Thoroughbred breeding is not an exact science. Although one might think that predicting Gospel Choir – a son of one of the world’s best stallions out of a mare who was a Group 1 winner – was sure to be a top class horse, one only needs look at the modest achievements of Chorist’s three previous foals to realise that he was by no means certain to excel on the racecourse.
However, Gospel Choir has proved himself worthy of his parentage, perhaps partly because of a patient approach of her trainer and owner-breeder, who were prepared to see him race just five times before the summer of his four-year-old season.
Unbeaten in his first three 2012 starts – including two in handicap company – injury then intervened and it was not until September 2013 that he enjoyed his fourth career success, in a handicap at Goodwood.
Trainer Sir Michael Stoute then saw fit to step him up to Group 3 company, but his season ended on a low note (possibly as a result of too much juice in the ground) when he finished fifth of seven in the Cumberland Lodge Stakes at Ascot.
After a highly promising 2014 pipe-opener, when beaten little more than two lengths in the Group 3 Earl Of Sefton Stakes over an inadequate nine furlongs, he finally managed to start fulfilling his potential with a pair of Group 2 successes.
The first was a comfortable score in the Qatar Bloodstock Jockey Club Stakes and he followed up in his QIPCO British Champions Series debut – the Sky Bet Yorkshire Cup – when denying the late thrust of Tac de Boistron by a neck.
Gospel Choir won a Listed race at Newmarket on his return in 2015 and then ran well in a group three at the same track, finishing a close third to Big Orange. Runner-up at Windsor next time, he finished his campaign with a sixth in the Irish St Leger.