'It's a fairytale' – glasses raised again as Toast Of New York wins on return
A World Cup dream is back on the cards for Sheikh Joaan after Toast Of New York made a fairytale return to the racecourse, some 1,130 days after his agonising defeat in the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita in November 2014.
Toast Of New York, bought by Al Shaqab after that famous defeat to Bayern, never made it back to the track after a tendon injury ruled him out of a tilt at the 2015 Dubai World Cup.
However, when demand ran out for his stallion services after he had covered only around 15 mares, connections concocted an ambitious plan to bring the six-year-old back to the racecourse.
That plan came to fruition at the rather unlikely venue of Lingfield on Wednesday, when the son of Thewayyouare, who looked magnificent in his coat, took on three rivals in a £19,000 class 2 conditions race.
Despite significant market weakness which led to him starting second favourite at 2-1, Frankie Dettori’s mount kept finding up the straight to fend off favourite Petite Jack by a length.
It might not have been the most authoritative return to action, given the significant class edge over his rivals on previous form, but Dettori has no doubts his Jamie Osborne-trained mount has a great deal of improvement in him.
Dettori said: "I was very pleased with the way Toast Of New York used both legs. Jamie's done a great job to get him into this shape first time out and he still feels heavy and rusty.
"I can't emphasise how brilliant everyone has been to get him back. He's only a 70 per cent horse at the moment but still won. It was a step forward and I think we can improve him a lot. After three years' out it was a great effort.”
All roads are now likely to head to a World Cup although which one – Pegasus or Dubai – remains to be seen.
Harry Herbert, racing manager for Al Shaqab, said: "It's a fairytale, without question.
“I think everyone involved feels relieved to see Toast Of New York back on a racecourse again, and winning.
"This is a phenomenal training performance from Jamie, and Jimmy McCarthy, who has ridden Toast Of New York in all of his work. It's been an incredibly patient journey and it's just so exciting.
"Jamie liked what he had seen in his work. It was clear the flame was still burning brightly, and we're thrilled with that because we know there's a lot more to come."
He continued: "He covered 15 or so mares in Doha and got ten in foal. There wasn't the support for him as a stallion and Duncan Moir, the veterinary surgeon who looks after Al Shaqab's horses, was responsible for telling us that the tendon injury he sustained wasn't that bad, so we decided to give it a go.
"He's done superbly, he's just improved and improved all the time, and we're delighted with that.
"We'll let the dust settle before we decide where to go. It would be great to go for something like the Pegasus World Cup. I know he doesn't have a spot yet but they tend to come up, or there's the Dubai World Cup.
"He was bought as a World Cup horse and, although it's taken longer than expected, he could still be one!”
Herbert added that Dettori would retain the mount on Toast Of New York going forward, though it is not known whether the jockey, who has enjoyed a stellar year in tandem with John Gosden, will continue to be retained by Al Shaqab in 2018.
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