Champions Day Contenders – Sheikhzayedroad
10 Oct 2016
We profile David Simcock's popular stayer as he prepares for a tilt at Champions Day glory
Since he made his debut in 2012, David Simcock’s stable star has taken him around the world, winning twice in Dubai and once in Canada, where he won his only Grade 1 win in Woodbine’s Northern Dancer Stakes. His earnings reach almost £800,000 in prize money and he has contended an impressive five QIPCO British Champions Series races. Now aged seven, he’s still in his prime, as he proved most recently when winning the 250th Doncaster Cup.
After another successful stint out in Dubai, Sheikhzayedroad only returned to British racetracks in June for the Royal meeting. Run at a muddling gallop, the Ascot Gold Cup was a messy race for many, including Sheikhzayedroad, who was hampered three furlongs from home. He recovered well for Martin Harley and stayed on dourly at the finish, despite hanging right as he often does. Order Of St George was an impressive winner with two time Sagaro Stakes winner Mizzou taking second.
Running in his second Goodwood Cup, Sheikhzayedroad once again ran a hugely honourable race. He chased the leaders early on, was switched right in the home straight and rallied gamely in the final furlong to finish third. He was no match for Big Orange, who won the race for the second year running. Pallasator finished second.
After running creditably all season, Sheikhzayedroad finally claimed a victory in dramatic style at Doncaster. Roger Charlton’s admirable stalwart Quest For More set the early fractions, and Sheikhzayedroad settled just behind the leaders. He joined Quest For More a furlong from home and the pair had a sustained battle until Harley’s mount just got up by a nose on the line. Trainer David Simcock praised his horse, stating: “He’s been consistent all his life”, “He’s tough, an old warrior and we absolutely love him to bits”.
Sheikhzayedroad and Quest For More could face off once more in the QIPCO British Champions Long Distance Cup. Order Of St George returns to the scene after winning the Ascot Gold Cup, and previous winner Forgotten Rules and St Leger heroine Simple Verse could be among the opposition.