Middleham Park Racing owners will experience one of the most unique spectacles in the sport when they travel to the famous White Turf meeting in Switzerland to watch Mordred take on the Grosser Preis von St Moritz.
The Milton Harris-trained gelding has already triumphed twice on the snow, firstly taking the Grosser Preis Longines on February 6, a race trimmed down to just four furlongs after doubts about the safety of the track in the back straight.
Having only run over a minimal distance, Harris then adapted his plans slightly and entered the six-year-old in the Grosser Preis Longines on Sunday and the horse duly won by three-quarters of a length under Sibylle Vogt.
The Swiss spell will come to a climax this weekend when Mordred lines up for the Grosser Preis von St Moritz, a race worth the equivalent of £80,000 and one that will be witnessed by a group of travelling owners.
The foray has been the work of Harris, whose experience of the meeting has proved invaluable in allowing Middleham Park members to enjoy success on the frozen lake course.
“Milton takes all the credit for this,” said Tim Palin, director of racing for Middleham Park.
“He sourced the horse, he bought the horse with these races in mind and next week’s big prize is worth 100,000 Swiss francs.
“It was his plan, he felt the horse would be perfectly suited to these kind of conditions and he’s trained him to the minute since October, when he purchased him for 16,000 guineas at the horses-in-training sale.
“He’s orchestrated it brilliantly, the horse went out on the January 27, he ran his first race on February 6 and then ran yesterday (Sunday).
“There were health and safety concerns on the morning of the first race, so they reduced all the races that day. Our race was 1,800 metres down to 800 metres because they weren’t sure the back straight was safe.
“It turned out the race was only over four furlongs, but we managed to get the job done there and then yesterday, because he’d only run four furlongs, Milton felt that he only had a piece of work that day so we could probably get away with another race.”
Middleham Park are a leading name in racehorse syndication and have owned multiple Group One winners on the Flat and Graded performers over jumps, but the prospect of the White Turf proved particularly appealing and Mordred was an easy sell to members.
“For an ownership point of view, he was very popular,” Palin said.
“We’ve got a dozen owners going out on Saturday ready for Sunday, so it’s been really working towards a crescendo of excitement and involvement.
“It’s worked out so far, so good, and Milton says the hospitality there is like being treated like royalty.
“When we buy horses it can take weeks or months to syndicate them, but this horse was very popular from day one, simply because of this.
“It was an absolutely unique opportunity. Milton sent me a list of eight or nine horses and said ‘I think this will win the race or go very close in the race’ and that’s what made me choose him out of the horses he offered us.
“It was the ability to offer something unique. We’ve probably all read the press about the St Moritz White Turf racing, but to actually be involved in it, and successfully be involved in it, is the opportunity of a lifetime.
“We’re most grateful to Milton and we’re very grateful to our owners for jumping aboard and flying out to St Moritz.”