First-crop Starspangledbanner colt The Wow Signal (2c Starspangledbanner-Muravka, by High Chaparral) took Royal Ascot by storm on Tuesday when seeing off a 15-runner field in the G2 Coventry Stakes with ease.
The outstanding colt had been bought by Al Shaqab Racing privately after winning an Ayr maiden by nine lengths on his debut and after this Royal Ascot victory, his handler John Quinn declared the colt “the best I have trained”.
Malton-based Quinn was speaking after Frankie Dettori had ridden the colt to victory by one and three-quarter lengths and a short-head from Cappella Sansevero and Jungle Cat.
The Wow Signal was immediately given quotes of 16/1 for next year’s G1 2,000 Guineas by bookmakers.
The Starspangledbanner colt, who was bred by Liz Stack, was bought for £50,000 by Quinn at the Ascot Brightwells Breeze-Up Sale in April from Eddie O’Leary’s Lynn Lodge Stud.
Quinn said: “He worked on Saturday morning and I nearly crashed my 4 x 4 trying to keep up with him. We thought he was very good, but you need a top-class colt to win a Coventry. I’d have been disappointed if he wasn’t in the mix, but this is the Olympics so I’m over the moon.
“Six furlongs here is fine, but this fellow is crying out for seven furlongs and a mile. He will turn up in the Guineas next year with a good chance. He had to run and win today, but he’s very good and I’ll campaign him this season accordingly. I’ll talk to Harry Herbert [Al Shaqab’s racing advisor].
“I expected him to win at Ayr, but a horse he was working with at home was beaten at Hamilton and that just made us think. Then he won at Ayr and the form was franked and franked – you can’t fake that. I’m so, so pleased to have him and so pleased Harry Herbert bought him.
“Plenty of other people wanted to buy him to take him out of the yard, and I said to the owners, ‘God, if this one goes I might never get another as good’, but Harry matched the price and was the first to say he would leave him with me. I’m very grateful for that.”
Dettori praised The Wow Signal: “John was ultra-confident. The only question mark was that he wanted soft ground. Everything went to plan and I was amazed he kept going to the line. He showed tremendous stamina and character. He stuck it out well on the ground. I got to the furlong marker and I saw a couple of heads on my left but when I gave him a crack he did in fairness stay on.”