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Chabal - Sandown 23.04.10

Chabal: last week's Sandown Derby Trial winner is not certain to stay the 1m4f Derby distance even though he is a son of Galileo

  PICTURE: EDWARD WHITAKER  

Chabal: jury out on stamina for Derby

CHABAL 3 c Galileo - Vagary (Zafonic)

ON his first racecourse appearance, at Leopardstown last September, Chabal gave a performance full of promise, finding an impressive change of gear to win a 14-runner maiden in taking style over candidates from the Oxx and O'Brien stables who had both had the benefit of a previous run.

The result may have come as a shock to those who had laid the odds on third-placed Dynasty, but itwas no surprise to those at Coolcullen, aware that he knew his job and had been going well enough at home to merit entries in upcoming Group 1 events.

That eye-catching debut run persuaded many observers that Jim Bolger had found his successor to Teofilo, New Approach and Intense Focus.

Only a week later Chabal was in Group 1 company, opposed by three contenders from Ballydoyle, including an even-money favourite in Alfred Nobel, in the National Stakes on the Curragh. He duly turned in another fine effort, repelling that trio comfortably, but he found one too good in Kingsfort, who stayed on strongly to resist his determined challenge by a neck.

The winner, who had looked smart when winning his only previous race, was soon afterwards bought out of Kevin Prendergast's yard by Godolphin, and a few days before the Dewhurst Stakes we learnt that Chabal would be joining him.

The race that so often identifies the champion of his generation would be the last which he would contest from the Bolger stable. Chabal was not destined to be crowned champion juvenile. He started a warm favourite for the Dewhurst, kept his backers' hopes alive for much of the way, but fell away somewhat tamely in the closing stages, coming back a well-beaten tenth.

The ground was much faster than he had experienced before, and his rider dropped his whip a furlong from home; both were perhaps contributory factors, but the likeliest reason for his capitulation was that he had raced too freely. Chabal had been free on his debut as well, and it seemed clear that if he were to realise his potential, learning to settle and travel well through his races would be crucial.

So there were still questions to answer when the colt made his reappearance in Sandown's Group 3 Classic Trial on Friday, and it was only in the final exchanges that weight of support ensured he would go off favourite ahead of Royal Lodge runner-up Waseet. He took a keen hold again, and a modest early pace seemed hardly calculated to aid his prospects, but he did have cover and he did settle quite kindly in Dettori's hands.

Chabal was being pushed along three furlongs from home, and at that stage could not be considered a certain winner, but by the quarter pole he was making smooth headway, he quickened up readily to take command, and at the finish he was comfortably on top. The trip had been no problem, he hadwon with something to spare, and it was understandable that bookmakers would not offer fancy prices about his Derby chance; one reacted - perhaps over-reacted - by quoting him as short as 14-1.

It now seems likely that Chabal will head for the Dante, where he can expect to meet tougher competition, and if he were to win there he would almost certainly be at single-figure odds for the Epsom Classic. But while York promises to provide a stiffer test of his class, what it cannot do is establish his credentials for a top-level test at 1m4f; far from offering any guarantees in that area, his pedigree raises severe doubts.

Of course, what is problematic does not stem from his sire. Galileo was himself a tip-top performerover the trip, with victories in two Derbys and a King George to prove the point.

And he is best known as a progenitor for stock amply endowed in the stamina department - he has had Derby winners in Ireland (Soldier of Fortune), England (New Approach) and Italy (Cima de Triomphe), and quite a few of his stock have excelled over longer distances, like Sixties Icon in the St Leger and Alandi in the Irish Leger and Prix du Cadran.

Among Europe's leading active stallions, Galileo ranks with the most dependable sources of stamina. The average distance over which his progeny have won is 11.0f, and it has been noticeable how many of them have improved for the opportunity to tackle longer trips.

But we must always remember that parents contribute equally to the genetic endowment of their offspring; the dam's potential for influence should never be overlooked, even in cases when the sire has established himself as a reliable supplier of a particular aptitude.

Where Galileo is concerned, there is a notable case in point with Rip Van Winkle, who was the product of a mare by crack sprinter Stravinsky. We can hardly be adamant that he failed to stay 1m4f, given that he finished fourth in the Derby, just two lengths behind Sea the Stars, but it does seem reasonable to assert that his Epsom performance was that of a Group 2 horse; as a miler he proved himself an outstanding Group 1 horse.

As Chabal's dam, Vagary, did notrun, and he is her first foal, we have no direct evidence from her as to what her aptitude might have been or what qualities she is apt to transmit. We can only attempt a best guess from what her pedigree seems to imply, and it is hard to escape the inference that it stands more for speed than for stamina.

Vagary's sire was Zafonic, who is readily recalled as a champion two-year-old and brilliant winner of a 2,000 Guineas. He died in 2002, having left stock who typically took after him, the best excelling chiefly as sprinters and milers. The average winning distance of his stock was 8.4f, his only Pattern winner at 1m4f being Aynthia, whose success came in a Group 3 fillies' event in Italy.

