We will never know how good Novellist was but the chances are that he was one of the best we will ever see. He stopped the Ascot clock at 2.24.6 for the mile and a half. It was his only run in Britain. Talk about a fleeting visit.
True the ground was fast and with Universal and Ektihaam duelling up front the pace was brutal from the start. But in Trading Leather, Hillstar and Cirrus Des Aigles, Novellist had the winners of the Irish Derby, the King Edward VII and the Qipco Champion trailing in his wake. He had bitten two full seconds off Harbinger’s track record set in the same race exactly four years before. But he had done more than that. He had been the very symbol of the racehorse at its best.
Here was the thoroughbred at the peak of its powers. As a four year he was giving a full twelve pounds to both the second and third to allow for their comparative immaturity at only three. As a German bred he proclaimed the virtues of his homeland’s emphasis on stamina rather than precocity. As already a winner of eight of his ten races he demanded far more respect than we had given him. And don’t forget he was supposed to be better with the ground less quick.
But this was his day and our day. Form analysts can nit pick if they like but this was Britain’s showcase for midsummer with a dark bay powering clear under the Ascot sun. Horse racing should be judged on the big racetrack exam not on homework. That we were not expecting this result and that Novellist was not able to take the French finals in October’s Arc de Triomphe, should have nothing to do with it. Say what you see. For us last season, Novellist should top the charts.