Horses To Follow » Zoffany


Zoffany almost caused the shock of the meeting when he closed Frankel down to three parts of a length by the time the reached the winning line in the St James’s Palace Stakes on the opening day.

A top class juvenile last season, when he won five of his seven races, including the Group 1 Phoenix Stakes at The Curragh last August, a bout of colic had delayed his resumption as a three-year-old, but he did shape well in finishing second to Bewitched in the Ballycorus Stakes at Leopardstown last month on his only run this term before Tuesday.

It was significant that he was Aidan O’Brien’s sole representative in the St James’s Palace Stakes, a race that the trainer had won six times in the previous 11 years, yet he was allowed go off an unconsidered 20/1 shot. One of the concerns about him before the race, however, was about his stamina for a mile – he had never raced beyond seven furlongs before – and it was probably because of that concern that he was held up in last pace through the early stages by Ryan Moore.

As such, he may have been protected from Frankel’s startling and punishing mid-race move, but there was still a lot to like about the manner in which Zoffany stayed on through the final furlong, running on best all the way to the line. Now that connections know that he stays a mile, they won’t have to ride him so conservatively if he takes his chance in the Sussex Stakes at Goodwood next month. And even if that race is the medium for the much-anticipated duel between Frankel and Canford Cliffs, Zoffany won’t be there just to make up the numbers.

14th June 2011

© The Sunday Times 19th June 2011