Horses To Follow » Schiaparelli


Schiaparelli made the headlines in the Princess of Wales’s Stakes at Newmarket on Thursday, but for the wrong reasons. Settled in front by Ted Durcan, he was still in front when they reached the two-furlong pole. At that point, it looked like he was going to be swamped by the closers, but he ran on remarkably well to retain second spot behind Doctor Fremantle. In so doing, however, he moved towards the stands rail, into Ted Durcan’s whip, taking those behind him over with him and badly hampering Alwaary in particular. It is probable that Alwaary would have finished second without the interference (he was promoted to second place following a stewards’ enquiry), indeed he may even have won the race, he may have beaten Doctor Fremantle, but the negative comment directed at Schiaparelli for his waywardness may cloud the merit of his performance. He didn’t get that easy a lead, he was pestered from early in the home straight as the field fanned out behind him, yet he kept on remarkably gamely. On top of that, Simon Crisford was decidedly downbeat about the Monsun horse’s chances beforehand, saying that he would come on a lot for the run and that they saw him more as an autumn horse than a summer horse. Add all that into the mix, and this was a performance of some merit.

This was a strange race for Godolphin from a tactical point of view. They obviously decided beforehand that Schiparelli would lead and that they would hold Campanologist up. It was a strange decision. Campanologist was obviously their first string, the mount of Dettori and really well backed, and Schiaparelli was expected to come on a lot for the run, and both horses like to be up there in front. It is rare that a confirmed front-runner can be at his best when he is held up in behind runners and, sure enough, Campanologist ran really poorly. (He is another to keep in mind for the future. This wasn’t his running and people may over-react to this poor performance, which you can absolutely forgive.) Perhaps they thought that Campanologist only just got a mile and a half from the front, after he got run down by Bronze Cannon in the Hardwicke Stakes at Royal Ascot. Whatever the rationale, it didn’t work out for Campanologist, but it did for Schiaparelli.

The six-year-old was a really high class performer in Germany when with Peter Schiergen, winning four Group 1 contests, including three on the bounce two years ago as a four-year-old in his prime. He has a curtailed time of it last season, his first with Godolphin. We didn’t see him until September, when he ran in the Prix Foy, and ran really well for one having his first start in almost a year, rallying well after being passed to finish second to Zambezi Sun. He was expected to come on for that run as well, but he was a bit disappointing on his only subsequent start last season, fading fairly tamely once passed in the Arc. He has obviously had his problems, but if he can progress from his run in the Princess of Wales’s Stakes now by as much as his connections seemed to think he would, and by as much as the market seemed to suggest he would, he could be a player in the top races this term. He is at his best with a little bit of cut in the ground, and he stays a mile and a half well. He might be worth trying now over a mile and six. He is entered in the Irish Field St Leger, and he would be an interesting contender in that if it came up on the soft side at The Curragh in mid-September.

9th July 2009