World Class: Vadamos win a boost for A Shin Hikari

A Shin Hikari Mardi 24 Mai 2016;Chantilly

Prix Messidor-winner Vadamos was well beaten by A Shin Hikari in May

  PICTURE: ScoopDyga  

 By Sam Walker 13:30PM 18 JUL 2016 

A SHIN HIKARI is an enigma. He was bitterly disappointing at Royal Ascot last month, finishing last of six, but the form of his mammoth win in the Prix d’Ispahan in May has been boosted all over the place.

Last week it was the turn of Vadamos to provide a shot in the arm to the Chantilly form, running out a cosy three-length winner of the Prix Messidor with an RPR of 120+.

That success was his fourth since joining Andre Fabre and the progressive five-year-old looks capable of making his mark at Group 1 level later in the year.

If he does go on to win a Group 1, it would mean A Shin Hikari’s Prix d’Ispahan success came against seven horses who either had already won or went on to win at the highest level – and the French judge reckons he beat them all by ten lengths plus.

Better by the week

If you believe that margin (you shouldn’t, as it was eight lengths max) the straight-line merchants would now have A Shin Hikari down as a 140+ performer – effectively he’d be the best horse since Frankel.

But then the horse himself completely bombed out at Ascot, which suggests either something was wildly wrong in the Prince Of Wales’s Stakes or that we can’t entirely trust that impossibly impressive win in France.

The Prix d’Ispahan form looks better and better by the week and if the winner himself had not run at Ascot we might all be getting giddy over what A Shin Hikari might be capable of.

The d’Ispahan has now thrown up My Dream Boat (fifth), who won the Prince of Wales’s Stakes next time, Silverwave (third) and Erupt (ninth) who finished first and second in the Grand Prix de Saint Cloud next time and now Vadamos (fourth).

When you throw in the fact that runner-up Dariyan arrived on the back of a win in the Prix Ganay (where Silverwave was second), the barebones of the form is ridiculously strong.

One the got away?

But A Shin Hikari has never run within 10lb of even the more cautious rating of 131 he was given on RPRs for his French win. So was it just down to a peculiar cocktail of circumstances that flattered him?

Was that his day, when class, pace, fitness and ground conditions fell perfectly for him to showcase his speed? The truth is we won’t know whether any horse in history could have beaten the Japanese star on that day. But will he ever do it again?

The funny thing is if he retired after that huge win he might have gone down in folklore. He would have been considered Japan’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe winner that got away (even though he was not being aimed at that race).

People would have compared him to Frankel. Yes, Frankel won the Queen Anne Stakes by 11-lengths, but would Sir Henry Cecil’s superstar have beaten A Shin Hikari in that race under those conditions?

Future plans

The current world leader may never get such an opportunity again and if he’d retired there and then he may not have needed to find such an opportunity. But in running and losing tamely there is now a big question mark over that huge performance.

The suggestion is that he may now chart a similar path to last year, with a run in the Mainichi Okan in October being a potential stepping stone to his main target, the Tenno Sho Autumn in November.

If he gets back on track in his home country he may then return to Sha Tin in December in a bid to emulate last year’s Hong Kong Cup success, where he posted an RPR of 121.

At present there is no suggestion he will hit that highest of high notes again this season. But look back at the Chantilly form and there’s little question it was a quite spectacular success.

Overseas target?

Back to Sunday’s winner Vadamos and he should be destined for Group 1 company for the rest of the season.

France is looking pretty smart in the mile division at present, with Zelzal (122) making great strides among the three-year-olds, while the sidelined champ Solow (125) could still make it back before the end of the season.

However, Vadamos looks capable of holding his own. His record on good ground since joining Fabre is four from four and he showed a nice turn of foot on the weekend, which suggests races like the Hong Kong Mile and Breeders’ Cup Mile could be on his radar at the end of the season.

The Hong Kong Mile has a ten year average winning RPR of 123.5, with a high of 128 and a low of 119. The Breeders’ Cup Mile has an average of 122.9, with a high of 127  and a low of 120. Vadamos can be thereabouts.

TOP OF THE CLASS: Vadamos 120 Andre Fabre (Fr) (Prix Messidor, Maisons-Laffitte, 1m, 17 July)


Name (country trained)RaceRating
1A Shin Hikari (Jpn)Prix d’Ispahan131T
2Frosted (US)Metropolitan Handicap130D
3California Chrome (US)Dubai World Cup127D
4Postponed (GB)Sheema Classic/Coronation Cup126T
 Winx (Aus)Doncaster Mile126T
6Aerovelocity (HK)Centenary Sprint Cup125T
 Fascinating Rock (Ire)Tattersalls Gold Cup125T
 Limato (GB)Darley July Cup125T
 Nyquist (US)Kentucky Derby125D
10Chautauqua (Aus)Black Caviar Lightning124T
 Galileo Gold (GB)St James’s Palace Stakes124T
 Harzand (Ire)Derby124T
 My Dream Boat (GB)Prince Of Wales’s Stakes124T
Terravista (Aus)Black Caviar Lightning124T
 Time Test (GB)Brigadier Gerard124T
 Werther (HK)QEII Cup124T


Name (country trained)RaceRating
1A Shin Hikari (Jpn)Prix d’Ispahan131
2Postponed (GB)Sheema Classic/Coronation Cup126
 Winx (Aus)Doncaster Mile126
4Aerovelocity (HK)Centenary Sprint Cup125
 Fascinating Rock (Ire)Tattersalls Gold Cup125
 Limato (GB)Darley July Cup125
7Chautauqua (Aus)Black Caviar Lightning124
 Galileo Gold (GB)St James’s Palace Stakes124
 Harzand (Ire)Derby124
 My Dream Boat (GB)Pricne Of Wales’s Stakes124
 Terravista (Aus)Black Caviar Lightning124
 Time Test (GB)Brigadier Gerard124
 Werther (HK)QEII Cup124


Name (country trained)RaceRating
1Frosted (US)Metropolitan Handicap130
2California Chrome (US)Dubai World Cup127
3Nyquist (US)Kentucky Derby125
4Effinex (US)Oaklawn Handicap122
 Exaggerator (US)Preakness Stakes122
6Taris (US)Humana Distaff121
7Exaggerator (US)Kentucky Derby120
8Creator (US)Belmont Stakes119
 Destin (US)Belmont Stakes119
 Salutos Amigos (US)Carter Handicap119
 Songbird (US)Las Virgenes119

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