Owner Gareth Cheshire has only the Sky Bet Ebor on his mind for Golden Rules, despite having his doubts that his star stayer will make the cut for the prestigious York handicap.
Trained by Deborah Faulkner, the former John and Thady Gosden runner made a winning start for his new connections following a long lay-off at Kempton in March and then went close to justifying the team’s supreme confidence ahead of the Northumberland Plate when a silver medallist in the Gosforth Park marathon.
A crack at the Ebor has been the ambition ever since for the 97-rated gelding, but although being as short as 12-1 for the one-mile-six-furlong showpiece on August 26, the fragile six-year-old is not guaranteed a place in the £500,000 contest which has a maximum field of 22.
“He’s the love of my life and the stuff of dreams,” said Cheshire.
“He’s been fine since Newcastle and he’s been tipping away. I leave everything to Deborah and Tom (Faulkner) and our vet and as I’ve said before, you just have to mind him. We take each day as it comes and we are doing what we normally do. We take it day by day with him and he is a superb horse.
“I don’t think we’ll get in the Ebor. We will make any further plans after the Ebor is out of the way because he is qualified for the all-weather final at Kempton, but I don’t really know. We’ll get the Ebor out of the way, whether he’s in or out, and go from there.
“I didn’t sleep before the Northumberland Plate as I was in Ibiza. It took some negotiating to get home early and it cost me a handbag, but now I don’t like think to about him. I’ll leave that to everyone else and if he gets in he gets in, that’s great, but if he doesn’t and he gets balloted out, then he was clearly a certainty!”
Cheshire made headlines in the days leading up to the Northumberland Plate with his bullish prediction about his horse’s claims and Golden Rules came within half a length of proving his owner right having suffered a luckless run up the Newcastle home straight behind winner Calling The Wind.
However, he explains he had plenty of reason for the confidence and said: “I don’t spend as much time at the yard as I would like to, but I was convinced he would be in the first three.
“Having lived on and off with him for two years and the way he won at Kempton and the feedback from Oisin Murphy had me really confident.
“Oisin Murphy, one of the leading riders in the world, was really happy to come and sit on him at home which tells you something and the last piece of work he did, Oisin said to us ‘just get him to the Plate, that will do’.”
The enthusiastic owner rates Golden Rules as the best horse he has ever been involved with and having been bought for 6,000 guineas in the autumn of 2021, he showed real patience and perseverance to get his charge to the racecourse following 638 days on the sidelines.
Cheshire is full of credit for both his fledgling training team based in South Wales and his vet, who has helped nurse Golden Rules back to peak condition.
He added: “The reason I got him for 6,000 was because he had a problem and my vet and the training team have done amazingly. He’s done more miles in the pool than Mark Spitz and they have done a magnificent job. Every day with the horse is a bonus.
“He’s like one of these superstars who will sign autographs and have selfies done, Golden Rules is a complete gentleman. They say never meet your heroes, but he is like meeting your hero and they turn out to be a nice bloke as well.
“I’m very lucky to have him and every time I see him, I tell him he’s Grandad’s favourite and feed him his apples. I’ve had racehorses since I was five years old and you wait a lifetime for a horse like him. I don’t think I will find another one.”