Selkirk

Although a group one winner and a dual champion, it could be argued that Selkirk was unlucky not to be recognised as one of the truly outstanding milers of the modern era. His racing career was plagued with hard luck stories, which arguably cost him at least two group one races.

Bred by his owner George Strawbridge, Selkirk arrived at Kingsclere as a tall, gangly and unfurnished rig in the winter of 1988. It was not until September of the following year that he made his debut in a 5 runner listed race at Goodwood. The manner of his victory on his first start hinted at what was to follow but it was not until he had undergone an operation to remove a trapped testicle that Selkirk really fulfilled his potential on the racecourse.

His second start at two and his first four races the following year were all of the same nature; the horse would travel well through the race, look dangerous at the furlong marker before faltering and fading. At seven furlongs, a mile or ten furlongs the result was the same, when Selkirk had to extend his stride, he couldn't do it. It was the opinion of vet Simon Knapp that this could be being caused by pain from his un-descended testicle, which was pinching when Selkirk was asked to lengthen his stride. Consequently the offending testicle came out and the horse's movement and performance was revolutionised.

In his first run back he broke the course record at Kempton when winning the Heron Stakes decisively and his trainer, who had always held him in high regard bravely chose to run him in The Queen Elizabeth II Stakes at Ascot against all of the very best milers in Europe. At Ascot in September the field for the big race was strong as any assembled for a mile race all season; through the wet and the drizzle, the large white face of Selkirk could be seen bearing down on the classic winning fillies Kooyonga and Shaddyid, by the winning post he had returned a handsome two length winner.

Officially crowned the Champion Miler of 1991, Selkirk remained in training as a four year old and started off the campaign with a commanding performance in the Lockinge Stakes (Gr2) at Newbury. Having returned coughing from his next start in France, an enforced rest meant that Selkirk had a far from ideal preparation for the Sussex Stakes (Gr1) at the Glorious Goodwood meeting in August. In the event he put up a remarkable performance and in a titanic struggle with the wonderful Marling, Selkirk went down by a head.

Connections felt that with a better preparation Selkirk would have held on to the narrow lead he had poached with fifty yards to run. Having won his prep race in good style, Selkirk was primed to become the first horse since the great Brigadier Gerard to win back to back runnings of the Queen Elizabeth II (Gr1). With his regular jockey Ray Cochrane suspended, the responsibility of riding the hot favourite at Ascot was handed to John Reid. It was a nightmare from start to finish for both horse and jockey; having run into all sorts of trouble, the pair had to settle for a very unlucky looking third.

Following an exhibition of brilliance over 7 furlongs in the Challenge Stakes (Gr2) at Newmarket, Selkirk travelled to Florida for the Breeders Cup Mile at Gulfstream Park. However, the tight turning track and the very high humidity made life difficult for the long striding European challenger and in the circumstances Selkirk finished his career with a very creditable fifth behind the record breaking Lure.

Carrying out his stallion duties from Kirsten Rausing's Lanwades Stud in Newmarket, Selkirk is widely regarded as one of the leading British based sires of the current day.