Horses To Follow » Dicton


Dicton ran even better than his finishing position suggests in finishing third in the French 2000 Guineas on Sunday.

The field split into two groups in this straight-mile French Guineas, with nine horses racing down the centre of the track and four – the four lowest-drawn colts – racing against the stands rail.  Dicton raced towards the near side in the smaller ground from stall four, Olivier Peslier taking him back so that he could track Birchwood.  It was probably a disadvantage to race in the smaller group, as it turned out.  There was plenty of pace towards the far side, as always seemed likely, with First Selection and The Gurkha in that group.  Also, of the four horses who raced on the stands side, two of them, Zelzal and Birchwood – finished third last and last, while one of them, the 2/1 favourite, the erstwhile unbeaten son of Zarkava Zarak, finished fifth.  So Dicton probably ran a massive race to finish third.

Not only that, but the Lawman colt did not have great luck in-running.  He travelled really well through his race, he was the only horse still on the bridle passing the 500-metre mark as Ryan Moore started to wind The Gurkha up on the far side.  Still looking for racing room as they passed the furlong pole, he was fully six lengths behind The Gurkha at that point.  When he did get the gaps, it was all too late, but he finished off his race well, moving from ninth place 150 yards out to snatch third place on the line, five and a half lengths behind The Gurkha, but just failing by a nose to catch First Selection for second place.

This was another step forward by Gianluca Bietolini’s colt.  Winner of three of his last four races last year as a juvenile – the first for Freddy Head – he won his first three races this term, including a listed race at Saint-Cloud and the Group 3 Prix de Fontainebleau at Chantilly on his last race before Sunday.  His pedigree says seven furlongs, and he is four for five over that trip, but he proved at Saint-Cloud and at Chantilly that he could be effective over a mile, and he saw the trip out well here.  He will be of interest wherever he goes next, and he could be under-rated if he went to Britain for the St James’s Palace Stakes now, given that he is trained by the Italian Bietolini, who is not well known to British punters.

15th May 2016