- Sire-Dam -
Accidental Agent belied Eve Johnson Houghton’s fears that she was possibly “tilting at windmills” when gaining a thrilling win in the Queen Anne Stakes at Royal Ascot in 2018.
The four-year-old, who was bred by Johnson Houghton’s mother Gaie, was sent off at 33/1 winner but came late to beat the David O’Meara-trained Lord Glitters by half a length. He was a first Royal Ascot winner and a first Group One winner for Johnson Houghton as well as his jockey Charlie Bishop.
The trainer explained how she ended up with the horse. “My mum bred Accidental Agent – we have got the mare in the field – but nobody wanted to buy him and we bought him back for eight grand,” she said.
“He is the first foal out of the mare [Roodle], by Delegator. No one wanted him. It’s great – something unbelievably, ridiculously that I dreamt of. I can’t believe it has happened, and for it to happen for my Mum is incredible.”
She added: “He is named after my grandfather, John Goldsmith, who wrote the book [Accidental Agent: Behind Enemy Lines with the French Resistance] and was in the SOE [Special Operations Executive] and an incredibly brave man. He was a trainer as well.”
By all accounts, Accidental Agent takes plenty of getting ready and getting fit. He had finished third in a Listed race at Ascot on his return in May and then, next time, when sixth in the Group One Al Shaqab Lockinge Stakes had suffered an interrupted preparation. But at Ascot, he was in peak shape.
Accidental Agent travelled to France for the Prix de Haras de Fresnay-le-Buffard Jacques le Marois at Deauville on his next start but he was well below his best, beating only one of the 11 runners home. Johnson Houghton said later he returned with a bug, although he was again below his best in the Joel Stakes at Newmarket next time.
Before the 2019 campaign, he had surgery on a front ankle and his trainer was confident it had helped him. It certainly looked the case when he was a staying-on third to Mustashry on his return in the Lockinge.
He went off 14/1 to become the first back-to-back winner of the Queen Anne Stakes on his next start but disgraced himself, refusing to leave the stalls.
He has only shown brief flashes of his best since and last time was a well-held eleventh in the QIPCO-sponsored Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot on QIPCO British Champions Day.
Accidental Agent won four of his 11 races in his first two seasons, showing a liking for Ascot in the autumn of 2017 when landing an 18-runner handicap there before finishing fourth in the Balmoral Handicap on Champions Day.