'He Battled to Live': Craig Hails Gold Cup Hero Kyprios

Kyprios outguns Trawlerman for a second Gold Cup | Racingfotos

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ASCOT, UK — It takes a good one to overcome adversity, and there can be no argument brooked when it comes to the talent of Kyprios (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}). It is writ large in form figures which predominantly feature the figure 1. But those bare statistics frame a year-long gap in which the horse was missing in action, with those around him fearing the worst as he battled to overcome an infection in a hind joint which nearly claimed his life. 

“I saw him all the way through it and I didn't think he wouldn't be here now,” said Fiona Craig, bloodstock adviser to Kyprios's breeder and co-owner Eva Maria Bucher-Haefner of Moyglare Stud.

“That was down to Aidan [O'Brien] and the horse,” she added after collecting the Gold Cup from the King and Queen in company with the horse's co-owners in the Coolmore partnership. “The horse has a heart the size of a house and he battled to live. And Aidan never lost confidence. He said, 'Just give him time'.”

There is a school of thought that a mare's early foals are often her better ones, but Kyprios is the tenth offspring of Moyglare's great matriarch Polished Gem (Ire) (Danehill), who earned her foal-share to Galileo by producing the likes of Free Eagle (Ire) (High Chaparral {Ire}), a brilliant winner of the Prince of Wales's Stakes here nine years ago under the late Pat Smullen, and the Qipco British Champion Fillies and Mares Stakes winner Sapphire (Ire) (Medicean {GB}). All told, Polished Gem's brood features eight black-type horses, including Kyprios's full-sister, the dual Irish St Leger winner Search For A Song (Ire). 

“It wasn't a genius [idea] to send the mare to Galileo all those years ago,” Craig said. “This is what's meant to happen, they are meant to end up doing this, but so many times they don't. Ever so rarely you get one who comes up with the goods.”

On the track or off it, Kyprios has that quality that ranks highest of all: he's a battler. And it is easy to believe that his record, which reads 11 wins from 15 starts, still has chapters to be written. 

“He doesn't have that much mileage on the clock,” Craig added of the six-year-old. “He wasn't ridden until the beginning of July last year [after his injury] and then he ran [second] in the Irish St Leger, but he will always try. In October here last year the ground was horrible, and I think Trawlerman was just that bit fitter and he got the slip on him.”

Places were reversed back at Ascot on proper summer ground, with the admirable Trawlerman (GB) (Golden Horn {GB}), the winner of last year's Qipco British Champions Long Distance Cup, eventually having to bow down to Kyprios as he reclaimed the most important stayers' prize of them all.

Craig added, “There are lots of other people involved – all the guys on the farms and all the guys at the yard – and they actually deserve the most congratulations, particularly with Kyprios. They got him back.”

She also divulged that the Moyglare paddocks have recently welcomed the next generation of the family.

“The best thing of all is that 'Search' had a Baaeed filly this year – her first foal and it's a filly, so now we have a filly to go on with. Sapphire's gone now and obviously Polished Gem has gone, and there are bits and pieces in there, but it was great for her to have a filly.”

She continued, “[Search For A Song] was a bit of a head case. I saw Baaeed here at Ascot in the paddock and, while he was beautiful, and the most beautiful mover, he also seemed to have a very equable temperament, and I thought that whatever we started her with we had to send her something to mellow her.”

She added, “A filly out of 'Search' is a big deal, and now we go on, and we can dream about them in the future.”

This was another major win in what is transpiring to be a glorious week for the partners at Coolmore and Ballydoyle. A Gold Cup to add to Wednesday's Prince of Wales's Stakes victory from Auguste Rodin (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn}), which had followed the emergence of a potential St Leger contender in the Queen's Vase. Illinois (Ire) could just be the one to tip his illustrious late sire Galileo into a century of individual Group 1 winners later in the year. 

Meanwhile new benchmarks continue to be set by this formidable team. With Auguste Rodin, Aidan O'Brien notched his 400th Group or Grade 1 winners on the Flat. Kyprios began the next century. Ryan Moore started the week on 79 Royal Ascot winners. The gutsy victory of Port Fairy (Ire) (Australia {GB}) in the Ribblesdale pushed him past the record of Frankie Dettori, and before long the counter clicked round to 83. Moore's story, too, is far from fully written, particularly when he can count on a horse with the heart of Kyprios.

 

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