Wootton bids to provide Bassett with more sweet success in French Classic

12 May 2018

-Scott Burton, Racing Post.

Few stallions get the kind of first season lift-off that Wootton Bassett gained through the exploits of Almanzor, who now resides in the same yard at Normandy's Haras d'Etreham as his sire.

But his third-crop son Wootton has ensured that, even as Almanzor's career on the track came to an end, the son of Iffraaj would still be at the forefront.

Bought by Godolphin at the suggestion of his trainer - long-time ally of Sheikh Mohammed, Alex Pantall - following a wide-margin debut success at Deauville in the colours of his breeders, the Haras de Quetieville, Wootton went a long way to justifying that outlay when streaking clear in the Prix Isonomy.

Having landed the Group 3 Prix de Fontainebleau on reappearance, he now heads the home challenge for Sunday's Emirates Poule d'Essai des Poulains, a race which itself has a fine stallion-making pedigree.

Etreham's Nicolas de Chambure says: "Although he only won up to Listed level last year his two victories were very impressive and so to have another Classic hopeful in just Wootton Bassett's third crop  - all conceived from smaller numbers at lower covering fees - was already great news.

"He was faultless in his comeback run. I don’t know if I would call him the favourite but he is certainly one of the three horses to beat in the race and he has a real chance. It’s very exciting and were Wootton Bassett to get a second Classic winner in three seasons it would be extraordinary."

Not that Wootton is his sire's only Classic hopeful in France this season, with Chambure hoping that Patascoy can carry the flag in the Qipco Prix du Jockey Club after a narrow defeat in the Prix de Guiche, the same Classic trial which set Almanzor on the road to success.

"For me Patascoy has taken some stamina from the dam’s side - the family is German in origin - while Wootton Bassett adds a bit of energy, and of course quality," says Chambure. "He needs a bit of a trip and the other day he would have won with another 100 metres. I hope he will go to the Jockey Club where I think he will have a good chance, while perhaps Wootton might stay over a mile, given his dam was effective over seven furlongs."

The 'sold out' signs have been up for some time at Etreham regarding both Wootton Bassett and Almanzor - who it was recently announced will shuttle to Cambridge Stud in New Zealand this southern hemisphere season - with father capped at 140 mares and son covering 130.

The three-time Group 1 hero's debut book included 25 mares who have either won or produced the winner of a Group 1.

"The fact that Wootton Bassett has been a regular producer of good horses definitely lends credibility to Almanzor as well," says Chambure. "Almanzor has an excellent libido and is very easy to manage so everyone is very happy."

As for Wootton Bassett, the big increase in numbers and the quality of the mares being sent to him can only bode well for future crops