Monday 2 September 2019

Ouija Board

Owned by Lord Derby and trained by Ed Dunlop in Newmarket, Ouija Board has the distinction of being named Cartier Horse Of The Year twice, once in 2004, when she was also named Cartier Three-Year-Old Filly, and again in 2006, when she was also named Cartier Older Horse. Dunlop once said of her, “Having her outweighs everything. She’s changed my career, changed my life, changed [owner] Lord Derby’s life.”

Her three-year-old campaign was, undoubtedly, her best. Having won the Listed Pretty Polly Stakes, over 1 mile 2 furlongs, at Newmarket by 6 lengths on her seasonal debut, she turned the Oaks at Epsom into a procession, surging clear in the closing stages to beat All Too Beautiful and Punctilious by 7 lengths and 3½ lengths. She beat Punctilious again, albeit by just a length after being eased in the closing stages, in the Irish Oaks the following month, but wasn’t seen again until the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe 77 days later.

Initially held up at the rear of the field, she finished strongly down the centre of the track but, at the line, was 1½ lengths adrift of the winner, Bago. She ended the season on a winning note, though, running on strongly to win the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf at Lone Star Park, Texas.

Ouija Board didn’t reappear until June, 2005, when she was beaten out of sight in the Prince of Wales’s Stakes, run at York while Ascot was being redeveloped. Having resumed winning ways in the Group 3 Princess Royal Stakes at Newmarket in September, she finished second in the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf at Arlington Park, Chicago, fifth in the Japan Cup at Tokyo and completed her season with a convincing win in the Hong Kong Vase at Sha Tin.

The following season, she proved her York run all wrong by winning the Prince of Wales’s Stakes at Royal Ascot and added the Nassau Stakes at Goodwood and another Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf, this time at Churchill Downs, Kentucky, to her winning tally later in the campaign. All in all, she won 10 of her 22 races, including seven at the highest level, and earned just over £3.5 million in total prize money.

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