By A Correspondent Paris
The Qatar Arc Trials day took place at ParisLongchamp yesterday, with the hopefuls for the biggest races on the weekend of the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe lining up three weeks before the main event for their final preparation.
Nadia Ahmed al-Sheebi, Chargée D’affaires of the embassy of the State of Qatar in Paris was present and distributed the trophies to the winners of the two main races of the day, namely, the Qatar Cup - Prix Dragon (Gr 1 PA) and the G1 Qatar Prix Vermeille.
One month on from his success in the Doha Cup (Gr1 PA), at Deauville, Akoya was victorious in the Qatar Cup - Prix Dragon (Gr1 PA), on Sunday at ParisLongchamp, on Qatar Arc Trials day. Trained by Karin Van Den Bos, the 5-year-old horse went from pillar to post, never threatened by second-place finisher Al Shamoos.
Akoya was running for the first time at ParisLongchamp three weeks prior to his main objective, the Qatar Arabian World Cup, in which he will be facing a much tougher field.
Akoya was ridden by Théo Bachelot, who commented: “The horse pleased even more today than at Deauville. He is stronger, and with the main race of the Autumn approaching, it’s a perfect prep.”
The Qatar Prix Foy (Gr2), for 4-year-olds and up over the 2,400m of ParisLongchamp, was won for the second year running by Waldgeist, in the colours of Gestüt Ammerland who own him in partnership with Newsells Park Stud. This son of the great Galileo, who is trained by André Fabre, won by 2 lengths in front of Way To Paris, with Japanese raider Kiseki a somewhat disappointing third.
Waldgeist will be running next for the second time in the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe back at ParisLongchamp in three weeks’ time, in which he finished a very honorable fourth in 2018.
He was ridden here by his usual partner Pierre-Charles Boudot. “I placed my mount in behind the Japanese raider who set a good pace. He picked up gradually in the straight. He perhaps showed a little less acceleration than last year, but it was very much a tune-up race and he will be in peak condition come three weeks’ time. He has run some great races this season. On his previous start, he finished within a length and half of Enable and Crystal Ocean. So there are reasons to be hopeful on October 5,” Pierre-Charles Boudot said.
The Group 1 Qatar Prix Vermeille, for 3-year-old and older fillies only, also takes place over the same course and distance as the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe. An objective in its own right, this highly competitive race was won by Star Cathcher.
She was ridden by Frankie Dettori, who was also taking his 16th Group 1 win of the year and is trained by John Gosden for the colours of Anthony Oppenheimer, who tasted Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe success in 2015 with Golden Horn.
John Gosden is of course the trainer of Enable, who will be aiming for a third historic win in the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe in October.
Star Catcher won the Irish Oaks (Gr1) last time out in July.
Chargée D’affaires of the embassy of the State of Qatar in Paris Nadia Ahmed al-Sheebi distributed the trophies to the winners of the Qatar Arc Trials day at ParisLongchamp yesterday. PICTURES: Zuzanna Lupa
“The filly doesn’t have to race from the front, but Frankie Dettori preferred to take matters into his own hands by making the running - granted that no one was keen to go on! He’s a genius. This win is down to him, the filly herself and her owner-breeder. As regards going for the Arc, we will have to wait and see,” Gosden said.
The filly does not currently hold an entry in the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe.
The Qatar Prix Niel (Gr2), the final 2,400m trial for the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe of the day, was highly anticipated as the 3-year-old Sottsass was making his first racecourse appearance since winning the QIPCO Prix du Jockey Club in June. Despite being blocked in on the rail until a furlong out from the winning post, Sottsass showed that he has the class to be a real threat over this distance with an exceptional turn of foot to win by a length and a quarter in front of Mutamakina, the only filly in the race.
Racing in the colours of Peter Brant’s White Birch Farm, the colt confirmed that he is the leader of his generation in France.
“I hadn’t made allowances for the race unfolding in such a manner. I was of the opinion that the colt would have held his place behind his pacemaker, but this wasn’t the case. It then took some time before the gaps came his way. However, that’s perfect as I didn’t want the colt to have a hard race and, at the end of the day, he has only had to make a race of it for 100m!,” said trainer Jean-Claude Rouget after the race:
A 5-furlong sprint down the straight at ParisLongchamp, the Qatar Prix du Petit Couvert (Gr3), was won by the British-trained Glass Slippers. This 3-year-old filly, who was coming here off a Listed win in Deauville in August, is owned and bred by Bearstone Stud and trained by Kevin Ryan. She won by a short head in front of Shades Of Blue, who is also trained in England, by Clive Cox.
Glass Slippers sat towards the rear, before being produced wide by jockey Tom Eaves and passing out the field decisively to hit the line in front.
Terry Holdcroft, manager of Bearstone Stud, commented: “We are delighted with Glass Slippers winning her as we bred her and we recently lost her dam. She didn’t run in the Prix de Meautry (Gr3) due to a small issue. She was feeling well here, and she won well. She is entered in the Qatar Prix de l’Abbaye (Gr1) – It was just a dream at first but now it could become reality! She will run in the Gr1.”
Final Group race of the day, the Qatar Prix du Pin (Gr3) was won by the starting favourite, City Light. This consistent 5-year-old horse was winning his second Group race, having placed multiple times at Group level for owner Jean-Louis Bouchard. He jumped well and was settled mid-division by jockey Christophe Soumillon.
Once in the straight, he eased up to join the leaders and was very impressive to win with plenty in hand by a length and a half from Grainges in second.
Stéphane Wattel, the trainer said, “It’s great to see him back winning at this level. He had a hard race at Ascot this year. We know how difficult running on a straight track can be and Ascot is very tough. The year before he had out his heart into the race and it was a memorable battle, and I think it was hard for him to come back this year. He picked up a lot of confidence at Deauville, winning easily at a lower level. He has a lot of speed and he won easily over a longer trip than usual. He needed come right in his mind, and I think he’s nearly back to his best now. We brought him back to 7 furlongs so that he wouldn’t have too hard a race. We will see the result in three weeks when he runs in the Qatar Prix de la Forêt (Gr1).”
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