It’s not been the easiest of transitions from juvenile to three-year-old, but over the past few weeks conditions have turned in his favour and Belardo has started to show his true worth.
He won the Dewhurst 12 months ago, thumping Kodi Bear in the process, and it appears that soft ground in October is all that was needed for Roger Varian’s colt to turn things around. A fast finishing third at Newmarket in the Group 2 Dubai Challenge Stakes was backed up in style on Saturday when he got nearer than any other to French star miler Solow. He needed much of the mile trip to get into top gear, but as at Newmarket, was flying late on.
His trainer was clearly thrilled to see such a return to form, saying: “I’m delighted the horse has reminded us what a talent he was at this time last year. He has turned up and put up a high-level performance again. The horse has made a case for staying in training next year.” With every chance of staying further in time, it would come as no surprise to see Belardo challenging for the Qipco Champion Stakes next October.
The key to the son of Lope de Vega is clearly the ground. His father is having a fruitful period of late. A stallion who resides at Ballylinch Stud in Ireland, he was trained by Andre Fabre in France during his racing career. His three-year-old campaign in 2010 proved a major triumph with success in both the French Guineas and the French Derby. The latter was a stunning victory by three lengths, a record winning distance since the race was shortened in 2005.
Of his offspring, Belardo has proved the highlight to date, but a promising juvenile resides with one of this summer’s most successful young trainer’s. Hugo Palmer trains Mengli Khan, who like Belardo is a son of Lope de Vega out of a Danehill mare. The colt was last seen storming to success in a Nottingham maiden on testing ground.
He’s a huge beast who ran very green that day, but boy can he gallop. Harry Bentley was on board and did well to straighten him out in the final furlong. He had tons in hand and beat a promising newcomer from Sir Michael Stoute’s yard. Palmer has him entered in the Racing Post Trophy on Saturday at Doncaster, and should the ground come up soft he’d be a really interesting proposition.
Blue De Vega is another from the production line that looks to have an exciting future. A two-year-old in the care of Michael O’Callaghan in County Kildare, the horse destroyed a decent field at Naas last month, winning by just shy of five lengths. It’s hoped the colt will become a serious Irish Guineas contender next spring.
A colt that finished ahead of Mengli Khan at Newmarket in September is the John Gosden trained Linguistic. Also by Lope De Vega out of a Montjeu mare, the horse is owned by Godolphin and should prove a big hit when stepped up in trip next spring.
It would come as no surprise to see these youngsters campaigned in France next year in search of suitable ground. Belardo may be the current flag bearer, but several of these have the potential to reach the very top.
Like stud companions Dream Ahead, Intense Focus and Lawman, this classy stallion is sure to become a huge hit in the coming years.