Onesto Heads Chappet Team of Bright Young Prospects

Group 1 winner Onesto is set to return in the Prix Ganay | Emma Berry


Fabrice Chappet has already bagged one Classic trial this season and, weather permitting, has another two chances of group-race success this weekend with Fortune (Fr) (De Treville {GB}) entered in Sunday's G3 Prix Noailles and Paz (GB) (Siyouni {Fr}) in the G3 Prix de la Grotte.

On April 6, Good Guess (GB) (Kodiac {Fr}) became the trainer's second winner of the G3 Prix Djebel. The first, Dice Roll (GB) (Showcasing {GB}), went on to run third in the G1 Poule d'Essai des Poulains, with that race now the target for Hisaaki Saito's colt, who is a grandson of Cheveley Park Stud's 1,000 Guineas heroine and four-time Group 1 winner Russian Rhythm (Kingmambo)

“He's come out of the race perfectly,” says Chappet of Good Guess, who has been one of the trainer's favourites since his arrival in the yard from Tattersalls, where he was plucked from Book 1 of the October Yearling Sale for 420,000gns by Sebastien Desmontils on behalf of the Japanese owner.

“The good thing about French racing is that it's not run at a crazy pace so horses usually come out of their races better that way. Good Guess was a nice two-year-old and he had a good winter, so all is well so far.”

The current stable star at Chappet's Chantilly stable is Onesto (Ire) (Frankel {GB}), whose 2022 season included victory in the G1 Grand Prix de Paris and G2 Prix Greffulhe as well as splitting Luxembourg (Ire) (Camelot {GB}) and Vadeni (Fr) (Churchill {Ire}) when second in the G1 Irish Champion S.

“He should go to the Prix Ganay first, all being well,” says the trainer of the four-year-old, who runs in the colours of Gerard Augustin-Normand. “There are some good horses in the race but there aren't many options at this time of the year for Group 1 horses in France. But he had a good winter and I'm very happy with him. 

“He had a two-month break at the farm after the Japan Cup. He'll go to the Ganay first and we'll consider the options in Groups 1s in Europe over 2,000m and 2,400m in the first half of the year. We may look at travelling him farther afield in the second part of the season.”

Looking ahead to Sunday, Chappet says of his two runners aiming to prove their Classic potential, “Fortune goes for the Prix Noailles and he's two-for-two. It's his first race of the year but he won twice last year. Paz is two-for-two as well and is a very nice Siyouni filly. It's a bit ground dependent so we will wait to see how much rain they have at Longchamp.”

Chappet tasted Classic success for the first time when Precieuse (Ire) (Tamayuz {GB}) took the Poule d'Essai des Pouliches for Brendan and Anne-Marie Hayes in 2017 before being sold to Peter Brant to continue her career with Chad Brown in America. Since then, Speak Of The Devil (Fr) and Mageva (Fr), both daughters of Wootton Bassett (GB), have been placed in the French Guineas, as well as the aforementioned Dice Roll.

There was also reflected glory to be had when Chappet's former resident Gold Trip (Fr) (Outstrip {GB}), whom he trained to win the G2 Prix Greffulhe two years before Onesto, won the Melbourne Cup for Ciaron Maher and David Eustace last November.

At this time of year, however, life in a training yard is all about looking forward rather than reflecting on the past, and Chappet highlighted to TDN a few members of his juvenile team of 2023 to keep an eye on as summer rolls on.

“We'll have our first two-year-old runners probably at the end of May,” he says. 

“One of my first two-year-olds to run will be a filly called Zeplacetobe (Fr). She's a daughter of Iffraaj (GB) out of Zendia (GB) (New Approach {Ire}) and she shows speed, so she could be the first one to go.”

Zeplacetobe is owned in partnership by Ecurie Hunter Valley and Jean-Etienne Dubois, both of whom are involved in the ownership of Onesto. Dubois and his partners are also to be found behind another new recruit to the stable who has just arrived from Florida and the OBS March Sale.

The colt by Spendthrift Farm's first-season sire Omaha Beach is out of the unraced Two Sugars (Scat Daddy) and was bought by Hubert Guy for $285,000. This is a path that has been taken before with some success as, although Onesto owns a markedly European pedigree, he was bred by the American-based Diamond Creek Farm and, when he failed to reach his reserve when offered as a yearling at Tattersalls, he was exported to the States and sold at Ocala for $535,000 to Guy.

Chappet says of the Omaha Beach colt, “We're quite excited about him. He's a nice colt and looks quite an early type, quite fast.”

He adds, “We didn't use to pay close attention to the breeze-ups in America but then we got Onesto from Ocala so we've been taking another look.”

In regard to the breeze-up sector in general, Chappet continues, “We used to say that it wasn't the best school for French racing because we like the horses to be nice and relaxed going to the races but when you look at the stats, and they are very good stats, and with horses coming through that are showing such promise it has become a much bigger thing. 

“When you buy a yearling you don't know how fast he's going to be able to go, so when they have been through this prep and have come through the breeze and have done a good time, then it is an advantage for a trainer because they have already done a good amount of work and shown that they can handle it. It may not always be the best preparation for French racing but at the same time I think there are also some advantages to the breeze-ups.”

Another juvenile colt who has taken the trainer's eye at this stage is one whose family has had significant updates in the last month courtesy of his dual Group 1-winning half-brother Dubai Honour (Ire) (Pride Of Dubai {Aus}).

“He's not named yet but he is by Invincible Spirit (Ire) out of Mondelice (GB) (Montjeu {Ire}),” Chappet says. “He was bought at Tattersalls and he's a nice sort who should run this summer. He already shows some promise.”

The colt represents a first horse in the Chappet yard for Barbara Banke of Stonestreet Stable, who bought the colt through Ben McElroy for 220,000gns.

Craig Bernick is another American owner now with Chappet, and he has two horses in training there including the juvenile La Landonne (Ire), a No Nay Never half-sister to Derby winner Anthony Van Dyck (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) owned in partnership with Haras d'Etreham. The same duo also owns Lady Glenham (Ire), a Zoffany (Ire) half-sister to Australian Group 1 winner and Widden Stud stallion Russian Camelot (Ire) (Camelot {GB}).

The team at Haras d'Etreham will no doubt be pleased to hear the feedback from the trainer on a quartet of colts in his stable by the farm's first-season sire City Light (Fr), a son of Siyouni (Fr).

“I have four colts by City Light which are nice and I am quite happy with them,” he says. 

He also singles out a colt who has already been optimistically named Winning Formula (Ire). The son of Exceed And Excel (Aus) was bred by Shadwell and sold as a yearling for 350,000gns by Tally-Ho Stud, who bought him as a foal at Goffs for €130,000.

“He also came from Tattersalls and he is for the same owner as Good Guess, Hisaaki Saito,” Chappet notes. “He's another one I like for this summer. Mr Saito is a great supporter and he definitely deserves a nice horse.”

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