One Last Dance for Consistent Onesto in Breeders' Cup Turf

Fabrice Chappet with Onesto in Chantilly | Emma Berry

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ARCADIA, USA–Whisper it, and a few people have been doing so since the huddle started growing at Clockers' Corner over the last few mornings, but Onesto (Ire) (Frankel {GB}) should not be overlooked in a potentially red-hot running of the GI Breeders' Cup Turf on Saturday. 

On Monday morning his trainer Fabrice Chappet was one of the few to be found trackside just before sun up at Santa Anita. Though he is fielding his first runner at the Breeders' Cup, he is no stranger to American racing, having worked for a number of years for John Nerud, albeit on the other side of the country. Chappet also saddled Blue Panis (Fr) to be second in the GII Oak Tree Derby at the now-defunct Hollywood Park back in 2010.

A neat chestnut, on the small side compared to a number of Frankel's runners, Onesto is better travelled than many of his fellow competitors, even if that is not immediately apparent from this bare racing record. Born in Ireland at Coolmore, he was sent to Tattersalls in England as a yearling and, retained by his Kentucky-based breeder Diamond Creek Farm at 185,000gns, he was then exported to Florida, mid-pandemic, where he was prepared for the Ocala Spring breeze-up sale. 

Hubert Guy signed the ticket there at $535,000, and Onesto returned to Europe, this time to France, the fourth country in his young life, where he settled into Chappet's Chantilly stable.

Lightly raced but a winner at two, by the spring of his three-year-old season he landed a key Classic trial in the G2 Prix Greffuhle and though the luck of the draw did not go his way in the Prix du Jockey Club, he still managed fifth, before landing the biggest win of his career in the G1 Grand Prix de Paris. 

“Onesto has been very consistent and has always run good races except this year in the Irish Champion,” said Chappet. “He hasn't been lucky all his life, like in the French Derby, but he has always run well, including in the Japan Cup last year. He was seventh but again quite unlucky. So he really has been consistent except for some reason this year in Leopardstown, but then he came back nicely in the Arc.”

Third in the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe, less than two lengths off the winner Ace Impact (Fr), who has already been retired to stud, Onesto has his own stallion berth booked at France's historic Haras d'Etreham, which has been one of his owners for most of his racing career, along with a group which includes Jean-Etienne Dubois and Gerard-Augustin Normand.

Chappet continued, “He looks happy and he travelled well so I'm sure he's going to run a good race. We have to wait for the draw, and he's a horse you want to wait with. We saw what to do in the Arc and we saw what not to do in the Irish Champion this year, because he ran very well in that last year.”

On the horse's impending retirement to stud, he added, “This is what it's about. He's a four-year-old, and we have had two horses going to stud this year, as we had [G1 Prix Jean Prat winner] Good Guess as well, so for a boutique hotel like ours, 80 horses, I am very proud of that.”

Like most of the incoming European contingent, Onesto will be allowed out on to the track on Tuesday, but don't expect to see him scorching the turf. 

“We had to van him from Chantilly to Newmarket, and then he flew from there to Shannon, and then from Ireland to here. He'll trot tomorrow. It's been a long trip so we'll just go easy all week,” said his trainer.

For a seasoned world traveller, that should present no problem for Onesto, who has one last chance to star in the land of his breeder. And he would not be the first member of his family to feature prominently at the Breeders' Cup either. His Juddmonte-bred dam Onshore (GB) (Sea The Stars {Ire}) is a daughter of Kalima (GB) (Kahyasi {Ire}), herself a full-sister to Hasili (GB) whose daughter Banks Hill (GB) (Danehill) won the Filly & Mare Turf in 2001, a feat followed four years later by her full-sister Intercontinental (GB).

 

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