Features | 22nd November 2021
Cheering home a winner at Royal Ascot is an experience The Woodway 20 syndicate will never forget.
But selling the prolific colt for more than 20 times his purchase price at the autumn sales in Newmarket completed one of the most remarkable success stories of the entire British Flat season.
Their star horse Chipotle galloped to glory in the Listed Windsor Castle Stakes in June – one of four wins including a second Listed success in the Redcar Two-Year-Old Trophy last month.
“If you’d have told me this time last year that we’d have got 210,000 gns for him I’d have said you were mad,” says Blewbury trainer Eve Johnson Houghton, who bought the son of Havana Gold for just 10,000 gns as a yearling.
“We were all sorry to see him go but it was always in the agreement to sell him at the end of his two-year-old season. “I knew we were going to get a fair price for him but the owners who came to Tattersalls just couldn’t believe it.
“It was jaws on the floor time, but that’s what racing can do. That’s why it’s such a great game. You can come from nothing and find a real rough diamond like Chipotle.”
However, Eve admits she was questioning her judgement as 2020 drew to a close. “He didn’t grow at all from when we bought him in the autumn to Christmas Day and I looked over the door and thought: oh, my goodness, what have I bought?
“But from Christmas to March he just grew and thrived and thrived. He started to show himself off when we stepped up to faster work and that’s when I decided to run him at Doncaster.”
Chipotle made a winning debut in the first juvenile race of the season, the traditional Brocklesby Conditions Stakes, and quickly followed that up in similar company at Ascot to convince Eve to let him take his chance at Royal Ascot.
Despite being drawn on the unfavoured far side, he cut through the pack to give The Woodway 20 shareholders a day to remember in the Windsor Castle.
“I told everyone we couldn’t possibly win from that draw but when the previous race, the Royal Hunt Cup, was won from over there I became more optimistic. But then he stumbled out of the stalls and I thought: this is a great start!
“From four furlongs out I could see he was travelling, though, and to see him come through and win was an experience his syndicate will never forget. It was extraordinary. A Royal Ascot winner is very hard to come by and to get one with a horse that cost just 10 grand is a joy,” she adds.
Chipotle scored his fourth success on his ninth and final start in the Redcar showpiece in October – a race Eve had finished second in almost two decades earlier with her syndicate horse Tout Seul, who went on to win the Group 1 Dewhurst Stakes for Eden Racing.
Less than a month later Chipotle, whose earnings reached almost £140,000, was sold to Saudi Arabia-based Najd Stud to continue his career in the Middle East. “I hope he is really successful for them,” adds Eve, who has now turned her attention to next year’s crop.
In the Woodway 20 syndicate are colts by Dandy Man and Brazen Beau and a filly by James Garfield. “It would be a lot to expect to find another Chipotle, but you just never know what might happen in this game,” she adds.
Run by Group 1 winning trainer Eve Johnson-Houghton, the Eden Racing Club covers an interest in 2 or 3 horses each year.
Membership cost will be £65 per month or a one off payment of £750 for the year and the Club is limited to 50 members.
Could you be a shareholder in Eve’s next success story? Enquire today HERE!