EUPHORIA IN WORD ASSOCIATIONS: Turf Talk – 19 February 2018

NASHWAN, elastic under Willie Carson.
NASHWAN, elastic under Willie Carson.
Nashwan poster.

A word association test is supposed to reveal one’s innermost thoughts. In something that might pass for a very hazy recollection of an education, a memory stirs of Carl Jung’s theories of personality being governed by associations.

―Tick‖ ―Tock‖. Well, yes. Or ―Tick‖ ―Flea‖ if you‘re a dog owner and dose them simultaneously. ―Lead‖ ―Follow‖. Identifying a submissive person are we? Or ―Lead‖ ―Collar‖ if you‘re that dog owner. ―Lap‖ ―Dancer‖ would be an impromptu sign of a misspent youth, or not only youth. ―Lap‖ ―Dog‖ and here we go again.

The same could be shown for horseracing folk who would like nothing more than to undertake a word association test and contort the process with racing responses to everyday words. ―Hill‖ ―Tattenham‖, ―Pocket‖ ―Power‖, ―Chair‖ ―16th‖, ―Start‖ ―Shambles‖.

Sorry about that last one but I watched a juvenile race start the other day – actually mostly a ―not start‖ situation – asking huge questions of the better behaved youngsters. That word just popped into my head when someone said ―Start‖.

―Favourite Racehorse‖ ―Nashwan‖. Did I say that? Can‘t be right. Being of a certain maturity, surely Mill House, Arkle, Mandarin, Desert Orchid the great hardy annuals or Dancer‘s Daughter or a beloved mare we bred, brought to South Africa, won with and bred winners from. Or, join the multitudes, Frankel.

But it was and is Nashwan. One sighting of the beauty of that stride was enough. It took place one October afternoon in 1988 at Ascot, back living in England after years abroad and lapping it all up. ―Lap‖…

A rich chestnut 2 year old went past me with such smoothness, such elasticity of stride as to epitomise the Wow Factor, winning the Listed event by several lengths, untroubled. More of a Derby horse than Guineas, you‘d think.

The winter was soon upon us and it was time for evenings by the fire naming yearlings rising 2. In 1988/9, it was still a year before Tim Berners-Lee would run the first http: communication in something he invented called the World Wide Web, so it was a case of sitting surrounded by
reference books, the Works of Shakespeare and of others playing a different version of word association.

The owners of the colt that finished 3rd to Nashwan at Ascot had done well. Five, I think it was, gentlemen had flown to Keeneland to club
together to buy to try to take on the Maktoums.

Their selection – to be trained by Guy Harwood of Dancing Brave fame – was by Alydar out of Careless Notion by Jester. In what I am afraid
was regarded as an aberration, he was sold at Keeneland with a name: My Friend Elvis. Dear oh Dear.

That soon got changed to Cacoethes, an obscure but lovely form of word association with his dam meaning ―an urge to do something inadvisable‖.
They were referring to their own splurge on a costly yearling.

Cacoethes, before Ascot, had won at Lingfield beating a Sheikh Mohammed owned favourite named Pirate Army. We‘re talking maroon jacket with white sleeves here. No Boys in Blue until 1992.

On the word association front, I named Pirate Army believe it or not. His sire Roberto has had a major influence in South Africa to the extent that
South Africa is a well of Roberto genes to a greater extent than elsewhere as mentioned in another Monday Column

Willie pushes Nashwan out.
Naswan wins the 2000 Guineas.
Naswan at Stud
Reproductino f Roy Miller’s picture of Nashwan and Cacoethes

The Dalham Hall management team offered a prize to any employee coming up with a name for their colt by Roberto out of Wac. If you knew two random facts, there was a kind of obvious suggestion.
―WAC‖ = Women‘s Army Corps as were Wrens Wacs and Wafs the others being sea- or airborne so there‘s the Army.

