Gai Waterhouse & Adrian Bott Racing

One Breathtaking Run

Hampton Court is long gone from Tulloch Lodge. The pure bred stallion is now starting his stud career at Spendthrift Farm in Victoria. The son of Redoute’s Choice was a good horse on the track; good without being sensational but make no mistake, he has the blood running through his body, plus the natural athleticism that will see him being a star at stud. Sir Patrick Hogan will be the first to tell you that Zabeel only ever ran well once, while Zabeel’s dad the immortal Sir Tristram was ‘fairly’ performed on the track at best. Hampton Court was a middle distance horse and to get a horse to be consistent at races from 1600m – 2400m so early in their careers is something that has only ever really been done twice… by Tulloch and Kingston Town.

Hampton Court and his crowning glory

Yet in one great performance Hampton Court was able to show the racing world and indeed the breeding industry just what he was capable of. Yes he won the black-type Dulcify Quality, but it was in the 2014 Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes where Hampton Court demonstrated that his best was breathtakingly good and in this one run, the colt well and truly stamped his stud papers. Have a look…

Yes this was a stunning win over two very good Group 1 horses -- Sweynesse and First Seal. However what makes this win more remarkable is the time it was completed in. Hampton Court’s winning time for the 2000m was 2.00.30 which is the fastest time recorded for a 2000m race at Randwick since the race distances changed in 1979. Pre-1979 2000m races at Randwick (and everywhere else in Australia) were run and won over 10 furlongs. The distance of 10 furlongs is not quite 2000m and as such, track and race records these days are only relevant since 1979.

Eyes on the prize

There are two Group 1 races run and won over 2000m at Randwick every year; they are the Group 1 Spring Champion Stakes for the three-year-olds and the Group 1 Queen Elizabeth Stakes at WFA. Then at Group and Listed level there is the Frank Packer Plate, the Hill Stakes (recently moved from Rosehill), the JRA Plate, the Craven Plate, the Summer Cup and the Adrian Knox Stakes. Think about all the winners of these famous races over the years together with the countless other normal metropolitan races contested over 2000m at Randwick every year. No winner of any race, either Group, Listed or non-Black Type has ever scooted across the famous 2000m at Randwick quicker than Hampton Court did on 11 October 2014.

The Great Might And Power

The Queen Elizabeth has been won by the likes of It’s A Dundeel, More Joyous, Desert War, Grand Armee, Lonhro and Might And Power. Might And Power won the 1998 edition by ten lengths and his time on this day was almost five seconds slower then Hampton Court’s time in 2014. The best any of these champions could accomplish in terms of time was Grand Armee who won in a time of 2.02.60, which is still over two seconds slower than Hampton Court’s record.

The Spring Champion Stakes has been won by gun horses like It’s A Dundeel, Platinum Scissors for Gai, Tie The Knot and Kingston Town. Not even Kingston Town, in the first year of the new race distance (1979) could match Hampton Court’s record. Kingston Town won in a time of 2.03.40, but the best time from these great three-year-olds was It’s A Dundeel in 2012. The pint sized stallion edged past Proisir in a time of 2.02.60 or just under 2.5 seconds slower than Hampton Court’s record time.

The consistent mare Royal Descent won the Adrian Knox a few years ago in the good time of 2.04.10, Gai’s colt Adventurous won the Craven Plate in 1996 in a time of 2.02.00 and in the process managed to hold out Saintly who over the next six months became one of six horses to ever win the Cox Plate – Melbourne Cup double. Fat Al when he was unstoppable won the Frank Packer Plate in the time of 2.04.20. As you can see, in all these great races, no horse, no matter how good has got near Hampton Court’s 2014 Spring Champion Stakes winning time of 2.00.30.

And there we have it. At huge odds, against two really nice horses, on a dry and fast track, Hampton Court managed to put all his eggs in one basket. The colt produced the greatest win of his career and truly demonstrated what he was capable of. Gai concentrated all her efforts on getting Hampton Court to win this race knowing full well that a 2000m Group 1 was the colt’s best chance of winning at the top level. Gai got the colt to the race as fit as possible and Hampton Court did the rest. A win for the ages.



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