Horses To Follow » Schiaparelli


I am not certain why Olivier Peslier went so fast on Schiaparelli in the Irish Field St Leger at The Curragh on Saturday. He went so fast that the Ballydoyle pacemaker couldn’t get to the front. The distance of a mile and six furlongs was an absolute minimum for both of his main rivals, Yeats and Alandi, so by going so fast early on, he increased their chances of winning the race and reduced his own. Perhaps all the Godolphin decision-makers were at Doncaster, perhaps they didn’t really discuss tactics before the race. Peslier had never ridden Schiaparelli before, perhaps he had seen him bid to make all in the Princess of Wales’s Stakes and in the three-horse Group 2 race at Deauville that he won at odds of 1/5, and perhaps he decided that he would try similar tactics. Schiaparelli travelled best of all into the home straight as Michael Kinane was flat to the boards on Alandi from fully four furlongs out. If you didn’t know the two horses, you would have bet long odds-on Schiaparelli passing the two-furlong pole, as Peslier was still motionless while Kinane was asking Alandi for everything, but the pace and the ground found Schiapareilli out as, fair play to Alandi, he battled all the way to the line, withstanding the late lunge of the filly Clowance in the process.

As long as this effort hasn’t taken too much out of Schiaparelli, he can be seen to better effect now if he is ridden with more restraint, and he may be under-estimated now as a result of this run. He does need a cut in the ground to be at his best, he is a big horse who hits the ground hard, and a mile and six is probably his optimum, although he is obviously effective over two miles as well. The Prix Royal-Oak at Longchamp at the end of October, which is over two miles, not two and a half, like the Prix Cadran, could be the race for him now, and he is more likely to encounter easy ground then than he is for the Prix Cadran in early October.

12th September 2009