Thursday, 14 December 2017

James Fanshawe: Just Champion

James Fanshawe is based at Pegasus Stables – formerly Falmouth Lodge, the stable yard built, but never used, by Victorian jockey Fred Archer – in Newmarket, Suffolk. He worked as assistant trainer to David Nicholson and Sir Michael Stoute before taking out a licence in his own right in 1990.

Fanshawe saddled his first winner, Black Sapphire, owned by Sheikh Mohammed and ridden by the late Walter Swinburn, in maiden stakes race at Salibsury in May that year. Less than two later, he’d not only saddled his first Group 1 winner, Environment Friend, in the Coral-Eclipse at Sandown but, from a handful of National Hunt horses, also won the Champion Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival with Royal Gait in 1992.

After a flying start to his training career, Fanshawe had to wait a few years for his next winner at the highest level, Invermark in the Prix du Cadran at Longchamp in 1998. However, in the interim, he saddled numerous winners at Listed and Pattern level, including Bishop of Cashel in the Criterion de Maisons-Laffite in 1994 and Wandering Star in the E.P. Taylor Stakes at Woodbine Park, Toronto, Canada in 1996.

Further Group 1 successes followed, with Arctic Owl in the Irish St. Leger at the Curragh in 2000 and Soviet Song – who, incidentally, beat subsequent Oaks winner Casual Look – in the Meon Valley Stud Fillies’ Mile at Ascot in 2002. Remarkably, Fanshawe also won the Champion Hurdle for a second time with Hors La Loi III in 2002.

In a dizzying season in 2004, Fanshawe saddled Soviet Song to win four more Group 1 races, including the Falmouth Stakes at Newmarket and the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood, and Frizzante in the Darley July Cup at Newmarket. Those wins, plus another 39 in total, catapulted his earnings to over £1 million for the season for the one, and only, time. Soviet Song was named Cartier Older Horse of the Year in 2004 and returned to the July Course in 2015 to win the Falmouth Stalkes for a second time.

On June 18, 2011, Fanshawe completed a notable Royal Ascot double, courtesy of Deacon Blues in the Wokingham Stakes and Society Rock in the Golden Jubilee Stakes just 35 minutes later. Deacon Blues remained unbeaten for the rest of the season, winning four Group races, including the Qipco British Champion Sprint Stakes at Ascot, while Society Rock went on to win the Betfred Sprint Cup at Haydock the following season.

More recently, Fanshawe has continued to enjoy high-profile successes at home and abroad. The Tin Man, for example, won the Qipco Champion Sprint Stakes in 2016 and the Diamond Jubilee Stakes in 2017. Owned by the Fred Archer Racing Partnership, the half-brother to Deacon Blues was named after the nickname by which Archer was known.

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