Sovereign Debt came to us when the late David "Dandy" Nicholls relinquished his trainers licence in March 2017. I was absolutely delighted to have him but did think to myself we might be "on a hiding to nothing" as Dandy had done so well with him and he joined me on the back of a £92k win in Doha! How was I going to do better than that?
Sov had finished 2nd in the big monied AW Mile Championship at Lingfield twice so we ran him over 1.2f at Kempton to qualify him. He ran a blinder that day under Andrew Mullen with no luck in running. Sadly Andrew was banned on the big day so Jimmy stepped up to the plate and gave Sov a lovely ride to win by a neck.
Sov came out of the race well and we entered in a G2 at Sandown. Our first group runner. I went with no expectations but the ground was riding slightly easier the given going, Jimmy back on board, they kicked over a furlong out, took a couple of lengths out of the field and were always in control.
Derby Day was next, again no expectations, we had a penalty for winning at Sandown so were giving weight all round. A great ride from Jimmy on a tricky track that he rarely visits, Sov came home by a neck.
The three wins on the bounce were fantastic, raised the profile of the yard massively, the press interest was huge too. After winning the Diomed at Epsom I had a little taste of what it was like to be Aidan O'Brien, surrounded by jounalists, microphones and cameras!
Sov continued to run well through last year and often found himself giving weight to young, up and coming rivals but was never disgraced and only finished out of the first 4 once.
Sov's finest hour this year was winning at York in June. The reception the local crowd gave him when he came into the winners enclosure was amazing.
Sov ran well at Epsom on Monday giving weight away all round but a decision was made this morning to retire him as his joints aren't what they used to be. He owes nobody a thing and deserves a long and happy retirement. For the time being he will stay here at Mowbray but he's such a fantastic looking horse with masses of presence it would be a shame if he wasnt seen out and about, maybe, in the showing world in future.
I've so many thank you's. Firstly thank you to owners Lady O'Reilly, her racing manager Ali, John Hames and Tommy Dorman for entrusting me with Sov in the first place. Vet Edmund Collins, who looked after Sov from the day Dandy bought him at the sales right through until making the decision to retire him this morning. The team on the yard especially Kate who looked after Sov last year, Emily this year and Jimmy for riding him so well. But mainly thank you to Sov for being so straight forward and trying so hard in his races. A lump in my throat as I write this - I've not seen many horses put their heads down and battle harder than Sov.