Archie Watson savours first Group success as he thinks big for Soldier's Call
Archie Watson enjoyed his first Group winner when Soldier's Call made all to land the Prix d'Arenberg at Chantilly on Saturday, but the ambitious trainer has bigger and better things in mind for the Royal Ascot ace, who could be in line for a crack at the Prix de l'Abbaye before a trip to the Breeders' Cup.
The Lambourn-based Watson began training just over two years ago with only three horses, but has made eyecatching progress since, this summer saddling his 100th winner along with a handful at Listed level.
He savoured his maiden Group strike after seeing Windsor Castle winner Soldier's Call, who runs in the familiar grey Clipper Logistics silks of Steve Parkin, repel fellow British raider Queen Of Bermuda to land the 5f Group 3 and first-place prize-money of £35,398.
WINNER Soldier’s Call shows blistering pace to win the Group 3 Prix D’Arenberg at Chantilly under Danny Tudhope to give us our first Group Winner! Well done to owners Clipper Logistics and to all the team at Saxon Gate! f @Tattersalls1766i #groupwinner #soldierscall pic.twitter.com/PXrA2ggtLU— Archie Watson Racing (@Archie_Watson) September 1, 2018
"It's massive and very special for us, but this horse is also very special," Watson said as he made his way back to the airport from Chantilly.
"He was our first Royal Ascot winner, now our first Group winner and he was one of the first horses we were sent by Steve Parkin, which was a big thing to send us a nice horse given we were only coming into our second full year of training. I'm delighted we've been able to repay that."
A son of Showcasing, Soldier's Call failed to justify favouritism in the Molecomb at Glorious Goodwood but bounced back in style under Danny Tudhope.
"This race was always in my mind depending on what happened in the Molecomb," Watson added.
"Things didn't go right for him at Goodwood and we felt it was important to make him a Group winner at two and he showed blistering pace today. He did it well and is a very quick and very good two-year-old. I'm told he did a very quick time."
The new $1 million Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf Sprint on November 2 has been ringed in red in Watson's diary for some time and he continued: "Churchill Downs is the main end-of-season plan. I'll have to see how he comes out of this and we'll consider the Flying Childers at Doncaster in two weeks.
"He and Shumookhi are in the Abbaye as well, where they'd get a big weight allowance from the older horses. We'll make a call in the next ten days or so, but I suspect it'll be one of those races before the Breeders' Cup for him."
Paddy Power make Soldier's Call 20-1 (from 25) for next year's Commonwealth Cup at Royal Ascot, while offering 33-1 for the King's Stand Stakes.
"It's probably too early to say, but he shows so much speed I'd be in no rush to step him up to six furlongs and if you asked me now I see him more as a King's Stand horse," Watson said.
Rock just misses out in Germany
The Hughie Morrison-trained Star Rock lost out by a head to Sky Full of Stars in the Group 2 T Von Zastrow Stutenpreis at Baden-Baden in Germany on Saturday. The Mark Johnston-trained Titi Makfi was a further three and a quarter lengths back in third.
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