Norfolk Stakes 2012 

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Reckless Abandon Steers an Erratic Path to Norfolk Glory

1 Reckless Abandon 4/1
2 Gale Force Ten 8/1
3 Ian's Dream 16/1
NR: Complicator
11 ran Distances: ¾l, ¾l, hd
TIME 1m 1.41s (slow by 1.81s)

Reckless Abandon, winner of the Norfolk Stakes, gave trainer Clive Cox his third Royal Ascot success, after New Seeker in the 2003 Britannia Handicap and 2005 Royal Hunt Cup.

Reckless Abandon
© Caroline Norris

Reckless Abandon

The two-year-old, though, won despite rather than because of the course he took, veering left-handed towards the stands’ rail through the final furlong.

Cox, based near Hungerford, put the colt’s wayward path down to inexperience. “He is still quite raw and green,” he said, “and we haven’t particularly buzzed him up to be here and I’m sure the quirk is nothing we can’t iron out.

“At home he’s uncomplicated and in an ideal world and with normal spring weather he would have had another run to give him experience. He’s still developing and although he knew enough to get the job done first time out he wouldn’t have been ready for much at this sort of level until now.”

Reckless Abandon, by US sire Exchange Rate, cost £22,000 as a yearling at Doncaster, compared with the £280,000 of the Norfolk Stakes runner-up Gale Force Ten. “He caught my eye because he was very athletic,” said Cox. “He’s not the biggest in the world but it’s not the size of the dog in the fight, is it? He’s clearly got an engine and a big heart to match.”

The colt’s target was always going to be the five-furlong Norforlk Stakes rather than the six-furlong Coventry Stakes. “I’m sure he’ll get six in time,” said Cox, “but he’s got so much speed we wanted to stick at five for the moment. We’ll take it a step at a time but so far it’s all working out as we planned.”

Jockey Adam Kirby was celebrating a first Royal Ascot success after winning the opening Norfolk Stakes aboard the Clive Cox-trained Reckless Abandon.

The juvenile veered left in the closing change but still held on to score by three-quarters of a length.

“I thought we came here with a great chance and it’s fantastic to have actually done it,” said Kirby.

“I knew Reckless Abandon would begin to wander around because I could feel it and he did it last time as well. I gave him a click and I had my stick in my left to keep him away from the crowd. However, when I went for him he went to his left straightaway, but he is still a big baby and is very special. He has heaps of ability.

“It’s means a lot to have a winner here and I thought he was coming here with a big chance and now he has won I’m delighted.”


Norfolk Stakes (Group 2)
£75,000 added, 2yo only, 5f, Class 1
11 runners (NR Complicator)
Going: Good to Soft

Starting Price
Beaten Distance
Reckless Abandon
C G Cox
A Kirby
9st 1lbs
4 - 1
Gale Force Ten
A P O'Brien
J P O'Brien
9st 1lbs
8 - 1
3/4 length
Ian's Dream
J Noseda
L Dettori
9st 1lbs
16 - 1
3/4 length
R Varian
N Callan
9st 1lbs
14 - 1
T D Barron
J P Murtagh
9st 1lbs
5 - 1
3/4 length
Cay Verde
M R Channon
Craig A Williams
9st 1lbs
11 - 4
1/2 length
Ocean Applause
J Ryan
B Doyle
9st 1lbs
100 - 1
2 1/2 lengths
Mister Marc
R Hannon
R L Moore
9st 1lbs
7 - 1
2 3/4 lengths
Storm Moon
M Johnston
S De Sousa
9st 1lbs
25 - 1
R Hannon
R Hughes
9st 1lbs
12 - 1
1 3/4 length
Jubilee Brig
G L Moore
T P Queally
9st 1lbs
33 - 1
3 3/4 lengths
A J McCabe
I Poullis
9st 1lbs


Gale Force Ten
© Caroline Norris

Gale Force Ten


A star at the 2011 yearling sales became a key player in today’s opening Norfolk Stakes.

Gale Force Ten cost £280,000 when topping Doncaster’s Premier Sale, but he made that look value when finishing three-quarters of a length second to Reckless Abandon, and the same distance ahead of third-placed Ian’s Dream. Given the prices that overseas buyers will pay for black-type earning two-year-olds last year’s financial outlay by the Smith, Tabor and Magnier partnership is likely to be recouped if they ever opt to sell the son of Oasis Dream.

Aidan O’Brien, who trains Gale Force Ten, has entered the colt in a number of juvenile races, including the Railway Stakes at the Curragh on Saturday week, June 30. O’Brien said: “We’re pleased with that run. Anything is possible, but we have backed up Royal Ascot winners by taking in the Railway Stakes and we might do with this horse.”

Ian’s Dream is also entered in that Group Two contest, but as a twice-raced youngster who has yet to win he is unlikely to head to Ireland. Trainer Jeremy Noseda said: “I’m delighted. He would prefer faster ground, but I’m more than happy considering that was only the second run of his life.

“I would say we are now likely to look for a maiden race for him and then consider something like the Richmond Stakes at Glorious Goodwood.”

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