John Quinn, trainer of Group 1 winner The Wow Signal, had reason to feel a little deflated after Sunday’s memorable action at Longchamp.
Undefeated leading into the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere, with victories in the Coventry Stakes and the Prix Morny, his stable star was sent off a short priced favourite. To say he ‘bombed’ is probably
a little unfair, but trailing in last of nine tells its own story.
The trainer felt the colt was “a bit flat, having been on the go for a long time.” The performance may have taken the gloss of a terrific flat season, but Quinn will have little time to dwell on such negatives as he steams into a winter jumps campaign.
His Bellwood Cottage Stables lie just outside Malton, North Yorkshire. Success may have been a little slow in coming, but over the past few years a stream of quality horses have been hitting major targets.
Dual purpose Blythe Knight brought Group 3 success at Epsom in 2007 and 2008. He was also good enough to win a Grade 2 over hurdles at Aintree. Countrywide Flame took the stables fortunes to another level in 2012 when winning the Triumph Hurdle at the Cheltenham Festival. He added a Fighting Fifth before a sensational third in the 2013 Champion Hurdle. His career cut short by injury, it was incredibly sad to hear that he was recently put to sleep after a degenerative bone disease.
Such setbacks are part and parcel of this great sport, and with flag bearers such as Cockney Sparrow and promising mare Aurore D’Estruval, the future looks bright for the Northern handler. But it’s with his juvenile hurdlers that Quinn appears to excel. The aforementioned Countrywide Flame set the trend, and last winter Rutherglen and Pearl Castle ran up a string of impressive wins. Both arrived at The Festival as serious contenders for the juvenile Grade 1.
Indeed with October barely under way, and with the taste of frog’s legs still lingering on the palate, Mr Gallivanter was trotting up at Kelso, adding a little Yin to Quinn’s Longchamp Yang. The racing Gods giveth and they taketh away. With further juveniles Bold Captain and French import L’Aigle Royal still to be unleashed, exciting times lie ahead.