Great British Racing International (GBRI) and Ascot Racecourse have today [Wednesday] released the first in a video series titled An American Dream: The Return to Royal Ascot, which will document the journey that US-based syndicate operator Harlan Malter will take as he tries to turn an ambitious dream of returning to Royal Ascot with a horse sired by his 2018 Group 1 King’s Stand Stakes runner-turned-stallion, Bucchero, into a reality.
In the first feature, Malter reflects on the personal reasons that underpin his lofty ambitions for Bucchero, as well as his experience of watching the horse carry the Ironhorse Racing silks to place 5th at the Royal Meeting in 2018, within five lengths of a trio of champion sprinters in Battash, Blue Point and Mabs Cress.
Malter goes on to explain his plans for purchasing an offspring of Bucchero that can be trained in the UK, as well as one day producing a homebred out of Improvise, a filly purchased from the dispersal of Queen Elizabeth II’s horses at Tattersalls last November who is now racing for Ironhorse Racing in America.
Since this first episode was filmed, Malter has also been successful in securing a two-year-old by Bucchero that he plans to aim at the Royal Palm Juvenile Stakes at Gulfstream Park on 13th May, the winner of which will earn an automatic entry into one of Royal Ascot’s six two-year-old races in addition to a $25,000 equine travel stipend, thanks to a new initiative between Ascot Racecourse and 1/ST RACING. The colt, purchased for $70,000 at the OBS March Sale, will go into training with by Joe Orseno, who brought Imoprimis to Royal Ascot in 2019.
Speaking about the project on Tuesday, Malter said: “During my last two visits to Royal Ascot, I had chatted with Tom Peacock of the Racing Post about getting a Bucchero baby back to run in the UK and to try to get back to Royal Ascot.
“Our first tangible step was to head over to Tattersalls this winter to try to acquire a quality European mare to eventually breed to Bucchero. After finding that in Improvise, I was thrilled when GBRI reached out to help me and follow along in this dream.
“The next step in the process was to find a ready to race two-year-old Bucchero this year who hopefully we found in the colt we purchased last week.
“The last step will be to head over to Royal Ascot in June and firm up our plans with a UK trainer and together look for a yearling prospect in the fall to send right over to Newmarket to begin preparation for a two-year-old campaign in the UK.
“Isn’t this what it’s all about? Who doesn’t like rooting for an underdog? In a game that is often dominated by a small group at the top, horse racing is one of the few sports that lets anyone take a shot at glory. I’ve yet to put a challenge to Bucchero and him not exceed my expectations, so why not this? Trophies are great, but they end up dusty on the shelf. The process, the challenge and the people we surround ourselves within this sport is why all of us wouldn’t think of living a day without these amazing horses in our lives.”
Minty Farquhar, General Manager of GBRI, comments: “What Harlan is trying to achieve is admirable, and GBRI is perfectly placed to be providing the advice and guidance required to bring his dream to life.
“We very much hope we will be welcoming Harlan along with a group of Ironhorse Racing partners to Royal Ascot in June, and in time as owners of a horse in training in Britain.
“Whatever the outcome at each stage of the journey, we anticipate that the journey in and of itself will provide a fascinating story, and we are looking forward to telling that story in partnership with Ascot Racecourse.”
Nick Smith, Director of Racing and Public Affairs at Ascot Racecourse, adds: “Harlan’s enthusiasm for Royal Ascot is matched only by his passion for Bucchero and so this project is an exciting next step.
“We’re delighted he is looking at the new Gulfstream qualifiers and look forward to seeing the progeny of Bucchero at Ascot soon.”
Future instalments in An American Dream: The Return to Royal Ascot will be released on both GBRI’s and Ascot Racecourse’s social media platforms.