Donjuan Triumphant’s victory at Ascot on Champions Day capped a special weekend for King Power Racing.
The triumph in the British Champions Sprint came a year on from the death of Vichai Srivaddhanaprabha, owner of Leicester City and founder of King Power Racing – and Donjuant Triumphant was the first horse bought to run in the blue and white silks.
With a deal arranged for him to stand at stud in France next year, it appeared he was going to end his career without a Group One win to his name, but Silvestre de Sousa overcame trouble in running to beat One Master by a length.
“He’d always threatened to win a big one, having been placed in many of them, but we thought it might not happen,” said King Power’s racing manager Alastair Donald.
“He’d have been an unlucky loser, because he got into all sorts of trouble, but he signed off in style.
“It’s not just that he handles heavy ground – he can actually quicken up in it, which is unusual. He’s been a great old servant.
“It was an important weekend for the family. There was a big memorial in Leicester – they won the match, and then they won at Ascot, so it was a special weekend.”
In the same silks, and also for trainer Andrew Balding, there was a very promising run later on the stellar card too from Fox Tal – who lost third in the Champion Stakes only in a photo finish.
“Andrew has always held him in very high regard, but unfortunately he had some niggles early season,” said Donald.
“He justified being supplemented -it was just annoying he was caught for third. He’s certainly a horse we’ve got high hopes for next year.
“That’ll be it for this season, but there’s lots to look forward to next year. He certainly takes your eye. He’s got a slightly awkward head carriage, but it definitely doesn’t stop him.”
Happy Power was another to run well for King Power on Saturday when sixth of 16 in the Queen Elizabeth II Stakes.
Donald said: “The ground was probably just a bit too soft for Happy Power. He does like give in the ground, but Silvestre felt it was probably just too soft for him.
“It will be interesting to see him back at seven furlongs as well. We’re undecided whether he’s best at seven furlongs or a mile – either way, I think he’ll be a genuine Group One horse next year.”