Lucayan, trained by Francois Rohaut, came out on top in a desperately tight finish to the Poule d’Essai des Poulains, the French equivalent of the 2000 Guineas, at Longchamp yesterday.
The much-vaunted Dabirsim did himself no favours by racing keen early on for Christophe Soumillon and suffered serious traffic problems when squeezed just over two furlongs out.
Soumillon gathered his mount to challenge again as his pacemaker Veneto gallantly stuck to his guns in front, but looked to be just running out of petrol as he was again tightened up.
The Aidan O’Brien-trained Furner’s Green absolutely flew from the rear under Joseph O’Brien, finishing better than anything, but had to settle for third with Veneto second.
There was a sad postscript, however, as Furner’s Green had to be put down after breaking a leg passing the winning post, catapulting his rider to the ground.
O’Brien senior said: “Furner’s Green broke his off-fore and he had to be put down. Joseph is OK – when a horse goes down at that speed, it could have been much worse.”
Rohaut said of the Stephane Pasquier ridden winner: “I always believed he was capable of winning this. He was well-balanced coming into the dip and when I saw how easily he travelled when things quickened in the straight, I thought he would win.
“The others were unlucky on the inside, but that is racing. Two years ago we lost this race, today we won it. He is a very good horse and there is still more to come.”
The Prix du Jockey Club is not on the winner’s agenda, and Rohaut added: “The St James’s Palace maybe? No, I think there is the Prix Jean Prat, we’ll see.”
Elie Lellouche’s Beauty Parlour maintained her unbeaten record with a stylish success in the Poule d’Essai des Pouliches, the French 1000 Guineas.
Settled in sixth place by Soumillon, the daughter of Deep Impact made smooth progress to hit the front a furlong and a half out and was always holding the O’Brien-trained Up, who ran a big race in second.
Topeka was third, with another O’Brien runner, After, fourth and David Wachman’s Fire Lily in fifth.
O’Brien said of Up and After: “I’m delighted with the way they ran. Up was coming home well, she had a bad draw and ran a great race. She stayed on well. The other filly ran well, too.”
Asked where Up might go, he said: “I’m not sure, but she can do a lot of things. She can step up in trip.”
There was British success in the Prix De Saint-Georges as Beyond Desire made all for Roger Varian and Jamie Spencer to hold the late thrust of the Robert Cowell-trained Monsieur Joe by a short head.
Earlier, Francois Doumen’s Top Trip launched a decisive late challenge to land a surprise success in the Prix Hocquart, and is set for the Prix du Jockey Club.
O’Brien’s Athens was not beaten far in fifth.
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