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Paco Boy – Europe’s future mile champion?
by Franco Raimondi / Globeform
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The English trained Paco Boy, who closed his three-year-old season with a deeply impressive win at Longchamp on the eve of the ‘Arc’ last year, is a top-class performer with a diary filled with Group 1 events only this season. First stop is the Dubai Duty Free (G1) on World Cup night at Nad Al Sheba.

It will be his seasonal debut but do not underestimate the sharpness of this guy. Paco Boy won first time out in 2008, when he kept on improving and ended up in the winners’ circle five times. Some say there’e even better to come.

The Richard Hannon trained colt outclassed his rivals in the Prix de la Foret (G1) in Paris last October. Racing with great zest, he justified strong support from English gamblers, to beat the French filly Natagora by 3 lengths. In the spring, she had snugged the best English fillies in the 1,000 Guineas (G1) at Newmarket, at a time when Paco Boy was seen as ‘a smart horse though probably not top class’. How wrong many experts were. Paco Boy graduated from wins in the Spring Cup (LR) at Lingfield (on Polytrack) and Greenham Stakes (G3) at Newbury, to land Group 2 events at Goodwood and Newbury, and finally took the Prix de la Foret, where he came with a strong run from off the pace to lead 300 metres from the winning post.

All these races were over 7 furlongs, or 1400 metres if you like, but Paco Boy’s late kick indicates that he will stay further. After winning in Paris, his connections considered sending him to California for the Breeders’ Cup Mile (G1), but discussions led to the decision to give him a well-earned winter rest instead. Having beaten stars like Natagora, US Ranger, African Rose and Stimulation (in the Hungerford Stakes, G2), Paco Boy sure had earned it. He won two of his three races as a juvenile and, judged on form ratings, Paco Boy improved well over fifteen lengths from November 2007 to October 2008. He is now one of the best horses in training in Europe, and by many tipped to be this year’s champion miler.

Will he stay the Dubai Duty Free distance of 1777 metres, just shy of nine furlongs? That is the obvious question, as Paco Boy locks horns with Archipenko, Kip Deville, Hyperbaric and Vodka. His pedigree says that he might. A son of Desert Style, Paco Boy is a full-brother to two previous winners; Fuel Cell, who won over 10 furlongs on the flat and has also been successful over hurdles in England, and Zacholiv, a 7-furlong winner in Ireland at three.

Published: 2009-03-15 09:03:21

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