Hughie Morrison may hand Urban Artist a Group One swansong after she was collared late on by Sea La Rosa in the Qatar Lillie Langtry Stakes at Goodwood on Saturday.
The seven-year-old was an unconsidered 18-1 chance for the Group Two contest, yet under a positive ride from Jason Watson drew clear of her six rivals, only to be carried out on her shield when going down by a length.
Morrison is understandably proud of his mare’s performance.
“I said to Jason, ‘if you are going within yourself, you are not going fast enough. Every time you get to a bend, just kick off it and take two or three lengths out of them’,” said the trainer.
“The sectionals weren’t that fast, it is just that they let her go. What surprised me was when the winner came to her, she stuck on. A furlong out, you thought you were going to get swallowed up, but she just kept going.”
Urban Artist has come a long way since finishing seventh of 12 in a Taunton bumper on her debut three years ago – winning three times and finishing second on no less than five occasions since being switched to the Flat.
Sea La Rosa (yellow) reels in long-time leader Urban Artist to win the Group Two Lillie Langtry Stakes at Goodwood
“She has just got a real engine,” Morrison added. “As a bumper horse, when she came to us, I was told she was absolutely useless. First time out, I was persuaded to run her and I had another, better-fancied runner in the race (Miss Austen). But all I did was watch her, because I was just terrified she would be tailed off, because she was so slow.”
The East Ilsley handler is now mulling over options for Urban Artist’s next target. He said: “She ran in the Group Two Park Hill (at Doncaster) – not very well – last September. We will look somewhere around there.
“There is very little for her. Ideally, you’d be looking for a mile-and-six (furlongs) or two-mile Listed fillies’ race.
“She was second in two Group Threes and a Group Two, and she deserved to win a Listed race, but there is always something with a bit more speed.
“I didn’t particularly want to run her on that (quick) ground at Goodwood, but there is nothing for her. She is a good mover, she doesn’t need easier ground. It just slows the others down. She keeps going and they can’t quicken.
“You might put her in the Prix de Royallieu in ParisLongchamp as a swansong. If she ran into a place there, I’d be thrilled.
“I’ve given up thinking I’m going to win with her, but if we picked up £60,000 here or £70,000 there – for a small syndicate, that is big money.”