Longchamp double delight for Head

Trainer Freddie Head made it a remarkable eight Group Ones for the season on the Longchamp undercard as Naaqoos took the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere (Grand Criterium) and Marchand D’Or the Prix de l’Abbaye.

Trainer Freddie Head made it a remarkable eight Group Ones for the season on the Longchamp undercard as Naaqoos took the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere (Grand Criterium) and Marchand D’Or the Prix de l’Abbaye.

The diminutive former jockey has surpassed all expectations this term and has the best sprinter seen in a while through the grey Marchand D’Or, who now has top-level victories at distances from five to seven furlongs.

Chaotic scenes greeted the start of the Abbaye when Fleeting Spirit’s stall failed to open and Hungarian star Overdose ran right the way to the line as the majority of his rivals began to pull up noticing the false start.

The race was restaged at the end of the day and it was plain sailing for Davy Bonilla on Marchand D’Or as they eased past Moorhouse Lad and Borderlescott.

“You can compare him to the really great British sprinters of the past like Dayjur,” said Head.

“He is exceptional and might go to Hong Kong now if he’s OK.”

Bonilla and Head combined to send Aidan O’Brien’s odds-on favourite Mastercraftsman packing in the Lagardere.

Naaqoos charged along at the head of affairs and just held off the lunging Milanais with Mastercraftsman back in fourth.

Head said: “I think he’s a great horse, a real champion because he’s a hell of a mover and he’s very good in his head, very well balanced. He’s got everything to be a good horse.

“We’ll talk with Sheikh Hamdan about which 2000 Guineas to go for, but he could be the right horse for Newmarket.”

O’Brien put up Mastercraftsman’s hard race against Shaweel last time as a possible reason for his lacklustre display.

Head’s sister Criquette Head-Maarek made it an even better day for the family as Proportional had the ability to humble a decent pack of two-year-old fillies in the Total Prix Marcel Boussac.

Stephane Pasquier was in the perfect spot close to the pacemaking Marquesa and Proportional quickened off the home bend to come in three lengths clear.

Proportional, owned by Prince Khalid Abdullah, is a 6-1 shot for the 1000 Guineas with Stan James.

Considering Newmarket, Head-Maarek, now five times a Boussac winner, said: “Why not? She’ll be entered in the 1000 Guineas and she will tell me what to do. She’s the boss.”

Lush Lashes has already claimed a hat-trick of Group Ones as a three-year-old but was robbed of a fourth as German raider Lady Marian swept by in the Qatar Petroleum Prix de l’Opera.

“She won easily but took a long time to strengthen up,” reported winning handler Werner Baltromei.

“We wanted to come here and then look at the Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf, so we must just see how she comes out of the race.”

Jim Bolger’s Lush Lashes returned with a cut on the foot.

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