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Go for Gold

NURLAN BIZAKOV’s thoroughbred interests have grown exponentially since his early forays into ownership with the likes of Askar Tau, winner of the Lonsdale and Doncaster Cups in 2009.

The following year saw the Kazakhstani businessman purchase Hesmonds Stud in East Sussex before the acquisition of Haras de Montfort et Preaux in 2019. The historic Haras du Mezeray was added to the portfolio in 2021 and the trio have since been united under the Sumbe banner, which takes its name from Bizakov’s place of birth.

The owner’s pale blue and yellow silks have been carried to some notable victories down the years, with talented fillies such as Altyn Orda, Nausha and Tomyris bred at Hesmonds, and Sumbe listed as the breeder of last year’s Group 1 Prix Jean-Luc Lagardère hero Belbek.

When Bizakov bought Montfort et Preaux his team stated their intention to add to the stallion roster, which at the time was led by Le Havre, who died in March 2022, and the royal homebred Recorder.

Sumbe’s first new stallion acquisition was the Group 1-winning Golden Horde, who will pass the next important milestone in his second career when his debut crop of yearlings reach the sales later this year.

Under the tutelage of Clive Cox, Golden Horde was among the best juveniles of a generation long on two-year-old talent.

His biggest win at two came in the Group 2 Richmond Stakes at Glorious Goodwood, but he ran to higher figures in defeat on his next two starts.

First, he finished third, less than 3l behind the French champion Earthlight, in the Group 1 Prix Morny before narrowing the gap to that rival to just a neck in the prestigious Middle Park Stakes (G1).

The Al Mohamediya Racing colour-bearer didn’t reappear until the Royal Ascot of his three-year-old season, but duly produced a performance well worth the wait. A field of 16 contested that year’s Group 1 Commonwealth Cup but Golden Horde proved a cut above as he quickened clear from a prominent position to score by a length and a half from the Wesley Wardtrained Kimari.

He ran with real credit against his elders thereafter, finishing third to Oxted in the July Cup (G1) and filling the same position behind Dream Of Dreams on his swansong in the Haydock Sprint Cup (G1). Connections had planned to keep Golden Horde in training for another season until meeting with a minor setback that forced a change of direction.

Taking up the tale of how Sumbe came to stand the Group 1-winning sprinter, general manager Tony Fry says: “There’s only a very small handful of people who own the types of horses you’d like to stand as sires. They’re all in the hands of two or three owners and they don’t sell them on.

“We’d been following Golden Horde though and we’d enquired with Clive early on in his three-year-old career.

“The owners were saying he would stay in training as a four-year-old until he got a little tweak on a tendon and that’s when Clive said the horse was on the market.

“I went over and saw him the next day, and he’d been in his box for maybe ten days at this point. Clive was in there brushing his tail and picking his feet out – I told him not to do too much as he’d be pushing the price up!

“He came out of his box and as he walked up and down the yard I just thought ‘wow!’. He doesn’t have your typical sprinter’s walk and he clearly had a great mind on him so I phoned the boss up and told him this is the type of horse we want to have because he sells himself. It’s hard enough trying to stand stallions so we needed to have a horse that we believed in. He’s that sort of horse; a great racehorse, powerful-looking, athletic and with a great mind on him.”

Bizakov and his team were quick to put their money where their mouth is as they committed 20 members of their blue-chip broodmare band to Golden Horde’s first book.

“When you’re doing that you have to have faith in them,” says Fry. “It’s all well and good telling everyone else they should send their mare to your horse, but you have to have faith and confidence in what you’re standing.

You’ve got to put your money where your mouth is and that’s why we’ve sent our best mares to Golden Horde.”



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