Some horses simply ‘fill your eye.’ In the case of Shamardal, he also embodies the most extraordinary saga.
I was lured into the world of Shamardal by Sheika Reika, winner of the recent E.P.Taylor stakes. This led to looking at her bloodlines and the discovery of the most amazing story. Back in 2002 her sire, Shamardal, was dispatched to the Keeneland auction by his Kentucky breeders. No one was interested so they brought him home. The following year the colt was diagnosed with a spinal disorder. Eventually the owners filed an insurance claim and gave ownership to the insurers. The colt was to be euthanized. At this point insurance adjuster, Richard Ketch, assured the firm the use of alternative medicine would save the life of the colt.
Whether it was the “energy healing” or the colt was one of the 10% that make a full recovery, before long the colt was back on his feet and shipped to yet another auction. This time Newmarket, England where he was incorrectly diagnosed with a breathing problem and was sold to Sheikh Mohammed for 50,000 guineas.
After all this, it seems Shamardal was an exceptional racehorse. He was named 2004 Champion Two Year Old and the following year he won 3 Group One races before being sidelined by an injury.
And I was reminded of E.P. Taylor, telling me, more than once, that while owning and breeding Thoroughbreds was exhilarating, it was often quite humbling. Still I know he would like this story. That this remarkable colt is a great great grandson of Taylor’s Northern Dancer would simply add to the enjoyment.