Roberto was bred and owned by John Galbreath who owned the Pittsburgh Pirates whose brilliant star through the 60s was Roberto Clemente, known
also for his charity missions to his native Puerto Rico on one of which he died in a ‗plane crash. Roberto was named for him. Hence Pirate Army. One
employee was the wife of our friend and Newmarket trainer Chris Wall, and you can guess the rest. She won.

Pirate Army was an early favourite for the 1989 Derby when thoughts of Nashwan were restricted to those who had seen that action at Ascot. But there was more…..Nashwan reportedly did a piece of work at home that had the dogs – them again – barking their heads off. Suddenly this was a Guineas horse backed in from 40/1 to very short and 3/1 favourite on the day. Nashwan means Euphoria and it was beginning to feel like it.

Winning the Guineas powerfully with Willie Carson easing him home comfortably clear of Exbourne and – Oh Yes! – Danehill, Nashwan set a record time but still looked more like a Derby horse. Trainer Major Dick Hern when asked about Epsom‘s difficult downhill sections remarked that ―Nashwan could probably gallop down the side of a house‖

His owner, always then shown simply as ―Hamdam Al Maktoum‖, was in between Al Bahathri and Salsabil, with plenty of others being driven home by Carson, the last of the great lightweights, and a great jockey full stop. When he gave Nashwan a backhander in the Epsom straight, the result was
nothing short of breathtaking. Cacoethes lost 2nd chasing Nashwan, leaving the 500/1 outsider Terimon to come through for 2nd 6 lengths adrift.

Have a look at this video of that Derby run at extreme pace start to finish 19 years earlier, Nijinsky had won both the 2,000 Guineas and Derby. Nashwan, Sea the Stars and Camelot are the only ones to have ANY number of breeding enthusiasts are aware of the fact that former US racer Royal Mo (photo) will be taking up stud duties in South Africa in 2018, but no senior bloodstock consultants are prepared to reveal
where he will stand, and one can only make so many phone calls at Vodacom‘s preposterous rates. Anyway, this well-bred horse is said to be en route to South Africa after spending 60 days in quarantine in the UK and the Royal Mo website tells:

A major ‗Classic‘ contender at 3yo in the USA in 2017, ROYAL MO won the Robert B‘ Lewis S.-G3 over 8½ fl (1700m) and ran a close 3rd in the Santa Anita Derby- G1, before injury prevented him from running in the Preakness S-G1. From the second crop of the sensational UNCLE MO – th breathtaking, unbeaten Champion 2yo of 2010 whose first crop smashed all kinds of records with an incredible 24 individual SWs (to date including Champion 2yo and Kentucky Derby-G1 winner NYQUIST. ROYAL MO‘s multiple Stakes Producing dam is by Champion Sire SAINT BALLADO out of the renowned turf ‗millionairess‘ IRISH LINNET, a multiple Graded SW of 19 races and the only known race-mare to have won the same Stakes race for 5 consecutive years!

*We have established that an announcement on where Royal Mo will stand, will be made on the Breeding To Win Show (#239 DSTV), on Sunday.

done the same since. Only Camelot tried for Nijinksy‘s Triple Crown but did not win the St Leger. Nashwan powered up the Sandown hill to beat champions Indian Skimmer and Warning in the 2000 metres Group 1 Eclipse as well as pacemaker Opening Verse, later a Breeders Cup
Winner, then took the King George and Queen Elizabeth Diamond Stakes (2400m) – ranked then and now in the top few ratings races in the world
– starting 2/9 favourite but pushed hard by Cacoethes. Probably bottomed out, Nashwan ran listlessly in the Prix Niel, a customary Arc Trial, and that was that.

A decent stallion if not a great one – double King George winner Swain was his best – the son of Blushing Groom died young at 16 but it was his female genes – being out of Height of Fashion, homebred by The Queen and inexplicably sold to Shadwell – that defined him. He was half-brother to stallions Unfuwain and Nayev amongst others. When we were able to buy a good mare with top pedigrees then at Keeneland and the dollar 2/1 to the pound, we bought a mare by Nashwan.

The word association when the man said ―Sold‖ was ―Euphoria‖. – tt.