US-based handler Christophe Clement has reflected on his Royal Ascot experience and admits he was “slightly disappointed” Pizza Bianca was unable to land a telling blow in the Coronation Stakes.
The team behind the three-year-old filly headed across the Atlantic full of confidence on the back of a victory in the valuable Hilltop Stakes at Pimlico in May and their claims were boosted by the fact the daughter of Fastnet Rock had already claimed the scalp of 1000 Guineas heroine Cachet when scooping the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf at Del Mar in November.
However, having been held up in the early part of the race, Jose Ortiz’s mount was unable to make up the required ground at the business end of the contest and although finishing off strongly, was only able to claim eighth place behind the impressive Inspiral.
Despite that raiding mission not going to plan, Clement believes there is still plenty left for the Bobby Flay-owned filly to achieve on home soil and has outlined a possible target at Saratoga he will be pointing Pizza Bianca towards.
“Of course, I was slightly disappointed, but I do not think she ran that bad a race. I just thought she was a few lengths behind the form I was expecting her to show,” said Clement.
“She’s back in the States and is doing well, I’m planning on giving her her first work back in the coming week and we will go from there.
“She has plenty of targets, there are plenty of races for her to run in, but at the moment she will most probably run in a Group race at Saratoga, the first one is the Lake George, which is a Group Three on July 22 and also a race maybe on August 1.”
Clement also had no luck with his other runner at the Royal meeting as Slipstream finished a lowly 17th of the 20 that went to post for the Commonwealth Cup.
However, he had nothing but praise for the experience and was grateful for all the assistance he received during his time in the UK, which included reliving his days as assistant to Luca Cumani as both Pizza Bianca and Slipstream were stabled in the Bedford House Stables Cumani operated from.
“Everything was done to make our life as easy as possible and it was a great experience,” he explained.
“I had five days in Newmarket to train the horses, everything was very smooth and both horses were stabled at Bedford House, which I know very well having spent four years there before and everything was as easy as could be.
“Unfortunately, the two horses were just a bit below form, so if I come back, I will need to find a way to be more competitive.”