Horses To Follow » Palazzo Bianco

Palazzo Bianco

Palazzo Bianco took a big step up on three maiden runs when winning over a mile and six furlongs on his handicap debut on his penultimate run at Haydock, and even then he made really hard work of it, touching a high of 160 in-running on Betfair. That being the case, it was surprising that connections didn’t decide to make more use of his stamina in another handicap at Chester on Saturday, given that he was dropping down a little in trip to a mile and five and a half furlongs at Chester, especially when it became apparent that they weren’t going too great a pace up front (Mezyaad was quite free early, evidence of the pace not being overly generous).

Held up in a slightly detached last for the first six furlongs, John Gosden’s colt was caught wide on the final circuit as Marc Halford tried to make ground. He got outpaced when they picked up just before the home turn, and he was wide the whole way around it. He had no chance when they straightened up, he was some six or seven lengths behind the leader and five or six horses wide, but he stayed on really well down the outside to actually get quite close, making up a lot of ground through the final furlong to get to within two lengths of the winner Gottany O’S, and to within three quarters of a length of the second and long-time leader Quails Hollow.

The Shirocco colt had been declared for the Cesaerwitch Trial over two miles and two furlongs at Newmarket the previous week, before being withdrawn on the day, and this trip, just short of a mile and three quarters, appears too sharp for him now, especially around a tight course like Chester, and especially when there is not much pace in the race. It may also be significant that he was a big drifter on course, going off 100/30 having opened up at 9/4.

Out of a Shirley Heights mare who has produced two 10-furlong listed winners already, Palazzo Bianco will be of interest now granted a sterner test of stamina, even if raised in grade. His new mark of 83, 6lb higher than the mark off which he won at Haydock, but just 1lb higher than Saturday’s mark, looks well below his level of ability, given a true stamina test.

24th September 2011