Breeders' Cup International Scouting Report: Terebellum

December 31st, 2020

In the form of her life when almost capturing the Queen Anne (G1) over males June 16, Terebellum subsequently came off the boil. If she can return to that peak at this stage of the season, in her last start before retiring, she’d be a clear contender for the Breeders' Cup Filly & Mare Turf.

The €400,000 Arqana August yearling is by Sea the Stars and out of the Elusive City mare Marvada, winner of the 2012 Brownstown (G3) at Naas. She comes from the family of Italian highweight and classic winner Sound of Freedom, the 2015 Derby Italiano (G2) runner-up and 2016 Premio Lydia Tesio (G1) heroine.

Unraced at two, Terebellum was a quick study at three in 2019. She went off as the marginal 2-1 favorite in a 1 1/4-mile maiden at Goodwood, and immediately stamped herself as one to follow. After attending the pace, she stormed 4 1/2 lengths clear in a time slightly faster than the Height of Fashion, the Oaks trial on the same card (2:07.47 vs 2:07.50). And the field was strung out behind her, with pacesetter Maamora (a future Group 3 winner) in turn 4 1/2 lengths clear of Promissory (twice Group 3-placed).

Terebellum was accordingly even-money in her stakes debut in the Abingdon at Newbury. Setting the pace, she tired late on the soft going and wound up third to Antonia de Vega. Trainer John Gosden later described it as being in reality “very heavy,” and that’s why he gave her time to regroup.

A more palatable degree of soft was no obstacle in her next appearance in Deauville’s Prix de la Nonette (G2). Taking a strong hold as she was restrained off the pace, Terebellum rolled in the stretch to win well. Among those unplaced behind her were Platane, who would go on to be third to Starship Jubilee in last fall’s E.P. Taylor (G1), and Etoile, now the winner of the Oct. 17 renewal at Woodbine.

Terebellum closed her sophomore season with a solid fifth in the Prix de l’Opera (G1) on Arc Day. She kept close tabs on stablemate Mehdaayih (Turf), picked up the baton in the stretch, but got swamped late in the very soft going.

With Sea the Stars’ progeny improving with age, Terebellum figured to be stronger this season. She fully vindicated that idea right off the bat in the June 6 Dahlia (G2) at Newmarket. The 10-11 favorite pounced from just off the pace and repelled Queen Power.

The gambit of cutting back a quarter-mile for Royal Ascot’s Queen Anne, 10 days later, came within inches of success. Terebellum tracked the pace down the straight mile and simply outmoved Circus Maximus (Mile) to strike the front. But that Ballydoyle gladiator came back to head her at the wire, the duo pulling three lengths clear of rest.

Back to distaff company for the July 10 Falmouth (G1) over the mile of Newmarket’s July Course, Terebellum went to the lead and tried to put the field away, but was beaten for finishing speed. Her red-hot stablemate Nazeef and classic winner Billesdon Brook nabbed her late, and Terebellum was two necks back in third, with One Master (Mile) a closing fourth.

Gosden said he was surprised at the result and expressed his view that Terebellum didn’t really run her race. Perhaps she was reacting from her back-to-back big efforts in June. Freshened for almost three months, she resumed with a better-than-appears fifth in the Sun Chariot (G1). She made a move from off the pace, but got sapped on the heavy going and plugged on.

That can set her up for an improved effort second off the break, especially on more normal ground. The 1 3/16-mile distance hits her right between the eyes as well, with the only uncertainty being about whether she can cycle back up to her top.