Artorius does Perry proud

7 min read
An enthusiastic group of owners - who had travelled across the world to witness their horse run at one of the world's most prestigious race meetings - headed to the Royal Ascot parade ring on Saturday, ready to secure a position in front of the big screen. But Greg and Lisa Perry - breeders of Artorius (Flying Artie) were not amongst them.

Cover image courtesy of the Australian Turf Club

"We thought, well we've come all this way - we want to see the race live," an excited Greg Perry told TDN AusNZ. And so the couple found themselves in the owners' stand, right across from the winning post, in prime position to witness the dash up the famed track's straight.

The problem being of course, that there were 24 runners and with Artorius settling back and amongst them, he was not always easy to pick out. But Perry had his eyes on his horse when it mattered - "I saw that flash of red and yellow... what a thrill!"

Delighted that his horse had run well (exceptionally well, in fact) Perry did however have to wait for the judge to split the Australian and the American - the game mare Campanelle (Ire) (Kodiac {GB}) going to the line locked together.

As is the case when waiting for a photo finish decision, time seemed to slow down - the wait not made easy by a change in weather; the previous day's sunny and warm conditions replaced by a definite chill in the air and that biting English wind.

"It was freezing cold out there!" Perry laughed. "So we headed inside to wait for the result - and we waited, and waited."

Close finishes can be quite stressful but one thing a photo finish does provide is a multi-levelled thrill - that one felt when a much-loved horse makes a strong run and another when the camera provides that much-wanted result.

The official photo which saw Artorius dead-heat with Campanelle (Ire) for third place | Image courtesy of RaceTech

And so it was the case for the Perrys who could not be prouder of the effort of Artorius, the 3-year-old on his first international adventure, a horse who had not raced since his strong-finishing and close-up sixth in the G1 Newmarket H. in mid-March.

Always confident that his horse - whose racing style lends itself to bad luck stories - would run a great race at Ascot, Perry was happy when he saw the colt he describes as "a cool, laid-back dude" show just that bit of white between his legs as he paraded.

"Sam (Freedman) said something to me that I hadn't heard before - that he likes to see Artorius just that little bit hot in the yard, because then he knows that it is game on!"

Sam Freedman and Artorius in the build-up to Royal Ascot | Image courtesy of Racing Victoria

Not that Artorius in anyway gets over-excited and his temperament and attitude to racing places him in good stead not only for his racing career - but also for his future career as part of the high-quality Newgate Stud Farm roster.

And of course the Perrys will be amongst his supporters, excited to be there for that stage of his career as they have been for every step of his journey - and beyond.

Purchasing, via the late Steve Brem, the Group 1-placed Listed winner Grace And Power (USA) (More Than Ready {USA}) for US$700,000 (AU$1 million) at the 2009 Fasig-Tipton Kentucky November Selected Mixed Sale, Perry started to dream.

Already a successful breeder with his Group 1 tally including big wins by the likes of Atlantic Jewel (Fastnet Rock), Commanding Jewel (Commands) and this year's G1 Oakleigh Plate winner Marabi (I Am Invincible), Perry has a particular passion for well-related mares from whom he can establish a dynasty.

Ben Allen, Ciaron Maher, Marabi and her strapper with the Oakleigh Plate | Image courtesy of Bronwen Healy

"I really love to develop families," he enthused.

And it all started very well with Grace And Power whose first foal - who was sold to C. Lai for $250,000 at the 2013 Inglis Easter Yearling Sale - showed outstanding ability; Delectation (Shamardal {USA}) winning five races including the G1 Darley Classic (beaten none other than Chautauqua {Encosta De Lago}) and the G2 Royal Sovereign S.

However, things did not go to plan with foal number two, Grace And Power's filly by Redoute's Choice arriving several weeks early with expectations low from the start - "she was never going to make it to the track," Perry rued.

But he did not lose total faith - "one day I was sitting watching a group of yearlings run across a paddock at Vinery and she was amongst them and I thought 'she may have those short legs but she can still run.'"

"...I was sitting watching a group of yearlings run across a paddock at Vinery and she (Gracie's Lass) was amongst them and I thought 'she may have those short legs but she can still run.'" - Greg Perry

And so, whilst "a few experts suggested that she would not be worth spending much money on as a broodmare," Perry took a leap of faith and decided to breed with Gracie's Lass, noting that "she may not have had the conformation but she had the genetics."

Gracie's Lass' first foal Onemorechoice (Onemorenomore) is no world-beater but is a four-time winner whilst her second Mhaille (I Am Invincible) "has had a few issues." But from day one her third foal was something rather nice and Anthony Freedman thought enough of him to bid $120,000 to secure him at the 2020 Magic Millions Gold Coast Yearling Sale.

Artorius as a yearling | Image courtesy of Magic Millions

And fortunately for the Perrys (who breed and race under the name of Greenwich Stud), they were able to stay in for a share.

In a sign of things to come, Artorius settled back in the field when making his debut in a 2-year-old race at Geelong in January last year - swinging widest turning, racing greenly and striking a decent bump with 200 metres to go. But his second to the more than handy Jigsaw (Manhattan Rain) was an eye-catcher.

And what excitement his next two starts provided his owners and breeders - Artorius second-up swamping his rivals before racing away to a stunning 4.5l victory at Sandown en route to another barnstorming win, this time in the G1 Blue Diamond S.

Artorius winning the G1 Blue Diamond S. | Image courtesy of Bronwen Healy

Whilst Artorius has not been in the winner's circle since that day, he has run some mighty good races with Perry particularly impressed by his G1 Coolmore Stud S. third behind Home Affairs (I Am Invincible).

"He was great to line that day," he recalled, "it was actually an extraordinary run."

Whilst still enjoying the racing career of Artorius (he and Lisa are to enjoy a trip to Scotland before heading back to the UK to cheer their boy on in the G1 July Cup), Perry is also excited about his stud prospects.

"He has some great genetic material to work with," said the pedigree enthusiast who does his research, admitting to a particular soft spot for the good race mares of the 1970s - one example being Princess Talaria (Dignitas {USA}), the high-class race mare who is the fourth dam of Marabi.

"He (Artorius) has some great genetic material to work with." - Greg Perry

He also likes to see such mares in the pedigrees of American-bred horses with one of the attractions of Grace And Power's pedigree being the strength of her grandam Lady Lady's (USA) (Little Current {USA}), that mare being a three-quarter sister to the superstar mare Allez France (USA) (Seabird {Fr}).

And that mare in turn is a descendant of one of the great matriarchs in La Troienne (Fr) (Teddy {Fr}).

"Someone once told me that you can never have too much La Troienne in a pedigree and everywhere you go in the racing world, she is there."

Including Royal Ascot!

Royal Ascot
Artorius
Anthony and Sam Freedman
Greg Perry
Lisa Perry