Last year in Hong Kong

Skalleti was stressed out before the race as he made the 40 minute journey by lorry to from the quarantine stable to Sha Tin racecourse. He is not used to doing that just before a race and wasn’t happy.

Sha Tin has a very impressive pre parade and parade ring – he was a bit anxious, on his toes. He missed the break, meaning Pierre-Charles had to go faster than ideal to catch up in the early stages. Suddenly they slowed down, meaning he then pulled, not happy, on very firm ground.

He didn’t run that badly, just two lengths behind Magical, but later we found he was slightly lame on the left hind leg and he had a minor bleed – despite never having bled before.

At this level you need horses to be on the top of their game and despite a good prep out there, he was too stressed on D-Day.

Back to winning ways in 2021

Coming back to France, he lost plenty of condition and until mid-January I wasn’t very happy with him. He was stiff for his first canters.

We then changed his shoeing, from nail to glue shoes, which improved his way of moving from week to week.

At the end of February I was beginning to consider his reappearance in the Prix Exbury at Saint-Cloud.

I was a bit concerned on the day that he might repeat his Hong Kong raceday behavior, but he was fine. He had his soft ground and plenty of pace. He was able to settle, getting a nice run and able to cut the cheese on the inside, winning very well.

Targets this season

Because of Covid-19, it was difficult to build up his program last year. We raced him over shorter trips to ensure he wouldn’t be too keen in his bigger targets last autumn. When stepped up to his trip he then beat the Prix de l’Arc winner Sottsass in the Prix Gontaut-Biron at Deauville.

After his Prix Dollar win we kept him at Chantilly for two weeks before Ascot and we might look to do the same series of races this year.

His main spring target is the €300,000 Group One Prix Ganay on May 2nd and he will be given a little rest afterwards. The Group Two Prix d’Harcourt this Sunday is a very good option for him beforehand on Longchamp’s opening day, as the ground and track will be to his liking. There are showers forecast for this weekend.

In the morning he is doing much less than when he was younger, and although he is very easy to get ready, as we saw at Saint-Cloud, it would be logical to run in the Harcourt.

The Ganay can be run on very firm ground in early May and we would not want to miss the Harcourt and then aim solely for the Ganay on fast ground.

The weather will dictate what we do but as things stand it looks like being two more races for Skalleti this spring.

We are not mad on winning Group Ones, as he has been gelded, but an obvious objective this autumn would be to seek revenge on Addeybb back at Ascot for the Champion Stakes on soft ground.

Which jockey?

Pierre-Charles Boudot has been riding Skalleti. When he is not available, Maxime Guyon also knows the horse well, but if there happened to be a Wertheimer-owned horse in opposition, I would need to look again!