Decorated Knight is a rapid improver with a glittering pedigree, and that makes him very intriguing in his first Grade/Group 1 test for Roger Charlton.
The Saleh al Homaizi and Imad al Sagar homebred is by Galileo (like Deauville and Mondialiste) and out of Pearling, a full sister to Giant’s Causeway. Pearling is also a full sister to Group 2-winning You’resothrilling, who’s produced three major runners sired by Galileo – European champion and dual classic hero Gleneagles, 2014 Irish 1000 Guineas (G1) victress Marvellous, and Beverly D. pre-entrant Coolmore.
Hence Decorated Knight is a “full brother in blood” to Gleneagles and his siblings, since they’re all by Galileo and their dams are full sisters.
A genuine type who’s never been worse than fourth in his life, Decorated Knight was initially trained by Roger Varian. After breaking his maiden last summer at third asking, he followed up with a handicap victory. He was pitched into Group company next out in the Joel (G2) at Newmarket, but couldn’t cope with the odds-on Time Test or the battle-hardened veteran Custom Cut and wound up third in a four-horse field. Decorated Knight made one more start at three, staying on doggedly for fourth in Newmarket’s Darley (G3) last October. One spot ahead of him in third was the underachieving favorite Mutakayyef (whose string of previous placings included a close second to Mondialiste). Mutakayyef, now a reformed character after being gelded, mulled the Million before connections decided to point for the August 17 Juddmonte International (G1) at York.
Decorated Knight’s stallion potential remains intact, however, and he’s made strides this season with the benefit of maturity and experience. Debuting for Charlton in the one-mile Paradise at Ascot on April 27, the chestnut traveled well before being outkicked and relegated to fourth. While that could partly be chalked up to ring-rustiness, Decorated Knight shaped as if he may want more ground. He got it in the May 21 Festival Stakes over about 1 1/4 miles at Goodwood, where he quickened smartly off a tepid pace to earn his first black-type success. He wheeled back June 3, and cut back in trip, for the about 1 1/16-mile Diomed (G3) on Derby Day and just missed in a thriller. Although the wily eight-year-old Tullius came again to deny him, Decorated Knight emerged with great credit, especially since he didn’t appear at ease on Epsom’s camber (changed his leads a couple of times trying to stay balanced). The rain-softened ground didn’t suit him either.
Decorated Knight showed just what he’s capable of on a good-to-firm course when bounding to a new career high in the July 14 Meld (G3) at Leopardstown. He delivered a nifty turn of foot and summarily dismissed odds-on favorite Portage, who was coming off a score in one of Royal Ascot’s big handicaps, the Royal Hunt Cup. Decorated Knight brushed aside Portage, a listed winner at the Curragh prior to Royal Ascot, as if he were nothing. Finishing well back was Elleval, last year’s Meld runner-up and fifth to The Pizza Man in the 2015 Arlington Million (G1).
Needless to say, the Arlington Million presents a challenge of a far greater magnitude, and Decorated Knight doesn’t bring the kind of gaudy formlines owned by Mondialiste or Tryster. But a horse of his profile is capable of bigger and better things.
Photo of Decorated Knight at Goodwood shared by Roger Charlton via Twitter