The Archie Watson-trained Glen Shiel (6 g ex Gonfilia by Big Shuffle) came out on top of a close finish to win the British Champions Sprint Stakes (Gr 1, 6f) at Ascot on Saturday and in so doing became the 32nd Group 1 winner for Cheveley Park-based sire Pivotal (Polar Falcon) and the first elite level winner for Watson and jockey Hollie Doyle.
The gelding landed the Phoenix Sprint Stakes (Gr 3, 6f) in August and was last seen running second in the Sprint Cup (Gr 1, 6f) at Haydock in September, but he bounced back to form when staying on bravely, under a strong drive from Doyle, to beat Brando - who is also by Pivotal. One Master (Fastnet Rock), who was coming into the race having landed a third Prix de la Foret (Gr 1, 1400m) on October 4, showed a customary bravery to finish another half a length away in third.
"It's not about me, it's about Archie Watson,” said Doyle. “He has campaigned this horse unbelievably.
"It's a dream come true, especially on this horse. Everyone in the yard adores him. My heart sunk on the line when Tom Eaves [Brando] joined me, I honestly thought I hadn't won."
Purchased by Blandford Bloodstock for £45,000 at the 2019 Goffs UK Spring Horses In Training Sale, the gelding is one of three winners out of Group 3 winner Gonfilia (Big Shuffle).
Gonfilia herself is a half-sister to dual Group 1 winner Gonbarda (Lando) - the dam of multiple Group 1-winning champion and now Darley-based sire Farhh (Pivotal) and Group 3 winner Racing History (Pivotal).
Meanwhile, Gonfilia is also a half-sister to Group 3 scorer Gonlargo (Big Shuffle) and Listed-scorer Gorlor (Lando).
Pivotal - whose 32 Group 1 winners include last season’s Ranvet Stakes (Gr 1, 2000m) and Queen Elizabeth Stakes (Gr 1, 2000m) winner Addeybb - and he stood for a private fee in 2020.