When you think of US Triple Crown winners going on to careers at stud, your first thought isn’t that they produce fillies like Pista who scored Group 2 success in the Park Hill Stakes over the St Leger course and distance at Doncaster.
Her decisive victory in that extended 1m 6f contest for the girls was a first in pattern company for American Pharoah as a sire in the UK. This was a triumph for international breeding with the bluest equine blood stateside.
Trainer Joseph O’Brien found himself in the rare position of winning a race before illustrious father Aidan. What a pity, then, that no fans were there to see it as local authorities were forced into cancelling the pilot scheme.
The St Leger Festival behind closed doors for three-quarters of the meeting has implications well beyond horse racing. Spare a thought for Doncaster Racecourse, who estimate costs of £250,000 spent on the assumption racegoers could attend all four days.
Even if none of the public were on hand to witness Pista continue her progress, those watching on TV should be suitably impressed.
Stamina, not always a forte with American thoroughbreds, kicked in after another Irish raider Snow made the running, although that may come from damsire Galileo for this filly bred in the purple.
William Buick rode Pista 1 1/2 lengths of her six rivals, five of which finished in something of a heap in-behind. The race when declared was all about Yorkshire Oaks second Alpinista, but she was a non-runner.
Analysis: Real promise from Pista in Park Hill Stakes
Jamie Clark, Horsebetting.com Editor
Will O’Brien rue not running Pista in the Irish St Leger this weekend instead, where she would have got the maximum weight and sex allowances? Could Doncaster be the place where staying stars are born for him with Galileo Chrome still to come on Saturday?
Progressive Roger Varian handicapper Believe In Love was favourite with the bookies for Park Hill Stakes success, but could only finish third behind Vivionn. The jump in class may have been too much.
Ebor Handicap fourth Monica Sheriff didn’t come on for that reappearance and bounced rather badly instead. She trailed in last for the William Haggas team.
Pista has now completed her hat-trick and earned quotes for the Prix de Royallieu on Arc weekend. That 1m 6f Group 1 contest at Longchamp should suit if connections want one more run this season.
Bookmakers have reacted differently to her Park Hill Stakes triumph. As short as 8/1 in places, Pista is 14/1 with BetVictor for the Royallieu and that price still has some juice in it for sure.
The premier staying race for fillies and mares in Europe could be a cracker this year. Enbihaar heads the market, but was only third in the Royallieu 12 months ago having won the Park Hill Stakes en route.
After winning a fifth Group 2 in the Lonsdale Cup at York, the ante post favourite remains as good as ever. Whether Enbihaar would be vulnerable to a younger, progressive filly just like Pista is what makes the Royallieu so intriguing.
There is the Prix Vermeille still to come at the weekend on Arc trials day. Anything staying on in that 1m 4f event could have a shout of running well in the Royallieu too.