One of the stories of the 2013 flat season has been the remarkable return of Forgotten Voice; first winning at Royal Ascot a remarkable four years on from his initial success there and then his follow up at Glorious Goodwood; one of only two horses to win at both festivals this summer.
That Forgotten Voice should now post career best results, with this most recent win being his first Group race success, after overcoming serious injury is a credit to the care and patience bestowed on him by his connections.
As is the case with all athletes, both human and equine, some show a higher susceptibility to injury than others and Forgotten Voice falls into the former category. The now eight-year-old started his racing career at two, which began with success before he suffered his first significant injury in the spring of his three year old career, when he damaged his near-fore tendon in training in March 2008. This injury kept Forgotten Voice off the racecourse for one year but under the care of trainer Jeremy Noseda he returned to the racecourse in style in 2009, winning three consecutive races, culminating in success in the Royal Hunt Cup at Royal Ascot, under Johnny Murtagh.
In January 2010, Forgotten Voice flew out to Dubai in order to compete on the world stage in Meydan but the following season at Goodwood he sustained another serious tendon injury, this time on his off-fore leg. Once again, this talented equine athlete was on the sidelines, this time for two years while connections patiently oversaw his recovery and return to fitness.
Forgotten Voice moved to Lambourn based trainer Nicky Henderson and returned to the track over hurdles, winning three races under this code and was never placed out of the first four. Although best known as the champion Jumps trainer, Nicky Henderson then plotted an ambitious return to the Flat and the scene of Forgotten Voice's triumph in the 2009 Royal Hunt Cup, targeting the Wolverton Stakes at Royal Ascot 2013.
Reunited with Johnny Murtagh, he won on his first start on the Flat for 1060 days. He returned to an emotional reception in the winner’s enclosure from connections, overcome at their horse’s triumphant return. Owner Susan Roy’s husband Paul, said “He’s always had an amazing turn of foot and likes good ground although I thought he’d be better over a mile and a half. We are just so lucky because I have had some wonderful horses and been very, very privileged. We spent two years putting him back together and getting him fit again.”
A subsequent victory at Glorious Goodwood further highlighted the dividend that a patient approach can pay as well as considering the individual needs of each horse. Forgotten Voice added to his Royal Ascot win with success in the Group Three Coutts Glorious Stakes and seems to have found a second lease of life on the racecourse.
“He’s a fairytale, an absolute fairytale. He’s got a lot better as he’s matured. All these horses need time.” said Paul after the win. The attitude of care surrounding Forgotten Voice is further supported by trainer, Nicky Henderson; "At one stage, we were looking at retirement for him as he has had troubles with his legs, but we've been patient, he had two years completely off.”
Paul Roy, the former Chairman of the British Horseracing Authority (BHA), was appointed as Chairman of the charity Retraining of Racehorses earlier this year, and on his appointment Paul highlighted his commitment to racehorse welfare: “I have always been passionate about the welfare of horses before, during and after their time on the racecourse. Retraining of Racehorses is one of my favourite equine charities and part of the fabric that makes British racehorse welfare second to none. It is to the sport's great credit that its equine commitment is reflected in the various careers former racehorses now enjoy."