4 b f Pivotal – Maycocks Bay (Muharram (USA)); Form: 1/411123-1
Owner: Lady Bamford; Trainer: Michael Bell; Breeder: Lady Bamford; Jockey: Jamie Spencer
The homebred Sariska is a half-sister to Gull Wing, winner of the Listed Further Flight Stakes over a mile and three quarters at Nottingham in 2008.
The Pivotal filly enjoyed a successful start to her career at Newmarket in November, 2008, defeating 16 rivals to land a seven-furlong Newmarket maiden. Sariska’s three-year-old career commenced at Newbury in April, 2009, when she stayed on nicely to finish fourth of 16 to Lahaleeb in the Group Three Dubai Duty Free Stakes, again over seven furlongs.
Sariska relished the extra distance of the Group Three Musidora Stakes at York on her next here. The filly took the lead with two furlongs of the mile and a quarter contest remaining, and stayed on strongly to register a three and three-quarter-length verdict over Star Ruby.
That success prompted Sariska’s elevation to favouritism for the Investec Oaks and she duly justified her position at the head of the market with a battling head victory over the subsequent Breeders’ Cup heroine Midday (pictured).
If her Epsom Downs victory had been hard won, her following success in the Darley Irish Oaks was the total opposite as she won easily. Although the official winning distances was three lengths, she had any amount in hand over the runner-up Roses For The Lady with Midday back in third.
Her next appearance came at York in August, when she started a warm 4/11 favourite for the Group One Yorkshire Oaks. However, she was unable to repeal the high-class Dar Re Mi and went down by three quarters of a length. A valid excuse for her slightly sub-standard performance subsequently emerged – Sariska was in season.
After some discussion among connections, her final race of the 2009 season was the Emirates Airline Champion Stakes at Newmarket in October. After being slightly tapped for toe, she stayed on resolutely to take third behind Twice Over.
Sariska returned to action for the 2010 campaign on 13 May in the Group Two totesport.com Middleton Stakes, when she put up a gutsy performance and again asserted her superiority over Midday.
Carole Bamford’s husband Sir Anthony is chairman of JCB, the Staffordshire construction equipment company founded by his father Joseph in 1945. The couple’s wealth was estimated at £950 million, putting them at 57th place in the 2010 Sunday Times Rich List.
Lady Bamford, a former air stewardess, is also a successful businesswoman in her own right. She founded Daylesford Organics at the family’s 1,500-acre estate near Stow-On-The-Wold and the company now has several shops elsewhere. The family also own the Bamford and Sons clothing stores. The socialite Bamfords, who were married in 1974 and count Prince Charles as a family friend and the likes of Kate Moss and Liz Hurley as customers, had Tony Blair and family to stay at their Barbados home although are long-term Conservative Party supporters.
Lady Bamford, who received an OBE in 2006 for her charity work for the NSPCC, has been one of the biggest domestic investors in breeding stock in recent years for her Daylesford Stud via the likes of Clara Bow (a 750,000gns purchase), Pink Cristal (720,000gns), Maid Of Killeen (650,000gns), Time Ahead (650,000gns), Sheppard’s Watch (425,000gns), Pilgrim Spirit (380,000gns) and L’Amour (350,000gns).
The Investec and Irish Oaks heroine Sariska, the best horse she has owned and bred, is out of Maycocks Bay, who was bought by her bloodstock advisor Hugo Lascelles for just 32,000 guineas as a yearling.
Lady Bamford’s current trainers are Michael Bell and Barry Hills while – with her daughter Alice – she also has jumpers with Henrietta Knight.
No previous Investec Coronation Cup victories
Born in Bristol on 10 October, 1960, Michael Bell caught the racing bug when at Stowe School, spending part of one holiday working for trainer Henry Candy, with whom his parents had horses. After school he prepared yearlings at the Haras d’Etreham in Normandy and then spent three years in the Life Guards, during which time he began riding as an amateur – winning five races, including aboard Ten Cherries at Sandown’s Grand Military meeting.
