By Hugh Fowler, paddock expert
Chicago Bere – the anatomy of a disappointment
This is another in a series I hope to write about Two Year Olds, their confirmation and the effect it has on their ability to run efficiently.
I first saw Chicago Bere at Sandown on 17th September 2014 in an 8f maiden for colts and geldings. A February colt by Peer Gynt, a Japanese stallion out of a USA bred mare. Trained by Richard Hannon with Hughes up, he had only cost £11,000, and starting out in a Class 5 at 5/1 did not bode particularly well; but he looked a decent type as can be seen in the two photos from the day although the more in focus picture does suggest a problem.
In the picture below he looks a splendidly well-muscled and ready to go boy but the area to focus on is the shoulder and neck.
He finished third and the RP report said “ related to several winners, was allowed to dominate at a steady tempo but looked a little green under pressure and was only given a couple of taps with the whip by Hughes. He should improve enough to win a maiden”
This seemed a reasonable conclusion but the run seemed to me to be below par for a horse that looked so fit. Also the price suggested there was not a lot of stable confidence. I took a look at the replay and it was evident that Chicago Bere has a real problem with his nodding action. He does not hold his head so much high as very still. This will impede his ability to take a good in breath.
Next up was a drop to 6f at Kempton where the front end problems are well illustrated by the photograph below. The length from the poll to the withers should be double of that from the throat latch to the point of the chest. Here the second of these dimensions looks more like a third of the poll to withers dimension. Also he is perhaps a little too heavily muscled at the shoulder and his ability to be able to shift his bulk efficiently has to be questioned.
This has the effect of making him very straight at the shoulder. The ideal angle from the point of the withers to the point of the chest is 45% as is illustrated even better in the photo below from his third third at Lingfield in October.
In the interim the Hannon’s had taken him to Longchamp the day before the Arc where in a better race he finished fifty lengths back at 19/5 favourite.
Subsequently he has been dropped into a Class 6 maiden at Wolverhampton where he finished third for the fourth time in his 5 race career.
So with four thirds to his name he looks like a contender to improve as a three year old and will no doubt continue to be supported. Maybe he will win some very low grade race as he is certainly genuine and tries hard but like Quae Supra he has a built in design flaw that is always going to limit him.
With hindsight, his price at only £11k was probably a strong clue that he was not physically correct and a further clue was provided by his SP in his first couple of races. The excursion to Longchamp is a complete mystery.
POST SCRIPT: Chicago Bere has just won a very weak maiden, and may now be an arificially short price on his next few starts.