Gala Sunday was impeccably bred, by the American bred middle distance stallion Lear Fan and out of the unraced Nureyev mare Sunday Bazaaer. Earlier in the year he had been a leading fancy for the Epsom Derby, having finished second in his two runs as a two year old and then bolting up at Pontefract on his three year old debut. However, he was beaten in the Wetherby's Blue Riband Trial at Epsom in April and after sidestepping the Derby he flopped in Ireland in Listed company. He managed one last win for Barry Hills at Hamilton before being cast off as not good enough for competing at the very top level which was expected by his owners.
Sent to the Tattersalls Horses in Training Sales in 2003, his once titanic reputation in tatters, the son of Lear Fan caught our eye in the catalogue. In the event he was knocked down for a mere 6,500 gns, a fraction of his former value. Following in the hoofprints of many other classy racehorses from the yards of Newmarket and Lambourn over the past few decades we loaded him onto the lorry and he headed north to resume his career in Sheriff Hutton.
Gala Sunday was rated 95 when he joined us and at first he showed very little. In his first two races he didn't beat a horse home and when he was beaten at Wolverhampton in a Class 7 Banded race in December 2005 he was rated just 45. We gave him a few spins over hurdles, which he really didn't like, and in February 2006 he was beaten at Newcastle by 83 lengths at odds of 100/1. It had been a dramatic fall from grace as the once Derby hopeful was now hacking round Wetherby and Newcastle, tailing off in poor quality novice hurdle races.
The spin over hurdles seemed to wake him up, and after a spell in the field and a little holiday to freshen him up he won his first race since joining us. He had lined up for a Class 7 Banded race at Wolverhampton, ridden by Paul Mulrennan, the new Banded races being about as low as it could get in terms of quality. However, it did the trick and he was never headed, beating Bob Baileys by a length and a quarter, receiving a huge pull at the weights. He had picked up just £1,500 for winning the 'Hold Your Conference At Dunstall Park Banded Stakes' over a mile and half a furlong but at least he'd won!
In July 2006 Gala Sunday was reunited with Serena Brotherton, who had ridden him to a placed effort at Nottingham the previous year. The pair were to turn out to be a match made in heaven and on fast ground at Nottingham the partnership hacked up to win the 'Amateur Jockeys Association Investing In Racing Lady Riders' Handicap' by eight lengths. We didn't know at the time that this was the beginning of a remarkable horse and jockey partnership that would become feared in Amateur Riders events over the coming years.
Ten days later Serena and Gala Sunday were winners at Beverley. Back at Beverley the following month Serena and Gala Sunday led home a 1-2 when they defeated Emperor's Well by sixth lengths, the runner up being Joanna Mason's debut as an amateur rider. A few days later we made a rare trip to Yarmouth with him to pick up yet another win with Serena on board, this time talking the 'Roy And Joan Tanner Memorial Lady Riders Handicap'.
For his efforts Gala Sunday was now heading back up the weights and when he ran at Redcar in September he was rated 68, a rise of 23 pounds.
In September 2007 Gala Sunday switched ownership to run in the now famous purple and silver colours of our loyal owner Mr Steve Hull. Steve didn't have to wait long to see his new recruit win as he scored at Redcar in October, sent off 5/1 favourite and ridden by Serena.
Placed several times in 2008, it was June 2009 when Gala Sunday was back in the winners enclosure when Serena won the 'Pontefract Ladies Handicap' at odds of 14/1.
Gala Sunday's win at Pontefract was to be his final victory and after a handful more runs time was called on his career after running at Redcar in October.
His final career statistics showed 71 races, nine wins and 12 places. He had earned over £50,000 with a remarkable six wins for Serena Brotherton. It had been a remarkable career from leading Derby fancy to tackling Banded races at Wolverhampton, but his record in amateur races over ten furlongs was impressive, and in Serena we eventually had found the perfect partner for the blue-blooded throroughbred.