Toast Of New York, rated among of the world’s best horses in 2014, made a winning return to action following a three-year layoff with a comfortable success in the 10-furlong £19,000 Betway Conditions Stakes (1.10pm) on Polytrack at Lingfield Park today, Wednesday, December 6.
The six-year-old was retired with a soft tissue injury in early 2015, having gone down by a nose to Bayern in the G1 Breeders’ Cup Classic on dirt at Santa Anita, USA, in November, 2014 – a performance that saw the son of Thewayyouare receive a rating of 124 in that year’s World’s Best Racehorse Rankings.
Toast Of New York initially took up stallion duties in Qatar but returned to Lambourn trainer Jamie Osborne in April this year in preparation for a surprise return to racing.
Sent to the front of the four runners by Frankie Dettori, Toast Of New York was headed by Mr Scaramanga with seven furlongs to race but regained the lead turning for home and stayed on well to beat 7/4 favourite Petite Jack (Archie Watson/Luke Morris) by a length in 2m 4.01s.
It was a fourth All-Weather win for the 2/1 chance, who also captured a pair of minor races on Polytrack at Wolverhampton in 2013 before going on to readily capture the G2 UAE Derby, run on Tapeta at Meydan, UAE, in March 2014.
Winning jockey Frankie Dettori commented: “I was very pleased with the way that Toast Of New York used both legs. Jamie has done a great job to get him into this shape first time out and he still feels heavy and rusty.
“I can’t emphasise how brilliant everyone has been to get him back. He is only a 70 per cent horse at the moment but still won. It was a step forward and I think that we can improve him a lot. After three years, it was a great effort.”
Harry Herbert, racing advisor to owner Al Shaqab Racing, said: “I think everyone involved feels relieved to see Toast Of New York back on a racecourse again and winning.
“This is a phenomenal training performance from Jamie and Jimmy McCarthy, who has ridden Toast Of New York in all of his work. It has been an incredibly patient journey and it is just so exciting.
“I think Jamie’s expectations were pretty high. He had liked what he had seen in Toast Of New York’s work and knew that the flame still burned pretty brightly.
“He is an entire horse – he covered 15 or so mares in Doha and got 10 in foal. There wasn’t the support for him as a stallion and Duncan Moir, the veterinary surgeon who looks after Al Shaqab’s horses, was responsible for telling us that the tendon injury he sustained wasn’t that bad.
“It’s not very often that you see an entire horse at his age racing and coming back from over 1,000 days off, so it is a remarkable effort.
“Frankie said that he is still very big and burly but he changed his leads well and I loved the way Frankie got him balanced in the straight and then was always going to win the race. It was a very sympathetic ride and I take my hat off to Jamie and the team – it was wonderful to see.
“It really is a fairy tale. Sheikh Joaan (bin Hamad Al Thani) was happy to let Toast Of New York go back into training and Khalifa Al Attiya, the general manager of Al Shaqab, and everyone was saying that we were going to do this but we were going to take our time.
“He was at Longholes Stud for a long time, with spa sessions galore, and then there were issues with him locking his stifle. Duncan Moir said that he could come through this as, the fitter he gets, the better he gets.
“I think we will see what the next stage is. We don’t have a slot for the Pegasus World Cup (G1, Gulfstream Park, USA, January 27) but those normally become available at some point. We will let the dust settle and have a good think about it.
“I am sure Sheikh Joaan would love to see him go for the Dubai World Cup (G1, Meydan, UAE, March 31) and that would be an obvious target. He was originally bought to go for that race – it has just taken a while to get there.”