Alter egos 13: Cristoforo Colombo

In fourteen hundred ninety-two
Columbus sailed the ocean blue.

criscolSo begins the poem describing the historic journey in which Cristoforo Colombo set out to find a western passage to India, ended up in the Bahamas and was declared the first white person to land in what later became called America. He had a big team behind him, with a crew of 90 sailors on board his ship, the Santa Maria, with two other ships in his convoy.

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Colombo made further voyages of exploration around the islands of the Caribbean, landing on both Cuba and Hispaniola, so that in time he became known as “admiral of the seven seas”. He was convinced he had found a western route to Japan, and was sure that India was nearby. On a fourth journey westward, his compass led him to South America, and he landed there. But he never set foot in North America.


Cristoforo Colombo will be in unknown territory when he tackles the mile of the QIPCO 2,000 Guineas tomorrow. So far he’s only raced over five and six furlongs. Although in his first race he showed he could reach his destination more quickly than his rivals, he didn’t managed to do so again in four other races last year.

Tomorrow Cristoforo Colombo will have two navigational aids. In Joseph O’Brien he has a jockey who already knows the route to success in this race; he was onboard Camelot 12 months ago. The other aid is much more ordinary; a pair of cheek pieces, designed to help focus his concentration and keep him on a straight line up the straight Newmarket Rowley Mile.

Joseph O’Brien said, “He can be a bit lazy and the cheek pieces should suit. It just helps them travel a little easier.” He said he thought that the combination of fast ground and the longer distance would help Cristoforo Colombo make up some of the distance of a length by which he was beaten by Guineas favourite Dawn Approach in the Coventry Stakes at Royal Ascot last season.

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