After the army, he spent two and a half years as assistant trainer to Mercy Rimell and three years in the same role with Paul Cole. In 1988, his final season with Cole, Pass The Peace – carrying the colours of Brian Bell, Michael’s father – won the Group One Cheveley Park Stakes at Newmarket. The Alzao filly, who had cost just 9,500 guineas as a yearling, provided Bell with his first winner as a trainer in the Fred Darling Stakes at Newbury on 14 April, 1989.
Since then his major successes include the 1994 Prix Morny at Deauville with Hoh Magic, the 1993 Italian 1,000 Guineas with Ancestral Dancer, the 1994 Mill Reef Stakes with Princely Hush, the 2001 Italian Oaks with Zanzibar, the 2002 Richmond Stakes at Goodwood with Revenue and the 2003 TNT July Stakes at Newmarket with Nevisian Lad.
However, his biggest success of all came with Motivator, successful in the 2004 Racing Post Trophy, who captured the following year’s Investec Derby at Epsom Downs.
In 2006, Red Evie recorded a magnificent seven-timer for the Bell stable, graduating from a Yarmouth maiden to the Group One Matron Stakes at Leopardstown and also won the 2007 Group One Lockinge Stakes. Last season he enjoyed further Classic success with the great filly Sariska landing the Investec Oaks and the Irish equivalent at the Curragh while Art Connoisseur won the Group One Golden Jubilee Stakes at Royal Ascot.
He currently has over 100 horses in training at his Fitzroy House Stables just off Newmarket High Street.
No previous Investec Coronation Cup runners
Jamie Spencer, who was born on 8 June, 1980, in Co Tipperary, sprang to prominence by winning the 1998 Irish 1,000 Guineas on the Tommy Stack-trained Tarascon at the age of 17 when apprenticed to Liam Browne, through whose hands the likes of Mick Kinane, Mark Dwyer, Tommy Carmody and Stephen Craine had also passed. He rode his first winner on Huncheon Chance for Ian Ferguson at Downpatrick on 11 May, 1996.
Spencer’s father George, who died when his son was only 12, sent out the one-eyed Winning Fair to win the Champion Hurdle at Cheltenham in 1963 and the family home was a farm next to Edward O’Grady’s Ballynonty stable so there was a special poignancy when Spencer survived a stewards’ enquiry to take the 2002 Weatherbys Champion Bumper at Cheltenham on the O’Grady-trained Pizarro.
Spencer was always more keen on riding than his studies when boarding at Kilkenny College and was best friends with James ‘Fozzy’ Stack, whose father Tommy trained Tarascon. Spencer was brought over to Britain by the Stack family friend, Barney Curley, to ride Magic Combination to win over hurdles at Kempton in January, 1999, but soon concentrated on the Flat.
He began a two-year contract with Luca Cumani in 2002, winning that season’s Singapore Cup on Endless Hall in May and the Irish 1,000 Guineas on Gossamer. Having been used as a second-string rider by both Godolphin and Aidan O’Brien, winning the 2003 St Leger on Brian Boru, he was signed up by the O’Brien team to ride as first-choice rider to replace Mick Kinane in 2004, a disappointing season by Ballydoyle’s high standards.
Spencer handed in his notice at Ballydoyle in 2005 and enjoyed a wonderful season as a freelance in England that year, being crowned champion jockey and enjoying Group One victories on the likes of David Junior and Goodricke. In 2006, he finished runner-up to Ryan Moore in the jockeys’ championship and enjoyed further success on David Junior in the Coral-Eclipse while in 2007 he shared the jockeys’ championship with Seb Sanders after a dramatic battle which went down to the final day of the season at Doncaster.
He had a wonderful 2009, partnering Sariska to victory in both the Investec Oaks (pictured) and the Irish Oaks.
Investec Coronation Cup record: 2002-4 Marienbard, 2004-5 Brian Boru