Prixdelahorse Tracker – Sierro Dino
I will attempt to keep this post brief as I am well aware that we are in the midst of the Flat season and now that the Grand Steeple meeting at Auteuil has passed, the Jumps game will take a back seat for a few months. However, occasionally I come across a horse running over hurdles who just looks the part and is worthy of mention. The last time this happened was St Donats and he went on to win the Grade 1 for 3-year-olds at Auteuil in November, but that’s some shameless after timing on my part and this horse has a long way to go before he can be considered in that kind of bracket. Perhaps surprisingly this horse did not run at Auteuil this weekend. I enjoy the Grand Steeple meeting enormously, but this is the pinnacle of French jumps racing, everything is fully tuned up and targeted to run at the meeting and so it is less likely that a horse will find improvement from this. I’ve always preferred to look at the Racing away from the Metropolitan tracks, primarily because there are fewer sets of eyes watching these races and that can give me a significant edge. So, this 3-year-old comes from the mixed card at La Teste on Monday 22nd May. It was an early card and with all the excitement of the weekend, it probably generated only limited interest, but his debut run was worthy of note, and he looks to be a winner in waiting.
As his name might suggest, he is a son of Doctor Dino out of the mare Sierra Nevada, who won 4-times over obstacles including the Listed Prix Jean Bart Hurdle at Auteuil in 2016. He is her second foal, having an older half-brother (Saint Sire) who has won twice over obstacles at Nimes, and she is a half-sister to 5 winners and Quick Martin, who is now standing at stud. It’s a National Hunt pedigree and he has the physique of a typical son of Doctor Dino, although my first impression from the paddock camera was that he may still have some growing to do to fill his frame.
This wasn’t the deepest 3-year-old hurdle that I have ever seen, but we did have previous winners in the field to at least give us a guide to the form going forwards. The race started at a muddling pace but as they headed out for the final circuit, Angelo Zuliani decided to inject some speed and sent his mount, Boreal Peral, to the front. He was as much as 15-lengths ahead when they jumped the 3rd last but paid for those exertions and despite jumping the last in front, he was readily reeled in as he tired on the run-in. The winner, With the Stars, chased him down in the closing stages and was able to use his Flat experience to good effect against the tiring leader. He had won a race at Nantes over hurdles in April and looked the most polished individual in the field, but close behind him at the line came Sierro Dino.
Having settled in rear, he was given an educational ride by Johnny Charron but once they turned for home, he readily picked up when asked and came past several rivals to finish a never nearer second, 3 lengths behind the winner. He ran a time of 30s exactly from the second last to the line, over a second quicker than the winner and matching the time posted by the impressive 4-year-old hurdle winner later on the card (Bakala). He was an obvious eyecatcher for those that were watching (I have put a link to the France-Galop replay at the bottom of this post) and has shown more than enough to suggest he is capable of winning next time with this experience under his belt and a more prominent ride. The time figure is good, but it was the professional manner that he showed to pass horses in the straight and to quicken without the stick being required that caught my eye. He finished the race in the manner of a horse who enjoyed the task and although the racing in the South can sometimes lack the depth of the Paris tracks, there was enough substance to the form of With the Stars to offer encouragement for his future.
Isabelle Gallorini does very well with her string, and it should be noted that she has a very good record at La Teste, with 4 winners from just 12-runners and so there may be some significance to her starting Sierro Dino here. Will he be sold? Well, it is always a possibility with a promising French Juvenile hurdler, and I have certainly seen 3-year-olds with far less promise change hands after their debuts. He is owned by the Guedj family, and they do keep runners in France, so there is a good chance that he will remain in France, at least for the time being and apart from Jigme, there doesn’t appear to be an enormous amount of depth to this year’s 3-year-old crop, and he could develop into one of the better types.