret State (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}) after getting stuck in traffic at the crucial moment, an exasperating conclusion to an emotionally charged project. excited. The mood changed completely when the main characters met again in G2 Great Voltigeur S. in York at the end of the summer.

Ferguson recalls: “Ascot was the plan for a long time. “He raced very lightly, and his handicap debut was a risk from a psychological point of view. But we know he’s fine, and don’t want to beat that handicap. It just goes to show, when you see Charlie’s horse rated around like we are now, that while you could have entered that race two years ago with a good 10 lbs, now you need to. have a good 20 lbs! It sounds crazy, but it’s true. That’s why it needs to be a plan from the long run. We’ll get it right one day, but he thought he’d win and has kept moving forward ever since. “

In viewing the Deauville Legend as the kind to continue to thrive in 2023, Ferguson had GI King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Diamond S in mind.

“I really think he could be a Group 1 horse,” he said. “A lot of the mile and a half in the UK and Ireland have the potential to retire and I think he can be a force to be reckoned with. He’s still racing lightly, and already has a good amount of money, mentally. For what I consider a hot horse, you wouldn’t even notice him in the Melbourne Cup preliminary round. He’ll be resting comfortably for now but it looks like the sort of thing could go [G1] Sheema Classic. “

For the immediate business at hand, Ferguson thought enough about Mise En Scene to start her campaign in the G1 Irish 1000 Guineas. Disappointingly there, she made a promising comeback at Sandown in August and was then only spotted in a photo during a Yarmouth-listed race last time.

Ferguson admitted: “Things didn’t really go well for her at the start of the season. “She needed a little bit of rallying behind Ireland, which wasn’t quite right, so we knocked her out and she came back really well: she was going strong at Sandown, and I think she’s gone. very unlucky in Yarmouth.

“Experience ended here last year [beaten four lengths in the GI Juvenile Fillies’ Turf at Del Mar] definitely helped: she’s really grown up, she’s circling around here like a pony. I feel we have put her completely in her condition right now. Regardless of the odds, I think she’s going to run a very big race. That’s a big question, she’s an outsider for a reason, but I don’t think running like that. “

After coming back from this incredible adventure, which could almost be named “Around the World in 80 Hours,” Ferguson will go to great lengths to get a string of about 75 men geared up for the first campaign. out of the courtyard of Kremlin Cottage, where Hugo Palmer was formerly.

Ferguson said: “Obviously very interesting. “We have worked really hard on the sale and I hope it pays off, we have so many adorable chicks and are supported by some amazing owners. Yes, pretty good stats from the team [2020] old fish. But I have a good team at home, helping us with training and clear buying and selling is also important, between my father and I and people like Mark McStay. And then we have Qatar [Racing] please send us Mise En Scene. So it was a great team effort. It feels like we’re getting there. If we continue to have leaders in meetings like this, then hopefully we will also have big winners.”

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