Arlington Million scouting report: Tryster
By past Godolphin star (and noted Darley sire) Shamardal, Tryster hails from the yard of Charlie Appleby. He didn’t set the world alight earlier in his career on turf, and had to get class relief at Brighton to break his maiden. But once Tryster resurfaced on synthetic, he was a revelation. He reeled off a five-race winning spree culminating in the Winter Derby (G3) and lucrative Easter Classic in early 2015. Tryster tried to transfer his winning habit to turf next time in the Brigadier Gerard (G3), but he trailed home last of five, renewing skepticism about his aptitude for the surface. Appleby reportedly believed that the race – a small field, tactical affair – simply didn’t set up well for the deep closer.
Freshened for four months, Tryster resumed with a late-running victory back on the Chelmsford City all-weather last September. He embarked for Dubai in hopes of developing into a World Cup (G1) contender, only to display a distaste for dirt in his training.
So Appleby gave him another shot on turf at the 2016 Dubai Carnival, and Tryster finally showed that he can deploy his trademark acceleration on the lawn too. With last-to-first panache, he annihilated the field in the February 16 Dubai Millennium (G3) at his preferred 10-furlong trip, and came right back to add the March 5 Jebel Hatta (G1) at about nine furlongs:
The caveat about both of his Meydan wins was the class of his opponents – a mixed bunch of handicappers and exposed types along with a couple of useful South Africans. Could Tryster pass an entire field of Group 1-quality performers? He couldn’t quite meet that threshold when closing for third to Japan’s Real Steel and Euro Charline in the Dubai Turf (G1) on World Cup night:
Tryster was handed an ambitious assignment in his first start back in England in the June 15 Prince of Wales’s (G1) at Royal Ascot. Although back up to his 10-furlong wheelhouse, he was always going to find it difficult to make up ground on the likes of Japan’s A Shin Hikari and Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) heroine Found. As it turned out, both lost – A Shin Hikari flopped ignominiously, and Found lost a heartbreaking squeaker to the 16-1 My Dream Boat. Tryster was also compromised by the soft going, much like classy veteran The Grey Gatsby, who edged him by a neck for fourth. Tryster spun his wheels while barely avoiding a last-place finish by nipping A Shin Hikari on the line.
The Arlington Million has been Appleby’s long-range plan. It makes perfect sense as a 1 1/4-mile Grade 1 on a left-handed track where he has a fair chance of getting good ground. Rain would put a damper on his hopes. Although a fast pace would theoretically play into his hands, he’s turned in ferocious closing fractions off a slow pace too. This presents a much deeper field than the ones he beat in Dubai, though, and he’ll still have to pass a number of smart horses to win. Tryster tends to break slowly as well, but he’s going to drop back to last early regardless. And he will be rattling late.
Photo courtesy Andrew Watkins/Dubai Racing Club