A stable lad from Galashiels is quite possibly the proudest man in racing after his main charge won a prestigious race in France.
Michael Curran believes Kingman’s latest victory seals the three-year-old’s claim to be the best miler in the world.
Michael has worked for trainer John Gosden in his Newmarket stables for nine years and the rise to stardom of Prince Khalid Abdullah’s prize steed has been nothing short of meteoric.
Sunday’s Prix Jacques le Marois at Deauville saw jockey James Doyle guide him home in an electric finish, winning by two-and-a-half lengths after being well back with a furlong to go.
Michael, who gets up at 5am most mornings to work out his horses, told The Southern: “The reception Kingman got after the race was absolutely amazing. The French can be quite reserved, but everybody was clapping and cheering.
“He’s just come on so much this year – he’s phenomenal.
“I have looked after other champion horses in my career – one being Handsome Sailor in the 1980s for Barry Hills – but Kingman is special.
“I don’t know if it’s because I’m getting older or not, but it just feels different.
“My boss was swithering over whether to take him to France because it had been raining a lot and the ground probably never suited him.
“But the owner made the decision and it’s turned out to be the right one.”
Michael revealed he sort of slid into horse racing as a career as he was a big fan of the Borders common ridings and festivals. He started out as an apprentice jockey and had a couple of rides, but as his weight sat at around eight stone, he was considered a bit big for flat racing.
But he earned his spurs as a top stable lad, and despite the early mornings and the hard, physical work, he’s loving life.
Kingman is now preparing for the QEII Stakes at Ascot on October 18, which has always been his end-of-year plan.
And Kingman isn’t Michael’s only royal-sounding connection.
He said: “I also met the Duchess of Cornwall, back in June at Royal Ascot after Kingman won the St James’s Palace Stakes, and you know, she’s really rather nice.”
But there was only one older lady who he wanted to see that day.
He said: “I was able to get my 70-year-old mum tickets, and she was able to come.
“That made it so special.”