Friday 6 March 2020

Do You Remember the Racehorse Named Provideo?

I guess we all have our favourite racehorse.

For those who love Cheltenham and the prestigious Gold Cup, you may be reminded of Desert Orchid. 

Perhaps you will never forget Vincent O'Brien's Nijinsky, who went on to not only win the Epsom Derby in 1970 and become just the 15th horse to win the Triple Crown (2,000 Guineas, Derby & St Leger).  

As a fan of two-year-old horse racing, I have many favourites including Frankel. However, there is something about sprinters that captures my mind, especially those who are prolific winners if not record breakers. 

I'm sure readers of a certain age will remember a horse trainer Bill O'Gorman. My brother and I got interested in two-year-old horse racing in the early 1980s when he along with many now forgot [retired] horse trainers were at their peak. 

O'Gorman was known for his ability to train two-year-olds and many sprinters. 

One horse that stands out of the crowd is Provideo who made his debut in 1984, when winning the Brocklesby Stakes in style, thrashing the opposition by four lengths. Little did we know then what an impressive juvenile this son of Godswalk would turn out to be. 

Provideo was owned and bred by Ahmed Foustock. He was meant to go to the sales but O'Gorman was kicked by another horse and unable to attend the sales so decided to keep Provideo and train him.

By all accounts, this brown colt himself was a difficult horse to handle. He hospitalised one stable lad who was unfamiliar to the horse and temperamental on course and always mounted on the track for fear of his unpredictable nature in the paddock. 

The good side of Provideo was that he loved to race and win. 

As it happens this speedy two-year-old wasn't just a robust type who loved his racing but a record-breaker. 

By today's standards, winning 16 races from 24 as a two-year-old seems unthinkable. It would be impossible with the penalty system in place for a juvenile to win perhaps more than five or six races in its formative season. 

Provideo set a 20th-century for a British-trained two-year-old. He was crowned British Horse of the Year 1984 and Timeform Horse of the Year (1984). 

Other two-year-olds to win multiple times include: 

Spindrifter, trained by Sir Mark Prescott, who achieved 13 wins from 19 starts at two in 1980.   

Timeless Times, trained by Bill O'Gorman, in the familiar silks of the Times of Wigan, achieved 16 wins from 21 runs in 1990.

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