The next chapter of a remarkable horse-racing story began today.
And the significance of a racing debut for five-year-old mare Storm Patrol will be appreciated by many fans of the sport – in Sussex and far beyond.
Storm Patrol, owned by the nine-strong Storm Force Ten syndicate run by West Wittering’s Robin Smith and trained by his daughter Suzy, has become the first horse born to one-eyed superstar Material World to run a race.
She came second in the 4.15pm bumper – the 32Red British Stallion Studs EBF Mares’ Standard Open National Hunt Flat Race – at Huntingdon.
Material World was a horse of the people, winning numerous races and earning huge prize money despite only starting her career on the track after an accident that left her with one eye. She won on her debut, at Market Rasen in 2003, and claimed prize money in all bar two of her subsequent contests.
After she retired, Robin Smith set her up as a high-class brood mare. She has had five foals, but seven years after the dream of her breeding another generation of stars of the racecourse, the big moment has finally arrived for Storm Patrol, sired by the highly-regarded Shirocco.
With Tom O’Brien on board she ran a great race, going off at 7/2 and looking a likely winner at one stage before coming in two lengths behind the winner, the Alan King-trained My Khaleesi.
Robin Smith, who had half the syndicate with him at Huntingdon to see Storm Patrol’s debut, said: “We’re delighted. She was beaten only by a real high-quality mare who is apparently destined for a special mares’ race at Aintree.
“Tom O’Brien described Storm Patrol as a great mare with a great future.”
Speaking before her debut, he said connections had needed to be patient – Storm Patrol is now a five-year-old.
“You have to trust the trainer. Suzy first had Storm Patrol as a two-year-old and has done a lot of work to get her to the stage she is at now.
“She has seen her muscling up and observed how she works with other horses and judged that now was the right time to see how she got on in a race. She had numerous entries – which she went for depended on the going , the forecast and the opposition.”
Storm Patrol is the oldest of three Material World-Shirocco foals. It’s too early to say when and where her next race could be.
Three-year-old Rosie is likely to be sold, but Robin is looking for one more partner for a syndicate of six to oversee the other, promising two-year-old Ella, who will be featured in the Chichester Observer soon.
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