July 8, 2022 - Newmarket, Race 1, Msw, GBP £15,000, 7.0F, .0000

Epictetus (Ire), C, 2, 2020 by Kingman (GB)

1st Dam: Thistle Bird (GB) (Hwt. Older Mare-Ire at 9.5-11f, G1SW-Ire, MGSW & G1SP-Eng, $577,634), by Selkirk
2nd Dam: Dolma (Fr), by Marchand de Sable
3rd Dam: Young Manila, by Manila

Owner: George Strawbridge
Breeder: George Strawbridge (Ire)
Trainer: John & Thady Gosden

George Strawbridge's 2-year-old colt Epictetus (Ire) (Kingman {GB}-Thistle Bird {GB}, by Selkirk) was the pick of a baker's dozen on breeding, but not so in the betting, for Friday's Weatherbys British EBF Maiden S. at Newmarket and made a mockery of 11-1 odds with a 'TDN Rising Star' display in a heat won last term by subsequent G1 Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere runner-up and G3 Jersey S. victor Noble Truth (Fr) (Kingman {GB}). The 2022 G1 Derby entry was swiftly into a comfortable rhythm behind the leaders and raced on the bridle through halfway in this seven-furlong contest. Making eyecatching headway under a motionless Martin Harley to ease ahead at the quarter-mile marker, he was given a shake of the reins when threatened approaching the final furlong and kept on powerfully up the hill to easily outpoint Leadman (GB) (Kingman {GB}) by 1 1/4 lengths in impressive fashion.

"He's done nothing at home, he's worked gently on the bridle with another horse and wasn't wound up in any way for the race," explained trainer John Gosden. "He was so sensible in the proceedings beforehand and in the race he did it all very professionally. He's not been on the grass for seven weeks, he's just been on the all-weather. Martin [Harley] gave him a lovely ride and I'm overjoyed. James Wigan bought the mare for Mr Strawbridge at the Rothschild dispersal and she was an exceptionally talented Group 1 winner that Roger [Charlton] trained. We'll go a step at a time and won't go jumping in the deep end. I think he'll be very comfortable over a mile, we'll go to a novice and then see where we go from there."

Epictetus is the fifth foal and winner for G1 Pretty Polly S. heroine Thistle Bird (GB) (Selkirk), herself a half-sister to dual Group 3-winning G1 Cantala S. second McCreery (GB) (Big Bad Bob {Ire}) out of the dual stakes-winning G1 Prix Maurice de Gheest third Dolma (Fr) (Marchand de Sable). Thistle Bird was a 750,000gns purchase, carrying the winner, at Tattersalls' 2019 December Mares fixture and has also produced Listed Radley S. victrix and G3 Fred Darling S. runner-up Jumbly (GB) (Gleneagles {Ire}) and a yearling colt by Lope De Vega (Ire). The May-foaled bay's stakes-placed third dam Young Manila (Manila) is kin to a trio of stakes performers headed by MGSW G2 Prix de Royallieu victrix Fabulous Hostess (Fabulous Dancer).

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