YOUMZAIN finally claimed the big prize his consistency deserved when coming out best in a cracking renewal of the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud in France yesterday.
Mick Channon’s charge won a Group One in Germany two years ago but had failed to get his head in front since — despite going close in the King George And Queen Elizabeth Stakes and Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in 2007.
He again looked unlucky when finishing fast for second behind Soldier Of Fortune in the Coronation Cup last time.
However, he gained his revenge on Aidan O’Brien’s charge this time as the Galileo colt had to settle for second at Saint-Cloud.
Youmzain was settled in mid-division by Richard Hughes as Sommertag and Song Of Hiawatha helped apply a very strong pace to the 12-furlong feature.
The latter pair were still in front as the field swung for home but Youmzain and the Christophe Soumillon-ridden Soldier Of Fortune were soon to the fore.
Although there were a few anxious moments as Hughes had to wait for a gap to appear, Youmzain moved smoothly through on the bit when one materialised with around two furlongs to run.
The race was effectively over when Hughes gave him his head as the 7-1 chance shot away from his pursuers — although 10-11 favourite Soldier Of Fortune eroded that advantage to under a length at the line.
Richard Gibson’s globetrotting Doctor Dino (6-1) ran well for third, without ever threatening the first two, but Andre Fabre’s Getaway proved a major disappointment.
Channon was in buoyant mood following Youmzain’s much-deserved victory in France.
He said: “I’m very happy and absolutely delighted with this. He did it very well and certainly deserves this.
“I knew he was going there with a big a chance as he had been working well.
“We will now aim for the King George — the Arc will also be on his agenda.”
Coral subsequently trimmed last year’s King George runner-up Youmzain to 5-1 (from 7-1) to go one better in this year’s renewal of the Ascot showpiece.
Soumillon offered no excuses after Soldier of Fortune finished second.
He said: “He ran a good race and everything went well for us.
“But Youmzain quickened and my horse just took that little bit longer to follow.”
John Gosden’s Dar Re Mi finished a close-up third behind Treat Gently in the Group Two Prix de Malleret.
The mount of Jimmy Fortune, third in the Musidora on her last start, stayed on strongly but was bested by the 11-10 favourite and runner-up Leo’s Starlet.
The Clive Cox-trained Miracle Seeker was a shade disappointing and failed to trouble the protagonists.
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved