Atzeni harbouring high hopes for Pierre Lapin

Rider confident Newbury winner can shine in sprint division

  • Monday 23 September
  • News
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Andrea Atzeni expects Pierre Lapin to follow in the hoofprints of his Group One-winning half-brother Harry Angel and develop into a top-class sprinter next season.

The Roger Varian-trained juvenile overcame a near four-month absence on Saturday to maintain his unbeaten record and follow up his debut success in May in the Group Two Mill Reef Stakes at Newbury.

With one Pattern race triumph already in the locker, Atzeni feels the son of Cappella Sansevero will be a more potent force next year with another winter on his back.

Atzeni said: “He is a quite lightly-framed horse, so another winter on his back will only do him good. He is a half-brother to Harry Angel who was a very good three-year-old.

“He has won a Group Two, but the aim will be able to turn him into a Group One horse, which hopefully we can do.

“It looked like he only got going the last 100 yards in the Mill Reef, but that was down to greenness more than anything. He showed a lot of speed in the first part of the race

“He might get seven furlongs, but there are more options over six and I think they could be the target, plus there is big money involved in the sprint races.

“I don’t think the boss has had a really good sprinter, so it is nice to find one.”

The Classic-winning rider believes the patience shown by both Varian and owner Sheikh Mohammed Obaid Al Maktoum was key to allowing Pierre Lapin to take a step up in class in his stride.

He added: “He is a horse that won first time out at Haydock, winning quite impressively and after he won that, the plan was Ascot.

“We thought he was a Coventry horse, but for some reason he started to grow and was a bit light and he wasn’t quite himself.

“Roger and my boss made the brave decision to give him time and it has paid off in the end.

“We all know how important Royal Ascot is, especially to my boss, and we know how important it is to have winners there.

“He could have easily said ‘I want to see my horse in the Coventry’ and we would have run him, but he made a brave call to put him away and give him time and that has been rewarded.”

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