European supermare Enable’s (GB) history-making bid for a third Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (G1) ended in a runner-up finish when she was outstayed on testing ground conditions by 13-1 Waldgeist (GB), who secured a guaranteed start in the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1), through the international Breeders’ Cup Challenge.
The Breeders’ Cup Challenge is an international series of 86 stakes races, whose winners receive automatic starting positions and fees paid into a corresponding race of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, which will be held at Santa Anita Park, in Arcadia, California, Nov. 1-2. Breeders’ Cup also will provide a $40,000 travel allowance for all starters based outside of North America to compete in the World Championships.
The Arc de Triomphe was the centrepiece of five Breeders’ Cup Challenge races on Sunday at ParisLongchamp. (Race reports appear below).
Enable, one of eight horses to have won the Arc twice, was attempting to become the first to win Europe’s richest race three times having suffered only one defeat in 14 career starts.
Hopes soared when Frankie Dettori sent the 1-2 favorite past Magical (IRE) and into a clear lead with 300 meters to run, pursued by Sottsass (FR) and Japan (IRE). Yet while she had the measure of those opponents, she proved unable to repel Waldgeist who emerged as a more potent threat, drawing level at the 100-meter pole and edging past to secure a victory by 1 ¾ lengths, with Sottsass third and Japan fourth.
Waldgeist, ridden by Pierre-Charles Boudot, is 5-year-old chestnut son of Galileo (IRE) out of the Monsun (GER) mare Waldlerche (GB). He completed the 1 1/2 miles in 2:31.97 over a course listed as very soft.
Waldgeist had been found wanting in three previous clashes with Enable but was only two lengths behind the mare when third in the King George VI and Queen Elizabeth Stakes (G1) at Ascot.
2019 Arc Replay
Trainer Andre Fabre said: “I was very impressed. At the finish he was eating up the ground. I was very confident after Ascot where he was beaten but he finished good. Pierre-Charles (Boudot) said then he was going to win the Arc.
“I will discuss his future with the owners but he might retire.”
Having been kept in training specifically to try to win a third Arc, the Khalid Abdullah-owned Enable was also expected to retire but no decisions were being made immediately after the race.
Enable’s trainer John Gosden said: “She’s run a lovely race. She handles soft but she doesn’t have the same explosive turn foot. She quickened up well but in the end Waldgeist has handled the ground and outstayed her on very testing conditions. We would have preferred quicker ground.
“I’ve no idea if that’s it for Enable, Prince Khalid will make all those decisions. There is plenty of possibility of her running again or being retired.”
Khalid Abdullah’s racing manager Teddy Grimthorpe said: “How can we complain? She’s been the most fantastic filly. It’s not what we all wanted and the wave of goodwill before the race was almost overwhelming but in the end we have to accept these things. We don’t love her any less.”
Glass Slippers shatters Battaash hopes
On a day of upsets in Paris, the 3-year-old filly Glass Slippers (GB) ran away with five-furlong Prix de l’Abbaye de Longchamp Longines (G1) in which heavily favored Battaash (IRE) finished far back.
On the most testing ground he had encountered 9-10 favored Battaash (IRE), who won the Abbaye in 2017, was a shadow of the horse that broke the York track record in the “Win and You’re In” Coolmore Nunthorpe Stakes (GI) in August, breaking well before dropping back to trail in 14th from 16.
12-1 Glass Slippers, trained in Yorkshire, England by Kevin Ryan, on the other hand, won her third start in a row in France in the Abbaye, a “Win and You’re In” race for Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1).
Winning jockey Tom Eaves said: “She has very impressive. All she has done is improve all year. Kevin always held her in high regard. I wasn’t expecting to be up with the pace but she pinged the lids today and on that soft ground I wasn’t afraid to go forward.”
Fifth Boussac for Niarchos Family
The Niarchos Family clinched a fifth victory in the one-mile Qatar Prix Marcel Boussac (G1), a qualifier for the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies’ Turf (G1), with 4-1 Albigna (IRE).
Trained in Ireland by Jessica Harrington and ridden by Shane Foley, Albigna came from off the pace to catch longtime leader Marieta (FR) inside the final 100 meters and pull clear to win by 2 1/2 lengths.
Foley said: “She’s a good filly. She was in season the last day and that explains the defeat in the Moyglare Stud Stakes.”
Through Flaxman Holdings, the Niarchos Family’s Breeders’ Cup winners Six Perfections (FR) and Miesque both captured the Boussac as 2-year-olds. Harrington, based in Moone, County Kildare, has yet to saddle a Breeders’ Cup runner.
Harrington said: “The Niarchos family always support the Breeders’ Cup. It’s not excluded for Albigna but we will see how she is when she gets home. No decisions will be made today.”
To the Victor the spoils
Victor Ludorum (GB), the 9-5 favorite, took the step up from conditions race to Group 1 level with ease when he captured the one-mile Qatar Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere (G1) for owners Godolphin and trainer Andre Fabre.
The bay son of Shamardal swept by Alson (GER) and Armory (IRE) under hand riding from Mickael Barzalona to win comfortably by three-quarters of a length, stretching his unbeaten record to three and earning a guaranteed berth in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1).
Victor Ludorum joined a crop of outstanding Group 1-winning Godolphin 2-year-olds in Pinatubo (IRE) and Earthlight (IRE). All share the same sire in Shamardal.
Fabre said: “I was very impressed because of the style. He is an easy-going horse who never shows much and is easy to ride — like the good horses. I would say he is a Mill Reef type horse.
“Sheikh Mohammed has a bunch of good 2-year-olds but me personally would aim him at a French Classic, like the French Guineas [Poule d’Essai des Poulains] and the Prix du Jockey Club next year.”
G1 breakthrough for Villa Marina
Villa Marina (GB), off at 19-1, secured a place in the field for the Maker’s Mark Breeders’ Cup Filly & Mare Turf (G1) when holding off Fleeting (IRE) by a short neck to win the 1 ¼-mile Prix de l’Opera Longines (G1).
Villa Marina, trained by Carlos Laffon-Parias and ridden by Olivier Peslier, had finished fourth over a mile and a half (2,400 meters) on her previous start in the Prix Vermeille (G1) but is now unbeaten in her past three starts at 10 furlongs.
Laffon-Paris said: “The other day she was very close to the winner over a mile and a half. Olivier knows the filly very well and he gave her a perfect race.”
Peslier added: “She is a very fast filly and the year is not over yet. There are still a couple of races she could go to, including the Breeders’ Cup. She breaks fast and quickly find a good position, so I wouldn’t worry about running her in America.”