Wachman wonders worth recalling
Matt Brocklebank looks back on the careers of some of David Wachman's stable stars following the trainer's decision to retire at the end of the season.
Legatissimo (left): Star filly won three times at Group One level
Recency bias plays a huge role in the world of racing but it's hard to argue against Legatissimo being the standout horse that David Wachman will be remembered for after he hands in his training licence.
The daughter of Danehill Dancer showed only a glimmer of what was to come at three during her light juvenile campaign, finishing a well-held sixth of seven behind Pleascach at Leopardstown on debut before breaking her duck at the Galway Festival, though she did have subsequent Fillies' Mile heroine Together Forever back in fourth in Ballybrit.
She signed off at two with a slightly disappointing second behind Jack Naylor in a Listed race at the Curragh, while her comeback effort when fourth to Stormfly in Leopardstown 1,000 Guineas Trial was a serious step in the wrong direction.
That run was put down to the testing conditions and it was from that point the filly blossomed on quicker ground.
In total 2015 contained three Group One victories including the 1000 Guineas at Newmarket and although her career ended with odds-on defeat at the Breeders' Cup, it was another sterling effort in second at the end of a long, hard campaign.
Like Legatissimo, Curvy's story is one of rapid progression in her Classic campaign during 2015 – even more so in this instance.
The beautifully-bred daughter of Galileo was reportedly on the weak side as a juvenile and it showed in her performances on the track, failing to make the frame in three starts before being put away for the winter.
She entered the handicap ranks at Navan in April from a lowly mark of 72 before following up off a 12lb higher rating and completing the hat trick in the Group Three Gallinule Stakes.
Success over Giovanni Canaletto at the Curragh confirmed that Curvy would attempt to follow in the footsteps of her half-sister Thakafaat and win the Ribblesdale Stakes, and she duly delivered with a one-length defeat of even money favourite Pleascach at Royal Ascot.
She ran to a similar level of form when beaten into third in the Irish Oaks and fourth in the Yorkshire Oaks but ended up producing a career best to win the E. P. Taylor Stakes at Woodbine, despite coming up well short of expectations in her North American prep race at Belmont at the start of October.
Notable for being the only Wachman runner to win Group One races at two and three, Again arguably didn't win as many races as her raw talent suggested she might.
Sired by Danehill Dancer out of French-bred Kahyasi mare Cumbres – herself an unraced half-sister to Montjeu – Again was unsurprisingly ideally suited to soft ground, though her maiden win came at the second time of asking on good to firm going at the Curragh in July 2008.
Victories in the Debutante Stakes and top-class Moyglare Stud Stakes followed, but circumstances conspired against her when drawn 17 in the Group One Prix Marcel Boussac at Longchamp on Arc weekend.
Her physical stature always suggested Again would continue to thrive as he matured and she looked to have the world at her feet when given a brilliant Johnny Murtagh ride to beat Lahaleeb in the Irish 1,000 Guineas on her seasonal return in 2009.
However, that very hard race on heavy ground perhaps just took too much out of her as she failed to make any sort of impact when pitched against Newmarket winner Ghanaati in the Ribblesdale and, despite a summer break over July and August, two subsequent outings left the impression she was never going to regain her previous sparkle.
Unlike the aforementioned trio, Bushranger was pure speed and pure two-year-old.
He wasted no time in getting a win on the board with a neck victory over Tommy Stack's Nubar Lady on his Tipperary debut and he found only shock 100/1 winner Flashmans Papers too good when sent off favourite for the 2008 Windsor Castle Stakes at Royal Ascot on his second career outing.
A return to the winner's enclosure in the Group Three Anglesey Stake prompted connections to look for Group One glory and although Mastercraftsman and Art Connoisseur had his measure in the Phoenix Stakes in July, the son of Danetime enjoyed top-class glory the following month in the Prix Morny, as well as the Middle Park Stakes at Newmarket.
A trip to Santa Anita at the Breeders' Cup backfired, where the extended mile and synthetic surface in the Juvenile were totally against him.
It was downhill from there as he returned with three fairly low-key efforts the following year, a visor being tried to no avail in the Golden Jubilee Stakes before his ninth to Regal Parade in the Betfred Sprint Cup basically confirmed that he simply hadn't trained on.
Duntle's most memorable day in the spotlight unfortunately came when being disqualified from first place in the Group One Matron Stakes, but it would be unfair to recall her based purely on the decision of the Leopardstown stewards in September 2012.
The recurring theme among Wachman's training highlights is the ability to improve horses in a short space of time and this filly, another daughter of Danehill Dancer, is a remarkable case on point.
She only raced once as a two-year-old, beaten 14 lengths into sixth in a back-end maiden won by Twirl, and yet she returned a completely different filly with an 18-length demolition job in a Dundalk maiden the following April.
She was fourth in the Derrinstown Stud 1,000 Guineas Trial but a gutsy half-length victory in the Sandringham Handicap at Royal Ascot initiated what would have been a five-race winning spree had she kept the race in the Matron, while she also went on to put up fantastic efforts when second to Elusive Kate in the Prix Rothschild at Deauville and third behind Sky Lantern in the Sun Chariot Stakes at Newmarket, which turned out to be her final outing in public.