Why Redvers Forgave Conformation Issues to Buy Lion Of War for Just 7,000gns


Lion Of War as a yearling | Tattersalls


Lion Of War (GB) (Roaring Lion) became a TDN Rising Star after bolting up at Newcastle on Thursday but David Redvers, who signed for the colt on behalf of Qatar Racing for just 7,000gns, revealed how he called on the opinion of co-trainer Mark Johnston in a bid to ascertain if he would stand up to training or not. 

Redvers revealed he was surprised that Lion Of War was knocked down to him for just 7,000gns at Book 3 of the Tattersalls October Sale, however, he admitted that the colt's front leg was far from the prettiest, which may go some way to explaining the basement sum. 

But after getting the seal of approval from Johnston, Redvers was convinced Lion Of War was worth pursuing, and what a bargain he is turning out to be.

Redvers said, “Obviously he had the benefit of a previous outing but he has clearly surprised Charlie and Cieren [Fallon, jockey] by how much he has leapt forward from his debut win which is fantastic. He's bred to get 10 furlongs so, to be doing what he did today at Newcastle so well, it gives us great hope that we might have something a bit special.”

Lion Of War looked a colt of immense promise at Newcastle. His win was tinged in sadness, however, given the Qatar Racing team lost Roaring Lion prematurely due to colic in 2019. 

“It's well documented how ghastly the whole thing was when we lost Roaring Lion. From Sheikh Fahad down to the lad who looked after Roaring Lion, everyone adored the horse as he had such character,” Redvers said.

“You can see lots of him coming through in his stock and you can see lots of him in Lion Of War with the way that he gallops. When he pricked his ears in the last furlong or two as he was being let down, he looked exactly like his old man. It's obviously quite sad but we are equally blessed to have raced at least one good crop of Roaring Lions and, if it's not this fellow, there will be one in there who will replicate what he did or at least go close to it. He looks the best of them so far and it's just extraordinary that it happens to be from the cheapest purchase.”

Recalling Lion Of War as a yearling, Redvers said that it was the colt's front legs that put most people off. However, Johnston gave him the confidence to buy the horse and now stakes races await. 

He said, “It's really quite fascinating. From the side view, he was an absolute miller, a 150,000gns horse. But when he walked towards you, his front legs were not terribly pretty. 

“I asked Mark Johnston for his opinion as to whether he could train it and as you can imagine Mark said he most definitely could. 

“You could never have imagined that we would get him for that money and it was interesting that we were allowed to by the vendor and the opposition.”

Redvers added, “Conformationally, there was definitely a risk element but what's really fascinating is that Kevin Darley was in Mark's yesterday and took a head-on video of a horse. “We compared the videos to see how he has shaped up and it's amazing how his leg has straightened up. They are still not perfect knees but they are within the acceptable limit. 

“They are not slowing him down. I worked for Mark many moons ago and his words to me were, 'I would rather a Ferrari with worn tyres than a Mini Cooper with Pirellis.' We have had hundreds of horses in training over the years and the common denominator between the lame ones and the sound ones was rarely their front-leg conformation.”

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