Woodbine trainer loses award-winning filly after big win


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Woodbine veteran trainer Nathan Squires was delighted with his filly Cairo Consort’s performance at the Breeders’ Cup this month. But days after the race, Squires felt like he had been punched in the stomach.

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Cairo Consort placed third in the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf stakes on Nov. 4 – the World Horse Racing Championships. A huge feat for Canada’s longtime gray filly.

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“I knew she would run very well. Nothing bothers her,” Squires told the Toronto Sun this week. “Horse racing people know there are a lot of talented horses out there. But in these big races, they have to have the mindset, and she has it. And she proved it and it didn’t surprise me that she ran very well.

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Two days after the big race, the veteran conditioner was forced to say goodbye to what he described as the best horse he had ever trained. After the Breeders’ Cup, Cairo Consort owner William B. Thompson Jr. sold the Kentucky-bred gray for the impressive sum of $875,000 (US) to American riders Mike Repole and Town & Country Racing. Squires knew his prized filly would be sold after the breeders, but hoped whoever new owners would allow him to continue training her. Alas, it would seem that the American Todd Pletcher obtains this position. It’s part of the horse racing business.

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Still, it’s a tough nut to swallow for Squires who not only coached Cairo Consort during his huge two-year season, but helped convince Thompson to buy him at the Fasig-Tipton Kentucky one-year sale. 2021 for $95,000. Turned out to be quite an investment. In its first year of racing, Cairo Consort recorded two wins, one second and two thirds in six starts with earnings of $266,149, then was sold for $875,000.

That’s a return of $1,141,149 in one year after the initial investment of $95,000.

Needless to say, Squires, who runs a small operation at Woodbine with around a dozen horses, would have loved the opportunity to train Cairo Consort for his three-year-old season.

“I’m a small trainer trying to make it in a big world and he’s the best horse I’ve ever had,” Squires said. “Obviously when a horse like that comes out of your stable, it’s a bit tough. But you have to remember that sometimes you just have to turn the page and move on. She will have a good relationship and we will support her.

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Squires, who has been conditioning horses at the Etobicoke Oval for more than 20 years after starting as an assistant to the late Laurie Silvera, ended his 2022 Woodbine season Nov. 13 on a high note when his two-year-old gelding, Prince of Ayrshire won an optional $53,200 first claiming race at Woodbine. He is already preparing for the offseason in Florida and the 2023 racing season.

“We’re moving on and hopefully we can find one or two like Cairo Consort and get back to the Breeders’ Cup,” Squires said.

SBuffery@postmedia.com
Twitter @Beezersun

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