American St Leger scouting report: Wasir
Wasir has bottomless stamina, but his best chance is as a free-wheeling front runner, and he may get more pressure than he likes.
From the yard of Andreas Wohler, who trained Silvano to his 2001 Arlington Million (G1) victory and sent out Wake Forest to his sixth last year, Wasir is a lightly raced four-year-old. Between his stamina-laden pedigree and his late birthday as a May 2 foal, he’s understandably needed time to develop.
Wasir is by 2006 Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (G1) winner Rail Link out of Group 3-placed Wellola. His dam is by Lomitas (famous as the sire of Danedream) and herself a half-sister to Group 1 victor Well Made.
Unraced until last summer, Wasir romped at Bad Harzburg in his third career start. He nearly nicked a Baden-Baden race for graduates of the BBAG yearling sale, only to be nailed by the more experienced Nordic Flight (who was spotting Wasir 11 pounds). Previously the winner of the Iffezheimer Derby-Trial, Nordic Flight had been a 7-1 chance when 15th of 18 in the 2015 German Derby (G1).
Wasir stepped up to 1 3/4 miles on soft ground in last September’s German St Leger (G3). Unable to dictate on the front end after being passed by another committed pacesetter early, he wound up fourth. The BBAG race form held in that Nordic Flight was third, but Wasir was meeting him at level weights this time. Nordic Flight was subsequently bought by OTI Racing and transferred to Lee and Anthony Freedman in Australia, where he’s pointing to the upcoming Spring Carnival as a Cox Plate (G1) hopeful.
Making a quick turnaround for the extended two-mile, three-furlong-plus Silbernes Band at Cologne, Wasir worked his way forward to control the pace as he likes. But he was overtaken in the stretch by the older mare Alwilda and settled for second. The soft ground was an extenuating factor, as well as the fact that he was still strengthening up as a tender sophomore.
Wasir kicked off his four-year-old campaign in the March 3 Nad al Sheba Trophy (G3) at Dubai’s Meydan Racecourse. Racing manager Holger Faust told galopponline.de that he faced challenges in this spot, including the dramatic temperature difference between the German winter and the Persian Gulf emirate, and the shorter trip of about 14 furlongs.
As it happened, Wasir was beaten before those concerns came into play. He missed the break slightly and never found his way to the lead. Wasir simply doesn’t have the acceleration to quicken off the pace, as his one-paced ninth behind Sheikhzayedroad illustrates.
Wasir was unsuited by the heavy ground next time out in the April 1 Prix Right Royal at Maisons-Laffitte, and his early lead meant nothing in the end as he tired to sixth.
Finally Wasir found his optimal conditions in the May 15 Oleander-Rennen (G3) at Berlin’s Hoppegarten. He got good ground, two miles, and the lead, and he made the most of it to spring a 16-1 upset over favored stablemate Alex My Boy, a French Group 2 winner. Walzertakt, also a Group 2 victor in France, was fifth.
The Oleander-Rennen proved that Wasir is a different horse when he’s allowed to bowl along merrily in front on a good surface, and find his comfort zone.
Afterward, Faust commented that Wasir needed to travel because Germany doesn’t offer enough marathon races. Hence his ambitious tilt at the June 16 Gold Cup (G1) at Royal Ascot. The soft ground was against him, and once again, he couldn’t adjust after not securing the early lead. Wasir was also the victim of a very rough passage on the backstretch, but he was never going to mount a serious challenge from that position anyway. Jockey Umberto Rispoli took care of him in the homestretch and he eased home 11th of 17.
Wasir holds an early entry in the 1 3/4-mile Irish St Leger (G1) on September 11 at the Curragh, but Faust’s prior comments hold that he’s really a two-mile aficionado. For that reason, he may find rivals too sharp for him in the American St Leger, especially since there are other pace factors involved. Unless Wasir discovers a new mode of tactical versatility – always possible for a still-progressing colt – he looks likelier for a minor award. But if he manages to clear them early, he can get very bold up front.
Photo courtesy Arlington stakes coordinator Michael Adolphson via Twitter