You cannot solely judge a horse on its pedigree. My favorite Juvenile of recent years is Tiger Tanaka and if she had been priced on her pedigree alone, she would have been 200/1 to win the Marcel Boussac. Yes, I know that I "crow bar" her in to a lot of these blog posts, but she's the horse I feel most affinity with and it's always an easy example. By contrast, for every superstar that emerges from a humble bloodline, there are plenty with so called "Royalty" in their veins who fail to reach the heights of their illustrious relatives. The 4th horse in this short series fits into the latter category and as a half-sister to 2020 Arc winner Sottsass, she is French racing Royalty and it will be fascinating to see if she can deliver on her pedigree.
Snowpark - 2YO Filly
Trainer: Jean-Claude Rouget
Owner: Ecurie Des Monceaux
Breeding: Dubai x Starlet’s Sister (Galileo)
Winner 2YO Debutantes Maiden at Deauville - 1m Soft - 20.10.2022
Breeding: 7th Foal. Dam 4-race maiden with French rating 33k. Full-sister to Pure Dignity (Roger Varian), half-sister to 4 winners, notably 2020 Arc winner Sottsass and multiple US Grade 1 winner SisterCharlie. Grand-Dam G1 placed in US, Dam of Prix Saint-Alary 3rd Anabaa’s Creation.
Form: Broke well from inside draw, settled behind leader around turn for home. Had to wait for gap to appear but quickened readily to come between runners under hands ride in final furlong to win a shade cosily. Ran final 2-furlongs in 11.48 and 11.82s. Placed horses have yet to race again, but 4th was beaten 1-length in Chantilly maiden on next start. Overall time of 1:48.32 was 2s slower than Colts and Geldings races over the same C&D won by stablemate Valimi (see related articles), but Snowpark was 0.27s quicker than Valimi from the 3-furlong pole to the line.
Comments: The 20th October 2022 could prove to be a crucial day for Jean-Claude Rouget as he debuted 2 horses who are arguably his strongest Classic hopes for 2023. Snowpark was extremely professional and it was eye-catching to see an inexperienced filly quicken through a relatively narrow gap to put the race to bed in a matter of a few strides. Valimi produced the big time performance, but Snowpark looked to win the more competitive race and although it’s an old cliche, anything she was able to do as a Juvenile was always going to be a bonus. Sottsass only won a Clairefontaine maiden as a Juvenile and Roger Varian did not give her full sister her debut until she was 3, winning a Newmarket maiden in June 2022. She is bred to stay further and to come into her own as a 3-year-old, but this start will have delighted her connections.
Following the race, Jean-Claude Rouget told Jour de Galop “Halfway down the straight, I thought she would finish fourth or fifth. I rather expected the filly to run well but to improve in the future.. Like Erevann, she certainly has an aptitude for soft ground and when you have progeny of Dubawi in your stable, it's extraordinary: they never show anything in the morning, but in the afternoon… I love these horses. In addition, this victory is a nod to Sottsass, it's magnificent!”
With a pedigree like this, there are clearly going to be some very high expectations, but she could do no more than win on debut and the Classics will surely be the aim until her form proves otherwise.