Vagary's dam, Vadsagreya, who won over 7f and 1m in France, was one of Galileo's mates in his first season at Coolmore. The outcome was Global Genius, runner-up in the Listed Chesham Stakes (staged at York that year) and subsequently a 7f winner.

This family has delivered several high-class performers in recent years, most notably the Breeders' Cup Mile hero Val Royal and dual Group 1 winners Vahorimix and Valixir. All three were essentially milers, though Valixir was able to claim one Group 2 victory over 1m4f.

On balance, pedigree considerations have to make Chabal a dubious quantity as a Derby candidate, but if pedigree were the be-all-and-end-all of this business, winner-finding would be easy. Let's see him tested more severely in the Dante, when he might just tell us more than we can gauge now from his background.

Bred by L Kelly, Castlemartin & Skymarc Farm in Ireland. _______________________________________________________________________

SIRE: GALILEO

Bred by David Tsui & Orpendale in Ireland. Won 6 (1m-1m4f) of 8 races, viz. 1 (Leopardstown maiden) out of 1 at 2 years, 5 (inc. Irish Derby Trial S.-Gr3, Derby S.-Gr1, Irish Derby S.-Gr1, King George VI & Queen Elizabeth S.-Gr1) out of 7 at 3 years. Also 2nd in Irish Champion S. Earned £1,621,110. RPR 113 at 2, 132 at 3.

Extremely attractive, 16.0 hh, and a splendid mover. Top-notch performer at 1m-1m4f. Effective on all turf surfaces, not on dirt.

Impeccably bred. By the outstanding sire of moderntimes, out of a winner of the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe. Brother to dual Gr1 winner Black Sam Bellamy and Classic-placed Gr3 winner All Too Beautiful, half-brother to Urban Ocean (by Bering; Gr3 winner), My Typhoon (by Giant's Causeway; Gr1 winner), Sea the Stars (by Cape Cross; multiple Gr1 winner) and Melikah (by Lammtarra; Classic-placed Listed winner).

A family replete with top-class runners, inc. King's Best (2,000 Guineas), Anabaa Blue (Prix du Jockey-Club) and Adlerflug (Deutsches Derby).

Stands at Coolmore Stud, Fethard, Co Tipperary, last advertised fee (2007) Euros 150,000. Sire of 6 northern hemisphere crops of racing age, inc. notable winners: Allegretto (Prix Royal-Oak-Gr1), Galatee (Gr3), Heliostatic (Gr3), Nightime (Irish 1,000 Guineas-Gr1), Red Rocks (Breeders' Cup Turf-Gr1, Man o' War S.-Gr1), Sixties Icon (St Leger S.-Gr1), Vendangeur (Gr2), Incanto Dream (Gr2), Mahler (Gr3), Soldier of Fortune (Irish Derby-Gr1, Coronation Cup-Gr1), Teofilo (National S.-Gr1, Dewhurst S.-Gr1), Adored (Gr3), Alandi (Irish St Leger-Gr1, Prix du Cadran-Gr1), Cima de Triomphe (Derby Italiano-Gr1), Dress Rehearsal (Gr3), Gravitation (Gr3), Leo's Starlet (Gr3), Lush Lashes (Coronation S.-Gr1, Yorkshire Oaks-Gr1, Matron S.-Gr1), New Approach (National S.-Gr1, Dewhurst S.-Gr1, Derby S.-Gr1, Irish Champion S.-Gr1, Champion S.-Gr1), Prima Luce (Gr3), Sevenna (Gr3), Sub Rose (Gr3), Age of Aquarius (Gr3), Cuis Ghaire (Gr3), Kite Wood (Gr3), Oh Goodness Me (Gr3), Rip Van Winkle(Sussex S.-Gr1, Queen Elizabeth II S.-Gr1), South Easter (Gr3), Cabaret (Gr3), Cape Blanco (Gr3), Chabal (Gr3). Also sire in Australia of Sousa (Spring Champion S.-Gr1).

DAM: VAGARY

Bred by Gestut Sohrenhof in Ireland. Unraced.

Well bred. By a champion 2-y-o and Classic-winning miler. Half-sister to to Listed-placed winner Global Genius (by Galileo) and to dam of Gr3 winner San Sicharia, Gr2-placed Spin Cycle and Gr3-placed Codeword. Dam winner over 7f and 1m in France, sister or half-sister to 12 other winners. Granddam also granddam of Val Royal (Breeders' Cup Mile) and Gr1-winning miler Vahorimix, great-granddam of dual Gr1 winner Valixir. High-class family, not noted for its stayers.

To stud at 4 years and dam of: Chabal (2007 c by Galileo; Gr3 winner), Chabelle (2008 f by Shirocco; unraced to date). She has a yearling colt by Shirocco, and returned to Galileo in 2009.
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CONCLUSIONS

Returned with a fine effort over 1m2f at Sandown, but cannot be guaranteed to get 1m4f in top company.

 

 

 

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