Valadero has some big boots to fill as he bids to provide prominent owners Amo Racing with back-to-back victories in the Pertemps Network EBF Brocklesby Stakes at Doncaster on Saturday.
The five-furlong contest for unraced two-year-olds is the traditional curtain-raiser to the British turf Flat season and was won in brilliant style 12 months ago by Persian Force.
The Richard Hannon-trained colt went on to carry the purple and white silks of Kia Joorabchian’s group to big-race success in the Group Two July Stakes before being placed in three successive Group Ones and finishing fourth at the Breeders’ Cup, after which he was retired for stud duties.
Having made three entries earlier in the week, Amo Racing’s representative in this year’s Brocklesby is Starspangledbanner colt Valadero, who cost the team €250,000 as a yearling and is now under the tutelage of Lambourn-based trainer Dominic Ffrench Davis.
While he has plenty to live up to, connections are hopeful of a bold showing on Town Moor.
Amo’s racing and operations manager, Tom Pennington, said: “Persian Force was obviously an incredibly special horse who was verging on Group One standard.
“Valadero is a very nice colt who has been very straightforward to deal with and his work’s been good.
“We sat down as a team this week, we had the three entries and there’s a long season ahead.
“This horse will go there in A1 condition. I wouldn’t say we’re confident, but he does go there in very good shape.”
Persian Force is not the only high-class recent winner of the Brocklesby, with 2021 scorer Chipotle going on to score at Royal Ascot and 2016 victor The Last Lion striking Group One gold in the Middle Park Stakes before the end of his juvenile campaign.
Pennington added: “There’s 17 other runners on Saturday, all unraced and everyone thinks they’ve got a good one. It’s difficult in this sort of ground as well – which horse will handle it best?
“Winners of the Brocklesby used to be first half of the season wonders, but now they tend to go all the way through.”
John Quinn likes what he has seen at home from Ribchester colt Sankari, but fears he is not well placed in stall one.
He said: “He’s a nice sort of horse. I don’t know about the ground, but we’ll find out.
“I’m not mad about the draw, but there we are. He’s fit and he’s well and we’ll see how we go.”
Tom Dascombe has enjoyed his fair share of juvenile success over the years and is looking forward to saddling Old Chums – a son of Kodiac out of Listed-winning mare Magical Dreamer.
“He’s owned by a wonderful group of friends and I sincerely hope that he’s pretty useful,” said the Lambourn-based trainer.
“He has a fantastic attitude, he’s going to give me his best, I’m pretty sure he’ll handle the ground and I’m really looking forward to watching him run.
“His dam handled soft ground, Kodiacs generally handle soft ground and he’s pretty quick – it’s as simple as that.
“I’m sure there’ll be half a dozen better than him, but we’ve got to start somewhere.”
Magna Grecia colt Loaded Gun is prominent in the market for Andrew Balding, while Karl Burke’s Indication Call and Bellarchi from Grant Tuer’s yard both carry the colours of Nick Bradley Racing.
Doddie’s Impact (Robyn Brisland) and Go To Work (David Evans) also feature in what promises to be an informative affair.