The 2016 Longines World's Best Racehorse Rankings were published this week and of the 47 European juveniles who reached or surpassed the 110 mark required for inclusion, many have already been reviewed here, or will be reviewed in the coming weeks.
Reports on each year's figures tends to focus on the ones mostly highly ranked, but there is a colt among those at the lower end of the list that caught the eye last season and his name kept popping up because of what those he beat on his final start went on to do afterwards.
There are many reasons why those defeated one day may go on to achieve greater things while their earlier conqueror fails to progress, but the colt is a classic-entered and thrice-raced member of the Richard Hannon team and he has a pedigree that suggests he could be a high-class seven to nine furlong horse in the making.
Larchmont Lad was bred by Domenico Fonzo and he is a €110,000 graduate of the Tattersalls Ireland September Yearling Sale, an eye-catching amount for a son of Coolmore Stud's classic star and somewhat underrated stallion Footstepsinthesand (by Giant's Causeway).
The colt has only run over seven furlongs, so far. He beat 11 rivals by three and a quarter lengths and more at Sandown at the start of July, came off worst in a three-way photo for the Listed Weatherbys Stallion Book Flying Scotsman Stakes at Doncaster in September, and then won the Group 3 Tattersalls Stakes at Newmarket 13 days later.
The times of those two blacktype events were unremarkable, which suggests that the form may need to be treated with caution.
He won the Newmarket race by three-parts of a length from Whitecliffsofdover and with Sir Dancealot a short-head back in third. The former is an Aidan O'Brien-trained colt who finished third to National Defense in the Group 1 Qatar Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere on his only subsequent start, and the latter is the David Elsworth-trained colt who then won the Listed Rockingham Stakes at York shortly before finishing a four and a quarter-length sixth to Rivet in the Group 1 Racing Post Trophy.
Best Solution was fourth in the Newmarket race, finishing a half-length behind Sir Dancealot. The Godolphin colt is trained by Saeed bin Suroor, he won the Group 3 Dubai 100 Autumn Stakes on his next start and then chased home Waldgeist in the Group 1 Criterium de Saint-Cloud. He finished only fourth over seven furlongs on dirt at Meydan on Thursday but can be expected to improve on that when returning to turf.
Fifth place at Newmarket went to Law And Order, and although that James Tate-trained colt was well-beaten behind Best Solution over the mile next time out, he dropped back to seven furlongs for his final start and finished third to Pleaseletmewin in a Group 3 contest at Newbury.
Larchmont Lad is the fourth foal out of an unraced mare called Fotini (by King's Best) and his siblings include the capable filly Peticoatgovernment (by Holy Roman Emperor).
She has run 13 times for the Willie McCreery stable, winning a seven-furlong Dundalk maiden and a five-furlong Cork handicap, she was sixth of 19 in the prestigious Scurry Handicap at the Curragh in July and has achieved a peak handicap rating of 88.
Fotini is a half-sister to several multiple winners, most notably the Group 1 Gran Criterium runner-up Spirit Of Desert (by Desert Prince) whose tally of six wins featured the Group 2 Premio Parioli (Italian 2000 Guineas) and three listed events.
Their dam, Nomothetis (by Law Society), is a half-sister to nine winners and, in addition to the notable middle-distance horse Posidonas (by Slip Anchor), they include the Listed Singapore Gold Cup scorer Carry The Flag (by Tenby), pattern-placed stakes winner Final Verse (by Mark Of Esteem), two flat blacktype-placed winners, and a broodmare of note.
The latter is Thermopylae (by Tenby) who, although herself just placed a few times, is the dam of Unsung Heroine (by High Chaparral), the Tommy Stack-trained Group 3 Give Thanks Stakes heroine who chased home Conduit in the Group 1 St Leger at Doncaster and was beaten just a head by Crystal Capella in the Group 2 Pride Stakes at Newmarket from a four-start career.
Posidonas won the Group 1 Gran Premio d'Italia, Group 2 Princess of Wales's Stakes, Group 2 Hardwicke Stakes, Group 3 John Porter Stakes and the Listed Arc Trial Stakes and the races in which he was placed included the Group 1 Gran Premio del Jockey Club and Group 1 Deutschlandpreis.
Footstepsinthesand is a 2000 Guineas winner whose best progeny tend to excel in the six to nine furlong range, although some, for example last year's Group 2 Prix Eugene Adam scorer Heshem and 2014's Peruvian Grade 1 winner Sand Bijou, are just as effective over 10 furlongs.
This combined with having a dam who is a King's Best (by Kingmambo) half-sister to an Italian mile classic winner suggests that Larchmont Lad is another who is likely to show the typical distance range of his sire's progeny, despite the stamina farther back on the page.
He is available at around 40/1 for the Group 1 Qipco 2000 Guineas at Newmarket and although he has plenty of progress to make if he is to be up to winning a strong race at the highest level, he looks like the sort of colt who could make the frame in such races while picking up a variety of pattern events at the lower levels.