Seeing defeat snatched from the jaws of victory in a Classic thanks to a slipping saddle must be one of the most galling experiences an owner could find himself having to endure.
That was the fate suffered by Nick Robinson when his filly Dibidale was denied what would surely otherwise have been victory in the Oaks in 1974. However, since then Robinson, the former proprietor of ‘Pacemaker’, has enjoyed plenty of days in the sun, so perhaps he can ultimately reflect that the fates have not been too unkind to him.
When the Cartier Million was inaugurated by Goffs first time around in the late ‘80s, Robinson set up some syndicates to try to win the race. He syndicated four Goffs-bought yearlings in 1987 under the banner of Kennet Valley Thoroughbreds Ltd and nearly hit the jackpot at the first attempt when the Robert Armstrong-trained Miss Demure finished second to Corwyn Bay in the inaugural Cartier Million at the now-defunct Phoenix Park racecourse in Dublin in October 1988.
As the 58,000 Irish guinea purchase had previously won the Group 2 Lowther Stakes at York and was subsequently well sold to American owner/breeder Dick Hubbard, she ensured that the syndicate showed a healthy profit.
Since then, Robinson’s syndicates – which initially raced in yellow and blue colours, but now bear his own dark blue, white and red silks which will be forever synonymous with Dibidale – have continued to thrive.
Their latest triumph came with the victory of the Andrew Balding-trained Charles The Great, who won the Weatherbys Super Sprint at Newbury in the ownership of Kennet Valley Thoroughbreds V. The son of Holy Roman Emperor had cost 30,000gns at Tattersalls last October when knocked down to Geoffrey Howson Bloodstock, so again Robinson’s investors must be a happy crew.