Decorated Knight wins the Irish Champion Stakes

Decorated Knight swoops to conquer

Homebred Decorated Knight turned in a tremendous performance to win the Group 1 Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown on Saturday, swooping from the back of the field to win in impressive style.

In an excellent training performance by Roger Charlton and his team, it was Decorated Knight’s third Group 1 win of the year following his earlier victories in the Tattersalls Gold Cup at the Curragh and Jebel Hatta at Meydan. He also ran second in the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot.

Once again ridden by his usual partner Andrea Atzeni, Decorated Knight was settled at the rear of the field as Eminent bowled along in front. Still last turning for home, Decorated Knight produced a powerful kick to swoop down the outside and win going away with star three-year-olds Eminent and Churchill left for dead. Fellow Group 1 winners Zhukova and The Grey Gatsby were also well beaten.

“Ireland has been great for me,” Roger Charlton told the Racing Post. “I can’t believe it. I didn’t come here thinking we were going to win a race like that. We rode for luck. We dropped in and felt they’d go very quick, and his finish down the outside was amazing, absolutely amazing.”

He continued: “He is a mile-and-a-quarter horse so the Champion Stakes at Ascot would have to be on the agenda. But let’s enjoy this and wait and see.

“We were second here with Al Kazeem but I didn’t think we had a winning chance today, but there you go. That’s racing.”

He added: “Andrea is very good. He is very confident and he rides a lot of good horses, which helps. I thought he gave the horse a wonderful ride.

“He said he had them covered. He said the horse was very relaxed and had an amazing turn of foot, quickening right to the line.

“There was nothing flukey about it. He has been a bit unlucky in his last couple of races.

“He hated the ground at York, which I couldn’t blame him for. He got bashed about at Sandown in the Eclipse, and he ran very well at Royal Ascot.

“He’s tough. He was on the go in April and March, so to keep going all season is a tribute to the horse.

“I was half-thinking it might be his last race but we’ll have to look at the Champion Stakes at Ascot.”

Andrea Atzeni added: “The plan was to give him a chance and ride him to run well and pick up the pieces. Luckily he picked up really well and we picked them all up.

“I’ve been lucky to ride some good horses in my career but this is one of my special days. I didn’t expect to win, so I went out there with no pressure.

“We knew there’d be a lot of pace in the race so I put him to sleep and rode him to finish well, which he did. He’s produced the goods.”

Decorated Knight is the first foal out of our Storm Cat mare Pearling, who was purchased by Tony Nerses to join the stud in 2011.

Pearling boasts a pedigree out of the top drawer as a sister to champion Giant’s Causeway, subsequently a multiple champion sire for Coolmore in America, and the Group 2-placed Freud, himself a leading sire in New York.

Pearling with Decorated Knight as a foal.

Another sibling, Cherry Hinton Stakes winner You’resothrilling, is the dam of top miler Gleneagles, Irish 1,000 Guineas heroine Marvellous and the Group 3-winning juveniles Happily and Coolmore.

Pearling is also a sister to stakes-producing sires Tumblebrutus and Roar Of The Tiger and out of the remarkable mare Mariah’s Storm. The daughter of Rahy won ten of 16 starts including the Grade 2 Arlington-Washington Lassie Stakes, Grade 2 Breeders’ Cup Stakes and a quartet of Grade 3 events. A remarkably tough mare, eight of her wins were secured after she fractured a cannon bone when failing to finish in the Alcibiades Stakes as a two-year-old.

It is also the immediate family of Classic-placed colt Storm The Stars.

This is a family that goes back to Henry Isaac’s 1948 Grade 3 Colonial Handicap and Prioress Stakes heroine Itsabet. Later a multiple stakes producer for Isaac’s Brookfield Farm, the daughter of Heliopolis became the fifth dam of Mariah’s Storm and Hasili, another great matriarch of the sport who provided Juddmonte with three Group 1-producing stallions in Dansili, Cacique and Champs Elysees as well as the brilliant fillies Banks Hill, herself dam of the exciting young South African stallion Ideal World, and Heat Haze.

Pearling’s three-year-old, the Frankel filly Ambrosia, has been placed this year for Roger Varian. Unfortunately her 2015 Dansili colt died as a yearling.

Pearling is back in foal to Galileo for 2017.

Decorated Knight almost died at birth and it’s a credit to all the team at Blue Diamond Stud that Saleh Al Homaizi and Imad Al Sagar are celebrating this tough multiple Group 1 winner today.

The colt now boasts over £1.3 million in earnings.


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