Thoroughbreds are beautiful animals and although conventional wisdom dictates that beauty and talent don't necessarily go hand in hand, it's all too easy to ignore when you've got a smallish chestnut standing beside a magnificent colt.

It therefore came as no surpirse that hardly anyone ever gave Sepfourteen a second look when SC Stockfarm opened its doors to yearling buyers in 2015, a boom crop for the then fledging Sto.Tomas, Batangas horse-breeding operation.

 

Being a late foal, born on May 13, Sepfourteen was relatively small and wasn't good-looking enough to merit the P600,000 price tag, which did not really surprise his breeder Oliver "Jojo" Velasquez, as most horse buyers are very impatient and would want a quick recovery of investment.

And so it came to pass that Sepfourteen had no takers and Velasquez had no other choice but to race the colt himself, sealing his connection by naming him after his birthday. About a year later, it came as a welcome surpirse that the erstwhile "ugly duckling" has developed into a racing phenom, a classy stayer who won all four of his starts in stakes company and unanimouse acclaim as the best two-year-old or juvenile of 2016.

Fast forward to April 30,207. Sepfourteen made his long-awaited comeback start in the PHILTOBO Gintong Lahi Graduates Stakes, a lead-up race to the coveted Triple Crown against a crack field of three-years-olds.

Unfortunately, the long spell following his grueling juvenile campaign was too much to overcome, and he came up short against the more seasoned Pangalusian Island. It was totally different story, however three weeks later, as the "real" Sepfourteen finally showed up to notch his first win as a sophomore in the first leg of the Triple Crown, a decisive eight-length blowout over 1,600 meters at the San Lazaro Leisure Park in Carmona, Cavite.

Running as the prohibitive favorite in the second leg of the TC on June 18, Sepfourteen ran a very relaxed and confident race and almost paid dearly for it. In the thrilling dash to the finish, the chestnut colt bravely held his own against the challenge of game stable mate Brilliance and big finish Hiway One to pull off a narrow victory.

With the Triple Crown championship on the line last Sunday, Sepfourteen and reegular jockey John Alvin Guce were all business from the get go and completed the sweep with a runaway victory to become only the 11th locally-bred horse to achieve the racing grand slam. Sepfourteen is a progeny of Regal Boom (AUS), one of the very first imported horse of SC Stockfarm, a well-performed chestnut race mare sired by Kentucky Derby winner Thunder Gulch (USA) out of Noble Deed (NZ), a descendant of the great foundation mare Chelandry (GB).

His sire is Grade 1 winning Juvenile Consolidator (USA), son of the renowned sire of sires Storm Cat (USA) out of a stakes winning race mare Good Example (FR), which was imported into the country in 2011 by PHILTOBO president Manny Santos and is currently owned by a syndicate of breeders. Sepfourteen truly exceeded everyone's expectations and once again proved that size and conformation may not be the true yard stick of a potential racing champion.

And as SC Stockfarm Jojo Velasquez said, "If there is any secret I have learned in finding myself a champion for the past decade, it has to do with looking "under the feathers" of what many may call an "ugly duckling."