He has become one of the most familiar and respected figures on the British Turf – this tall, slim, bespectacled fellow who has given new energy and life to a stable steeped in history.
In his unassuming way, however, James Fanshawe remains ever ambitious to build upon that status with new stars for every discipline. And that, to those of us who reckon Pegasus Stables as fulfilling a destination as any thoroughbred could desire, is the point that needs stressing. James’s exemplary patience, with horses that do need time, should not disguise an equal aptitude with more precocious animals.
Soviet Song, remember, recorded the first of her five Group One wins as a juvenile; and over the years James has saddled two-year-olds to win many other prestigious races – including the Lowther, Gimcrack and Champagne Stakes. Everyone is familiar with his dexterity. More need to grasp his flexibility. Here is a trainer who can win two Champion Hurdles, on the one hand, from a bare handful of jumpers; and, on the other, sprint races as desperately competitive as the Golden Jubilee Stakes and Wokingham Handicap in the same afternoon, as he did in 2011.
That achievement sealed James’s reputation, to followers of his yard, as a consummate Royal Ascot trainer; and, in turn, as one who can bring any type of horse expertly to the boil for its big target. In the disappointments inevitable in racing, of course, it helps that James is such a charming man. But his patrons know they have many better reasons for entrusting their hopes and dreams to his flair, experience and versatility.