DERMOT Weld kicked off what could turn out to be a magical week as Famous Name was agonisingly denied by a diminishing head in the Prix du Jockey-Club at Chantilly yesterday.
With Vodafone Derby favourite Casual Conquest and leading Juddmonte Oaks candidate Chinese White set to contest the British Classics at Epsom, the Curragh handler came close to the best possible start.
Unfortunately Pat Smullen’s mount was drawn out in stall 17 and the wide start for the Khalid Abdullah-owned colt played its hand in the outcome, with Vision D’Etat getting first run from his inside draw and just holding on.
The 12-1 winner – a half-brother to Grand National 15th Milan Deux Mille – was maintaining his unbeaten record in the hands of Ioritz Mendizabal, who kept him in a handy position throughout.
Frankie Dettori struck for home aboard 1000 Guineas winner Natagora inside the final two furlongs but Eric Libaud’s charge swept past into clear air.
Pat Smullen gave chase in earnest on the Irish raider from his uncompromising position but the line came too soon, with the valiant Natagora a length and a half down in third.
Weld said: “He’s come from stall 17 and second is a lonely place.
“Pat has ridden a cracker, but he got pushed wide while the winner got a nice run up the middle of the track. If you put them together you’d have a different result.”
On the back of Famous Name’s run Ladbrokes trimmed Casual Conquest to 5-2 from 7-2 for the English equivalent.
Weld added: “It’s the start of a busy week and time will tell. A decision on Casual Conquest’s supplementary for Epsom will be made in the morning.”
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