New Kids on the Champions Series Block: Earthlight
25 Nov 2019
The Andre Fabre-trained youngster won all five of his races in 2019 and signed off with successive Group 1 victories
Earthlight ended the year with an unblemished record. Picture: Racingfotos.com
Trainer: Ande Fabre. Form: 11111
Blue was the colour in many of the top juvenile races in 2019 as young colts owned by Godolphin rose to the fore.
Pinatubo, trained by Charlie Appleby, was the star of the show. He won all six of his races and reeled off successive victories in the Chesham Stakes, Richmond Stakes, National Stakes and Dewhurst Stakes. More of him another day.
Godolphin ended the year with another ace in their pack with Earthlight also stamping himself as among the best of his generation.
He won each of his five races for serial French champion trainer Andre Fabre on a variety of ground and, like Pinatubo, has the QIPCO 2000 Guineas on his agenda.
It promises to be a clash to savour provided Sheikh Mohammed gives the pair to green light to run at Newmarket on May 2 in what will be the first QIPCO British Champions Series race of the year.
Fabre has twice landed the QIPCO 2000 Guineas – with Zafonic in 1993 and Pennekamp in 1995 – and believes the first Classic of the year is tailor-made for Earthlight.
Like Pinatubo, he is a son of leading Darley sire Shamardal and he gained experience of the Rowley Mile when landing the six-furlong Juddmonte Middle Park Stakes in late September.
He won by only a neck from Golden Horde but Mickael Barzalona, his jockey, always seemed to have matters under control as he swept to the front after being settled in mid-division.
“I was very confident all the way, as he was travelling easily and I know he (Barzalona) still had something under the saddle, so I was confident,” Fabre said afterwards.
It had been a similar story in the Darley Prix Morny at Deauville the previous month when Earthlight beat Raffle Prize by a neck. The runner-up had previously won the Queen Mary and Duchess Of Cambridge Stakes, plus would subsequently go close in the Cheveley Park Stakes.
Earthlight again showed plenty of pace and a good attitude to take the Group 1 prize, confirming the promise of three earlier victories during the summer.
He has yet to race beyond six furlongs but his breeding points to a mile and further suiting him even better. His dam, Winters Moon, was effective at up to a mile and a quarter and his siblings include Wavering, a Group 1 winner over that trip.
After the Middle Park, Fabre was asked if he thought Earthlight would stay a mile. He said: “For sure, he could even go a bit further. We’ll prepare for the [QIPCO 2000] Guineas, see what happens – he is the right type, but he will go further, he will get a mile and a quarter.
“He will go back home, idle, eat well and sleep – he usually does. We just felt it [six furlongs) was a bit sharp for him, but he has a lot of class and I was confident.”
Assessing a clash with Pinatubo in the Guineas, Fabre added: “Sheikh Mohammed is a sportsman and he wouldn’t mind one running one against another, but we will see.
“It [coming to Newmarket] was not only for that [to get an experience of the track], but it’s a nice race to win for a good two-year-old. He is well-bred and is good looking with a good temperament and he showed early that he is good like all the good two-year-olds.
“He would have a prep race for the Guineas, as he is stocky heavy horse that needs some work. It would probably be in France, ground depending.”