Chineur flew the flag for France with a brilliant display in the King’s Stand Stakes as Royal Ascot came to York today.
He provided young trainer Mikel Delzangles with his first winner from his first runner at the Royal meeting, and the first for France in the five-furlong dash since Nuclear Debate scored for John Hammond five years ago.
Chineur, a 7-1 shot, came from well off the pace under Christophe Lemaire to collar the front-running Boogie Street inside the final furlong and land the Group Two contest in good style by a length and three-quarters.
Moss Vale finished strongly to take third, a neck behind Boogie Street, with Hong Kong challenger Cape Of Good Hope a short head away in fourth.
“This feels very good,” said 34-year-old Delzangles.
“It’s amazing he did it so easily. I expected him to run very well. His last race he won very easily, so I thought we had a good chance.
“His next step will be a Group One, I hope. We have the choice between the Nunthorpe Stakes back here in August or we wait for the Prix de l’Abbaye at Longchamp in October.
“I think he will be able to go over six furlongs, but it won’t be the July Cup. He started his season very early this year, at the beginning of March, and he will have a rest now.”
Chineur is owned by the Marquesa de Moratella, whose red colours have been associated with numerous good horses in the past including The Fellow, Trainglot, Sybillin and Ebor winner Sapience.
Delzangles is the Marquesa’s godson and Chineur is one of 10 horses he trains for her. It was not his first visit, however, to the Knavesmire.
“I first worked with horses with Jimmy FitzGerald in Malton and my first time racing in England was when Sapience won the Ebor, and it’s good to be back,” he added.
Lemaire was always confident of success.
He said: “Every time he has raced in France this year he has improved and the ground doesn’t matter to him, it can be fast or soft.
“He never breaks well but soon settles and I think because of that six furlongs will not be a problem, especially as he won so easily today.”
Boogie Street was improving on a dismal effort at Salisbury on Sunday and his trainer Richard Hannon said: “I still have no idea what went wrong at Salisbury, but Richard (Hughes) feels that the ground beat us today. It is fast ground and he would prefer a bit more cut.
“He is in the Golden Jubilee, but with the ground the way it is we are more likely to wait for something over five furlongs.”
Cape Of Good Hope, who was second in the race 12 months ago, once again ran with credit.
His trainer David Oughton said: “That was a very good run, but I always thought five furlongs would be a bit sharp for him. The rising ground at Ascot is better.
“As long as he pulls out all right tomorrow, he will run again on Saturday (in the six-furlong Golden Jubilee Stakes).”
Red Clubs earned a quote of 20-1 from totesport and Paddy Power for the 2000 Guineas after his convincing victory in the Coventry Stakes.
Ladrokes went a more generous 33-1 about his chances of winning next year’s Newmarket Classic.
Michael Hills settled the youngster just off the pace on the far side. He moved up to challenge approaching the last of the six furlongs and producing an impressive burst of speed, the 11-2 chance quickened clear to beat the pacemaking Pacific Pride by one and three-quarter lengths.
After greeting his 19th Royal Ascot winner, trainer Barry Hills said: “He’s a very good horse – I was impressed with him at Newmarket. He’s very laid-back and you wouldn’t know you had him at home.
“He has a wonderful temperament and he’ll get seven furlongs. He’s good and he’s very professional.
“I’m looking forward to running him over seven furlongs later on. Either the Champagne Stakes or the National Stakes at the Curragh.”
The jockey said: “I took a lead but the race was starting to happen on the other side and we were starting to fall back, so I had to make a move early.
“He is a professional – he really sticks his head down and quickens.
“He gave away 7lb to a good horse at Newmarket and dad was very confident - and when he’s confident, then so am I.
“He has won this race four times but this is the first time I have won it for him, and if this horse is as good as the others, then we will be happy.
“The horse has got a future and there are a lot of nice races for him to look forward to.”
Howard Johnson, trainer of the 66-1 runner-up, said: “I wasn’t going to run him here. I was going to bring Masta Plasta, but that horse gave a bit of a cough so I thought we might as well take our chance with this one and give him a bit of experience.
“He’s run very well and I think he’d have won if the race had been over five furlongs.
“I hope it’s a good sign for Masta Plasta. He seems fine again now and I hope to run him in either the Norfolk or the Windsor Castle later in the week.
“The two horses have worked together and I would say that he is just a bit ahead of this one at the moment.”