Brave Tin Soldier (USA) - Mumtazah (AUS)
If pedigree has any influence in anointing royalty, it’s a fair bet that if there was an Equine Vatican, Brave Tin Soldier would be the Pope. At $500,000, his father Storm Cat, was the world’s most expensive stallion. His mother is a sister (by the great Mr Prospector,) to one of the most famous winners of the Kentucky Derby, while his grandmother was a sister (by the immortal Danzig,) to a winner of the second leg of the American Triple Crown. As if his lineage was not on its own enough of a recommendation, his princely looks were such that the world’s best judge paid a world record price for him when he was just a few months old.
While these credentials alone would’ve qualified him for higher ecumenical office, racing makes other demands of its pretenders before they aspire to its throne. The racecourse is the final testing ground, and whatever your origins, unless you make your muster, neither your family nor your worth count for anything.
It is one of the truisms of our sport that the encumbrance of a lofty sales price is a burden few horses can bear, yet this family has carried that impost with equanimity. At $4,5milion, his uncle Fusaichi Pegasus, was the world’s highest priced yearling of his year. At $3million, Brave Tin Soldier was the most costly foal of all time. The former was the best Classic horse of his generation, the latter chose the race that launched the Juvenile career of Sadler’s Wells to demonstrate his class in the company of the best two-year-olds in Ireland.
So much for Brave Tin Soldier’s ability, so much for his precocity, yet the good stud man, seeking the final reassurance in a budding stallion, will search for that one elusive thing no great horse can do without: courage. It’s enough to recall that he returned from a career-threatening fracture to post a record-breaking performance in Graded Stakes company, and that, as much as all the other credentials at his disposal, is why no fewer than 15 individual international agents, made him their first recommendation when our “SOS” went out to the market in the autumn of 2010.
All these things help when a new stallion is greeted by his first mates in his inaugural season indeed, they are the only things that count. Thereafter, all that matters in the full cycle of racing’s affairs, is how good his progeny are.
A week ago, a handsome colt called Split The Breeze, gave notice of his talents when he flattened a blue-blooded line-up at the first time of asking. He has bigger fish to fry as the season grows in stature. In the context of today’s story, it’s appropriate that the next episode in the Brave Tin Soldier fairy tale, is about a former jockey known to his fans as “Prince”. The racing world loved “Prince”, and the heartland in Durban loved him most of all. Yesterday Robbie Hill was back at his old hunting ground with a once-raced daughter of the “Pope”, who’d come from 13th at the “400” on debut to be third over the minimum trip. For a young lass from a Galileo mare, you’d expect Flying Cross to be more at home with a bit more ground to show off her attributes, and at 1450 metres this was the answer to the Prince’s prayers. There was one obstacle though among her adversaries, a five-to-ten shot with the champion, Anton Marcus in the wheelhouse.
Taking on quality horses as a maiden however, was a challenge her dad had managed under hands-and-heels, and this was a script that looked tailored for a repeat. In his customary style, jockey Marcus was quickly into the box seat travelling like an odds-on shot, while apprentice Dillon slotted our heroine in behind. When the sticks came out as they turned for home, the favourite quickly reached the head of affairs. Meanwhile, the bent hairpin of Flying Cross’ rider was so motionless it seemed he was on any errand except the winning of a horserace.
And then he squeezed the trigger. Whoosh! In a matter of strides, it was settled. By a growing 3¼ lengths. Simple as that.