One would not expect a son of Kendargent (by Kendor) and an Indian Rocket (by Indian Ridge) mare to be a middle-distance horse but that is the new lease of life that Morando has found and the Andrew Balding-trained gelding could have the Group 1 Investec Coronation Cup on his agenda following his eight-length defeat of Kew Gardens in the Group 3 Boodles Diamond Ormonde Stakes at Chester.
He was originally trained by Roger Varian and campaign mostly at around a mile, winning a listed contest at Windsor and pattern placings at Haydock and Bordeaux Le Bouscat. He moved to the Balding team early last year, finished third to Crystal Ocean in the Group 3 Gordon Richards Stakes over ten furlongs first time out, was later listed-placed over that same trip at Ayr and then forced a dead-heat with Young Rascal in a 12-furlong Group 3 at Newbury in October.
Chester was his first outing since then, the race was over almost 13 and a half furlongs on soft ground, and having hit the front three furlongs from home he was always holding his rivals at bay. Group 1 star Kew Gardens (gave 4lbs) made some late progress to take second place, with Magic Circle another half-length back in third and an 11-length gap to longshot Dalgarno in fourth.
Kendargent, who was a Group 1-placed miler, stands at Haras de Colleville in France and has built up a good reputation as a sire of mostly sprinters and milers. Group 2 scorers Jimmy Two Times, Restiadargent and Sky Full Of Stars head his list, with Goken, Kendam and Kenhope among this Group 3 winners. Soleil Marin has been a dual winner at Group 3 level, and placed in the Group 3 Prix d'Harcourt, but as a son of a Montjeu (by Sadler's Wells) mare was a more likely candidate than Morando to be a middle-distance horse.
Morando was bred by Guy Pariente Holding Sprl, he is the first foal of Moranda (by Indian Rocket) and his winning dam's siblings include the blacktype sprinters Myasun (by Panis) and Matwan (by Indian Rocket). However, the stamina may come from his grandam as she, Spain, is a daughter of Bering (by Arctic Tern). That mare's full-brother Sarrasin won a four listed contests at around ten furlongs – one of them by 30 lengths in heavy ground – and was placed over a quarter-mile farther.
Stepping up in trip has clearly suited this gelding well, although he may need some cut in the ground to show this level of form. It may not come up that way at Epsom next month, but some ease could be possible at Irish Champions Weekend, making the Group 1 Irish St Leger a potential target, and at British Champions Weekend at Ascot in October.
Kew Gardens, on the other hand, won last year's Group 1 William Hill St Leger and Group 1 Juddmonte Grand Prix de Paris on good ground and it was good-to-firm when he easily won the Group 2 Queen's Vase at Ascot, so a better performance seems likely when he gets more suitable underfoot conditions. His big-race entries range in distance from the ten-and-a-half-furlong Group 1 Tattersalls Gold Cup to the two-and-a-half-mile Group 1 Gold Cup, so his connections are keeping their options open.
Sires & Winners