Chorley racehorse Mabs Cross is in line for top sprinter award

Mabs Cross with Emma and David Armstrong with their daughter Sophie
Mabs Cross with Emma and David Armstrong with their daughter Sophie

Chorley wonder horse Mabs Cross could be crowned European Sprinter of the Year following a stellar season for the Lancashire-bred equine star.

Mabs Cross, owned by David and Emma Armstrong, who bred their highly talented filly at Highfield Farm, near Chorley, has been shortlisted for the number one sprinter of 2018 by the Cartier European Racing Awards

She powered her way to glory in the Group One Prix de l’Abbeye dash at Longchamp this month, one of the richest sprint prizes in Europe and she has never stopped improving this season.

“It was out of this world when Mabs Cross won in France, but to be recognised in this way is special for everybody connected with her because it was very much a family effort,” said proud owner David Armstrong.

“Breeding horses is my passion in life and last summer was a dream come true.”

He added: “We’ve always had belief in her as she has such a big heart and never stops trying.

“Mabs Cross is a very relaxed and calm horse too, and that’s a great attribute to have.

“She is back with us in Chorley now until she goes back in training in January, and I definitely think there is more to come from her next season.”

The Michael Dods-trained Mabs Cross began the year by claiming the Palace House Stakes at Newmarket and was only beaten a whisker in the prestigious Nunthorpe Stakes at York in August.

“The Nunthorpe was heartbreaking and it will take some getting over, losing by a few millimetres, but for her to go to France and win like she did was an incredible effort.

“When she started out she had a few teething problems with her missing the break in the stalls, like she did in the Temple Stakes at Haydock Park, when she was slowly away.

“But we’ve ironed that out now and the only time she gets upset is when she sees the jockey in the saddling enclosure.”

The Armstrong’s have already bred July Cup winner Mayson, who raced in their colours, as did Prix Maurice De Gheest winner Garswood.

The broodmares and young stock are all based at Highfield Farm.

Mayson’s story is a particularly poignant one as he lost his mother Mayleaf to cancer when only 3 months old.

The stallions now stand at Cheveley Park Stud alongside Garswood’s sire Dutch Art and the stud’s standard bearer Pivotal.

Meanwhile, Haydock Park will begin their jump season with one of the most eagerly awaited fixtures of the year, the Betfair Chase on Saturday, November 24.

A £1 million bonus has been offered by Jockey Club Racecourses if a horse can win the Betfair Chase, the King George at Kempton on Boxing Day and the Gold Cup at Cheltenham.

Kauto Star won the Betfair Chase four times and Cue Card on three occasions.

Tickets and info: haydock.thejockeyclub.co.uk or ring 0344 579 3006.