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'Dayjur and Ajdal really caught my imagination when I was younger'

The Newmarket trainer picks his top speedsters

Robert Cowell: three stone lighter as he prepares for his second London Marathon
1 of 1

I just love the shape of sprinters. They’re burly, strong barrels of explosives. They tick my boxes, that’s the sort of horse I like, so picking a favourite is too difficult.

All of the Group 1 winners we’ve had are particularly dear to me and I could never separate them, so Prohibit, Goldream and Jwala are my personal favourites.

Jwala - Steve Drowne wins from Shea Shea - Frankie Dettori and Tickled Pink - Tom QueallyThe Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes (British Champions Series) (Group 1)York 23/8/2013©Pic Mark Cranham

The saddest case was poor old Jwala, whose life was cut short in Hong Kong when she was struck into and fell. I know she won a Nunthorpe, but she may have potentially won more, she was very useful and she had an amazing pedigree. She was by Oasis Dream and was a half-sister to Airwave, who won a Cheveley Park and has turned out to be a very good dam.

Back in the day, and I was talking to Willie Carson about him just the other day, Dayjur was a horse I thought was rather special. It’s going back a few years but he was phenomenal. He was a powerful-looking horse, very eyecatching, and of course what he produced on the track in that incredible 1990 season was just sensational.

It is so hard to be that dominant in sprint races because the margins are so small, but Dayjur seemed unbeatable. He won just about everything there was to win that year, going hard from the gate, and they could never get anywhere near him.

There have been so many brilliant performers, both here and abroad, but the other one who really caught my imagination when I was younger was Ajdal. He ran in two Guineas and the Derby and then Sir Michael Stoute worked his wonders on him and dropped him back to six furlongs and had him winning races like the July Cup and Sprint Cup. He was pretty amazing and a bit of a freak horse I guess, but that’s why I absolutely loved him. Those are the two who really stick in my mind.


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I just love the shape of sprinters. They’re burly, strong, barrels of explosives. They just tick my boxes - that’s the sort of horse I like
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