The Fugue to leave a lasting memory
Whether it is her record breaking performance in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot this season, her remarkable display in victory in the Irish Champion Stakes, or her clear dominance in the Yorkshire Oaks last year, most will find it difficult to forget the frequent brilliance the John Gosden trained The Fugue showcased.
Following her recent sustained injury, The Fugue exits the scene with a career record of six wins and seven places from 17 starts. The four-time Group 1 winner raced at the highest level on her final 12 racecourse appearances and only finished out of the first three on three of those occasions.
When The Fugue made her debut in a seven furlong maiden at Newmarket in 2011, her odds of 14-1 didn’t overly suggest that she would become one of the highest rated mares’s that Gosden would have trained to date.
Earning just short of £2million in win and place prize-money throughout her career, the daughter of Dansili finished a length and a half in front on debut, in what was to be her only start outside of Group company.
A creditable fourth in the 1000 Guineas, wins in the Musidora Stakes at York and Nassau Stakes at Glorious Goodwood and luckless runs in the Investec Oaks and Breeder’s Cup Filly and Mare Turf, were to be the highlights of her three-year-old season.
Having impressively landed the Yorkshire Oaks on her third start as a four-year old, she followed up with a beneficial trip to Ireland, in the process providing three-time Group 1 winner Al Kazeem with a one and a quarter length defeat in the Irish Champion Stakes.
More heartache at the Breeder’s Cup followed when she was beaten half a length by Magician at Santa Anita and the following month was painfully denied again when three-quarters of a length behind Dominant in the Hong Kong Vase.
A disappointing effort in Dubai on her return this season was followed by arguably her most impressive appearance on a racecourse. The Fugue produced a minor shock in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot as she floored red-hot favourite Treve, in the process breaking the Ascot track record. Absolutely full of running at the two furlong pole, she stayed on strongly as Treve struggled to close the gap in finishing a never-nearer third, with Magician in the runner-up spot, beaten a length and three-quarters.
Then there was the Eclipse. With only 17 days turnaround after what appeared a hard race at Ascot, she was sent off a hot favourite to follow up her Ascot romp. Always towards the rear of the field, she never got involved and trailed home in sixth place. Initial reports were that she had returned home unscathed but it soon emerged that she suffered an injury to her near-fore, leaving no option but to retire the brilliant mare to the paddocks at the Lloyd-Webbers’ Watership Down Stud.
Often frustrating, there is no denying that The Fugue obtained a wealth of talent. Had things gone her way, four Group 1 wins could easily have been five or six. Racing as a whole will find it difficult to forget the brilliance she often brought to the track and she should be remembered for what she achieved, rather than what could have been.
Happy retirement to a high-class mare.
Jockey William Buick who partnered The Fugue in all but two of her races led the tributes to the wonderful mare: “When things fell right for her and she was on her A-game, she was very good.
“She should be remembered for those good wins she had, especially in the Prince of Wales’s (Stakes) this year. She broke the track record and beat world champion horses.
“She’s retiring on a huge high. I know things didn’t go right for her in the Eclipse and obviously the ground wasn’t right. She did something to herself in the race and it explains why she was so under par.
“She lost nothing in defeat and she’s filly that will always be close to my heart. She was all about pace – turn of foot, travel and pace.
“She always needed an uninterrupted run and sometimes things didn’t go her way. She was a beautiful filly to ride, but it was always a fine line between getting it very right and getting it wrong with her.
“On her day, she was awesome. She was only out of the first three four times. She ran in America and has taken me all over the world. I’ll never forget her, that’s for sure.”
Joseph Smyth 14/07/14
Photo – David Davies/PA Wire
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