The concept of in-form and out-of-form stables is a familiar one to us all, even if it is never obvious why seemingly all of a particular stable’s inmates should reach a peak of form simultaneously.
One man whose string is currently in the rudest of health is Newmarket trainer Chris Wall. In the period between August Bank Holiday Monday and St Leger day, the Fordham Road handler saddled eight runners who collectively registered three wins, one second and two thirds – while even his two unplaced runners each finished less than four lengths off the winner.
These impressive statistics must have sent Wall off to Doncaster on St Leger Day buoyed by optimism, which proved to be justified when his stable star Premio Loco came with his usual late run in the APC Industrial Services Park Stakes to record the fourth Group 2 victory of his career.
Premio Loco has proved a real flag-bearer for Induna Stables over the past five years. Bought for 19,000gns by Wall in the yearling section of Tattersalls’ December Sale in 2005, Premio Loco has carried the by-now-familiar colours of Bernard Westley with distinction throughout his career. Having broken his maiden as a three-year-old over a mile at Lingfield in April 2007, Premio Loco first began to show his true colours in 2008, winning two good handicaps at Kempton and finishing sixth of the 28 runners in Tazeez’s Cambridgeshire.
The following season saw Premio Loco graduate to stakes class. His seven-race campaign was extremely successful as he finished in the first two every time, winning five races including two Group 2 races in Germany, as well as Listed races at Kempton and Goodwood.
Last year proved similarly rewarding with a Group 2 win at Ascot and a Group 3 success at Newmarket, as well as third place behind Canford Cliffs and Rip Van Winkle in the Sussex Stakes.
Until St Leger Day this year, though, Premio Loco had not been able to get his head in front as a seven-year-old, despite some good placed efforts including another Group 1 third to Canford Cliffs (in the Lockinge).
Now that their splendid horse has reached the winner’s enclosure for the fifth consecutive year, Wall and Westley can plot the rest of his season with renewed optimism – but whatever he does or doesn’t do in the future, the son of the 1989 Breeders’ Cup Turf winner Prized has already proved himself to have been a special bargain.