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NIJINSKY'S TRIPLE WAS A LARK
David Hedges
September 21, 1970
Easy winner of his third English classic, Charles Engelhard's colt moves on to the Arc de Triomphe in France and, possibly, a race in this country
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September 21, 1970

Nijinsky's Triple Was A Lark

Easy winner of his third English classic, Charles Engelhard's colt moves on to the Arc de Triomphe in France and, possibly, a race in this country

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As Sandy Barclay, Politico's rider, said afterward, "I was sure my horse was going to run a good race, and he was going flat out for the winning post, but suddenly this head appeared." It was the winningest head in European racing, and without Piggott having to exert himself in any way Nijinsky coasted to the lead 300 yards from the wire while jockeys all around were driving as hard as they could.

Piggott glanced to his left at Politico, to his right at the fading royal hope, Charlton, and saw that the advancing Meadowville was no real danger. In the last 50 yards, with that sangfroid that has frightened the life out of many a tough racing man in the past, England's champion jockey allowed Nijinsky to dawdle in front. As Nijinsky eased up, Meadowville and Politico appeared to close on him as though they had accelerated and the issue was in doubt, but never have two horses been more flattered than by the official verdict of one length and a length and a half that separated them from the winner at the finish.

As Nijinsky was led away and the crowd in the unsaddling enclosure began to thin out, O'Brien admitted that Nijinsky's future had not always been as safe as a bank. "Sir Ivor was always a relaxed sort of horse and nothing ever worried him," he said of the 1968 Epsom Derby and Washington, D.C. International winner. "But this fellow has been different, and there was a time, when he was a 2-year-old, when he might have gone the wrong way and become very difficult to manage. Now he is much more relaxed, knows what it is all about and is a good traveler."

Charles Engelhard, too, might be termed a good traveler, particularly when Doncaster is the destination. He races on an extensive scale in South Africa as well as in Europe and the U.S., has visited this northern industrial town four times since 1964 and each time has won the St. Leger—with Indiana, Ribocco, Ribero, and now Nijinsky.

There is no question of Nijinsky's being hurried into retirement now that his syndication is completed and the Triple Crown safely in the bag. His next race will be the Prix de l' Arc de Triomphe, the world's most testing championship race, on Oct. 4. "After that we will see," said Engelhard's smiling, pink-faced European racing manager, David McCall, refusing to commit himself on whether it would be the Champion Stakes at Newmarket or Belmont Park's Man o' War Stakes, both due to take place on Oct. 17. O'Brien may feel that the 13 days between the Arc de Triomphe and either of these races would not give Nijinsky sufficient time and that the stable might consider an invitation to Laurel's International, a race in which three Engelhard horses—Assagai, Ribocco and Hawaii—have started without success. So Maryland or New York may have the privilege of seeing a great horse in action for the last time.

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