Duke earns Cecil comparison after scuppering Queen's party
Rod Millman joked his chances of getting a knighthood had disappeared down the drain after 100-1 shot Duke Of Bronte stopped the Queen having a famous double at Newbury on Saturday, but the trainer is hoping the success was not a flash in the pan as he drew comparisons between his shock winner and former stable star Sergeant Cecil.
Ridden by Ryan Tate, Duke Of Bronte – a Mount Nelson half-brother to stamina-packed former Millman inmate Taws – was slowly into stride in division two of the mile maiden but made headway three out before powering home to repel Musical Terms.
The three-year-old had finished well down the field in his previous two outings, starting at 66-1 and 100-1.
"No, the money wasn't down, but joking aside I have several owners who follow our horses blindly," said Millman. "Some of them did have a couple of quid each-way for a bit of fun, but they back every runner I have.
"I didn't think he'd be forward enough to win a race like that and he almost looks like a bumper horse. He's a nice horse and don't forget he's very well bred. Taws was from a good family, an Aga Khan family, but I'd have said he was a bit backward and not quite ready for a race like that.
"He's a nice horse, but we don't know what we'll do next and will wait to see what the handicapper does on Tuesday.
"How he'd run before we'd have been looking for a mark in the 60s, but I think that's a very hard race to assess.
"The favourite [Dhalam] looked like he might have gone wrong approaching the line and all the others hadn't ran before so it's very hard to evaluate."
Millman, who has a team of 33 horses just off the M5 not far from Tiverton, sprang to prominence because of his handling of Sergeant Cecil, who won the Northumberland Plate, Ebor and Cesarewitch in 2005 before graduating to Group 1 glory in the Prix du Cadran the following year.
"Duke Of Bronte is a work in progress and you'd like to think he'd be a nice stayer – Sergeant Cecil never came into his own until he was six," added Millman, who will aim for another Northumberland Plate with Champagne Champ, who was second at Newbury on Friday.
"I remember winning a race with Sergeant Cecil as a five-year-old and thinking, 'He's going to be hard to place now!' Some of these horses are just a bit slow maturing."
Pictures of the Queen celebrating Call To Mind's win shot right around the globe, but Millman was not sorry he had scuppered the double.
He said: "I've finished second to her several times in the past so it was a bit of a change around, but it was lovely to see her win the other race.
"What other sport or lifestyle could you be involved in and be so close to royalty?"
100-1 winners or bigger in Britain (Flat turf, last five years)
Date Horse Course SP
April 22, 2017 Duke Of Bronte, Newbury 100-1
May 19, 2014 Cool Music, Redcar 100-1
April 18, 2014 Champagne Rules, Pontefract 100-1
September 12, 2013 Morning Post, Doncaster 100-1
September 19, 2012 Semayyel, Yarmouth 125-1
July 11, 2012 Nadema Rose, Yarmouth 100-1
May 2, 2012 Lastchancelucas Pontefract 100-1