FIVE-year-old import Wings Of Desire (GB) was not supplemented into the Gr1 Vodacom Durban July at the First Acceptance and supplementary stage on Monday.
The striking son of Pivotal, who arrived in South Africa in late January for stud duties at Advocate Nigel Riley’s Heversham Park Farm, went into training with Ormond Ferraris at Turffontein where he reportedly put up some sensational work, but it was decided last week to send him back to the South Gauteng farm to prepare him for the coming breeding season.
Riley commented: “Wings Of Desire has made steady progress, he’s put up a few terrific workouts and Mr Ferraris was over the moon, but unfortunately we’ve run out of time. He would have been short of his peak on July Day and we are not prepared to run him below 100% ready. We had to make a decision at this juncture before the pre-race betting on the Durban July becomes substantial.”
Riley mentioned a comment on one of the racing forums in which an anonymous poster promised to put up R1,000 if Wings Of Desire was to make the final July field and said: “We’ll donate R1,000 to the Highveld Horse Care Unit.”
Wings Of Desire, a son of Pivotal, finished fourth to Harzand, US Army Ranger and Idaho in the 2016 Investec Derby and subsequently earned a career-high Racing Post Rating of 119 for his valiant second to the year-older Highland Reel in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes.
Wings Of Desire boasts a true Classic pedigree as a brother to the Royal Ascot winner Eagle Top and Oaks third The Lark, out of Gull Wing, a Listed-winning half-sister to Pivotal’s dual Oaks heroine Sariska.
Riley concluded: “This doesn’t rule out preparation for next year’s July. Wings of Desire is still a young horse, he has an excellent international career record and he showed us in work recently that he will be capable of reproducing that form. For now, his first season at stud beckons.”
Photo: Wings Of Desire, photographed at Heversham Park last Saturday.