Toast Of New York
©Healy Racing Photos
Toast Of New York made a triumphant return to action in the Betway Conditions Stakes at Lingfield.
Jamie Osborne's six-year-old entire had not been seen since being agonisingly beaten by a nose in the Breeders' Cup Classic of 2014, an absence of 1,130 days during which time he had a spell at stud in Qatar.
Sent off at 2-1, despite having plenty in hand on the official figures, he was ridden for the first time in a race by Frankie Dettori and took up the running before the turn into the straight, showing the right sort of attitude close home to hold off Petite Jack.
Toast Of New York was initially retired following a tendon injury when being prepared for the Dubai World Cup of 2015.
Dettori told At The Races: "Jamie has done a great job to get him in this shape first time out.
"He still feels a little rusty, but after three years off I can't emphasise enough how brilliant everyone has been to get him back.
"He's only 70 per cent at the moment, but he still won. That's a step forward and should improve him a lot. After three years that was a great effort."
Wearing a hood for the first time, Toast Of New York threw Dettori off on the way to the start.
Thankfully the stalls were not far from the chute and he was able to be walked to the start, with Dettori jogging alongside.
Aways prominent in the race itself, Dettori had enough confidence to kick on some way out and it is a credit to Osborne and his team he was fit enough to win after such a layoff.
Although he did have upwards of 20lb in hand on his best form, his rivals were all rated over 100, adding extra merit to the performance.
Toast Of New York was bought by Al Shaqab Racing after his near-miss at the Breeders' Cup, and their racing manager Harry Herbert said: "I think everyone involved is relieved to see him not just win, but be back on a racecourse again.
"This is a phenomenal performance from Jamie and Jimmy (McCarthy, assistant), who has ridden him in all his work.
"It's been a patient journey but so exciting and I've been excited to see a bit of the build-up. The trainer's expectations were pretty high, he liked what he'd seen and felt the flame burned bright still."
He added: "He's still an entire and covered 15 or so mares in Doha and got 10 in foal. There just wasn't the support for him as a sire.
"Our vet told us his tendon injury wasn't that bad, but it's not very often you see a horse his age still an entire and coming back to racing.
"Frankie said he felt big and burly and I loved the way he got him balanced, but I take my hat off to Jamie, it's wonderful to see. It's a fairytale.
"We'll have to see what the next stage is, to launch him back into the Pegasus (World Cup Invitational Stakes at Gulfstream Park in January) will be considered, obviously we don't have a slot but they usually become available.
"Good Friday (All-Weather Championship Finals Day), it's all possible, the (Dubai) World Cup must be an obvious target, he was bought to do that it's just taken a while to get there."