Longchamp hosted some incredible action on Sunday, with Mogul putting in a sparkling performance to win the Grand Prix de Paris.
Mogul Shines Bright
The feature race at Longchamp on Sunday, the Grand Prix de Paris was turned into a procession by Aidan O’Brien’s Mogul. Perhaps the forgotten horse in the market, he was given a peach of a ride by Pierre-Charles Boudot.
Left to settle out the back in the early stages, Boudot made a race-winning move up the inner as they turned into the straight. Breezing up to long-time leader Nobel Prize, he was switched off the rail and showed a smart turn of foot to power clear impressively.
Boudot is having a landmark season and it was another picture-perfect ride. For Mogul, it was a deserved first success at Group 1 level for a consistently classy commodity. It built on a recent Group 3 success at Goodwood and placed run in the Great Voltigeur at York.
Take note of Serpentine
Although he could only manage fourth, there was plenty to like about Serpentine‘s performance. The runaway Derby winner tracked the leaders in a change of tactics, settling in fourth for much of the journey.
He kept on determinedly after being a shade outpaced, perhaps in need of his first run for 71 days. The Arc is still on O’Brien’s radar for his Classic winner, who lost very little in defeat. Speaking of Serpentine, O’Brien said: Serpentine could go back to the Arc, he had a long break and was just starting back. I was very happy with how happy Christophe was.”
There was one glaring disappointment in the race, with that being English King. He was settled in midfield and failed to play a role, very one-paced and ultimately never dangerous. There were no excuses for the well-hyped Derby fifth, who continues to puzzle.
Anthony Van Dyck dominates Prix Foy
The Prix Foy revolved around one horse and one horse only, Stradivarius. Eyebrows had been raised when the Arc was put onto his agenda and he needed to be winning on his drop in distance at Longchamp to be considered a legitimate contender.
He was unable to do so, however, as Anthony Van Dyck led from start to finish under Mickael Barzelona. Winning his first race since last year’s Derby trumph, he showed a very willing attitude under stern pressure.
The change of tactics clearly paid dividends, but it’s unlikely he’ll get such an easy lead next time at Group level. Nevertheless, it was welcome return to form for a horse who was held in such high-regard earlier in his career.
He holds a plethora of entries, with one being the Arc, being a general 25/1 shot for the feature contest. His other options including British Champions Day, while the Melbourne Cup could also be on the agenda, for which he is a general 33/1 chance.
Stradivarius Camp level pondering
There were positives and negatives to be taken from Stradivarius’ neck second. Given that stamina is his strong-suit, a slowly run contest certainly wouldn’t have suited him. The same wouldn’t be the case in the Arc, and he’d certainly get a better pace to aim at.
That being said, he was in the prime position to beat Anthony Van Dyck. He was on his shoulder throughout the contest and despite such a dream trip, he never seemed likely to get past.
Credit where credits due for the game winner, but it wasn’t the hottest Group 2 and Anthony Van Dyck was winning his first race for over a year. Regardless of a strong pace in the Arc, this run suggested Stradivarius simply won’t be at his best over the 1m 4f distance, regardless of the scenario.
There’s plenty for Bjorn Nielsen to ponder over after the narrow defeat. Speaking of the race, Nielsen said: “I’ve got to speak to John (Gosden). It was a sprint finish and he got beat a neck so it was a good trial, but I have to see what John thinks.”