Good names make for good racehorses. Such is the old saying and in the case of a grey son of Mastercraftsman, the adage has been borne out.
Bred by Englishman Malcolm Parrish, who made his fortune on the continent out of carpet warehouses and is now domiciled in Monte Carlo, The Grey Gatsby went through the ring of French sales company Arqana twice, initially fetching €24,000 as a yearling in October 2012 and then, seven months later, fetching five times that amount.
He soon began to repay his purchase price, winning on his racecourse debut at York in July 2013. And, though he failed to get his head in front in three subsequent two-year-old starts, he ran creditably in Group company on each occasion.
His 2014 campaign began in April with a fine second place in the Group 3 Craven Stakes at Newmarket and, given that is the main trial for the QIPCO 2000 Guineas, unsurprisingly returned to Headquarters two and a half weeks later to contest the Classic.
A tenth-placed finish was initially viewed as a disappointment. But he was only six lengths behind the winner, Night of Thunder, and it proved to be a vintage renewal of the Guineas.
The Grey Gatsby then stepped up to a mile and a quarter for the first time in the Group 2 Dante Stakes at York and surprised many with a three-quarters-of-a-length victory over Arod.
He confirmed that was no fluke on his next start in the Prix du Jockey-Club (French Derby) when he put the best three-year-old colts in France to the sword with a commanding three-length triumph under Ryan Moore.
Returned to France for the Group 1 Grand Prix de Paris (over a mile and a half), torrential rain on race day proved his undoing as he could only plug on for sixth.
Back on his favoured fast surface and returned to his local course, York, where he had run so well on three previous visits, he showed his true colours in chasing home Australia in the Group 1 Juddmonte International.
Next time out in the Irish Champion Stakes he turned the tables on him, nailing him in the final strides by a neck.
In 2015, as a four-year-old, following two below-par efforts, he bounced back to form in the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot, being beaten a short head by Dermot Weld’s Free Eagle. He would have got up in another stride.
There were no excuses on his next start, when runner-up to Golden Horn in the Coral-Eclipse, and the consistent campaigner carried on his fine form in the Champions Series when finishing third behind Arabian Queen and old adversary Golden Horn in the Juddmonte International Stakes.
That was the fourth time he has been placed in a Series race, but he has yet to win one.
He finished a creditable fourth in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes on his return in 2016, when the softish ground was not in his favour. Then, upped to a mile and a half for only the second time in his career, he chased home Big Orange in the Princess of Wales’s Stakes at Newmarket.
The Grey Gatsby was below-par in the Juddmonte International Stakes and Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe but signed off for the year with a much better effort, when fifth to Almanzor in the QIPCO Champion Stakes.
In 2017 he will be trained by Weld, having been in the care of Kevin Ryan up to now.