“George Washington”




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by Brian Halton

Pastel on Board

Approx 11 x 9in

Danehill – Bordighera

Trainer A P OêBrien

Owner Mrs John Magnier, Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith

Breeder Lael Stables

A £1.15 million son of Danehill and Bordighera, this brilliant half-brother to mutiple Group 1 winner Grandera ended the 2006 Flat Season as the winner of six of his ten racecourse outings, including four at Group One level. He made his debut at Newmarket in May 2005 when finishing a close up third over five furlongs but finished the remainder of his two year old campaign unbeaten on his next four outings.

It was no real surprise when OêBrien announced that his charge would not have a prep race for the 2000 Guineas as a three year old as the Master of Ballydoyle had already captured the first Classic of the season on three occasions with King Of Kings (1998), Rock Of Gibraltar (2002) and Footstepsinthesands (2005) all making winning seasonal debuts in the big race itself. On the day, George Washington started a heavily backed 6/4 favourite despite the fact that the stable did not appear to be firing on all cyclinders at the time but once again, this top class colt put up a supremely impressive performance. Travelling strongly under Kieren Fallon in midfield, George Washington surged to the front with a devastating turn of foot inside the two furlong marker and settled the issue in a matter of strides. At the post, he had two and a half lengths to spare over subsequent Epsom Derby winner and the previously unbeaten Sir Percy with Olympian Odyssey back in third spot. This was a brilliant performance although once again, the horseês quirky temperament came to the surface after the race as he steadfastly refused to enter the winnerês enclosure. Eventually, he relented after his trainer had taken him on a virtual tour of the enclosures.

The Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot was the horseês next assignment four weeks later where OêBrien promised we would see a different horse and once again he was proved correct. George Washington was simply awesome as he gained revenge on Araafa by a cosy length and a quarter having raced towards the rear of the field for much of the journey and there was no doubt that he was the best miler in the world on the evidence of this display. While it was generally expected he would round off his career in the Breeders Cup Mile event at Churchill Downs in early November, connections bravely decided to go for the Breeders Cup Classic race over ten furlongs on dirt. While he had never raced on a dirt surface before, it was probably the ten furlong trip that found him out as he had to settle for sixth place, seven lengths behind Invasor with the hot favourite, Benardini, in second place. George Washington was retired to stand at Coolmore Stud but due to fertility problems, it was announced that he would race on as a four year old with Holy Roman Emperor filling his place in the breeding shed.

Sadly, George Washington was fatally injured on his final outing of the 2007 season which came in the Breeders Cup Classic over ten furlongs at Monmouth Park in America.