At two, there was little that could stand in their way, but at three, Aidan O'Brien's golden generation is finding the going far more difficult. Royal Kingdom, his winner of the Royal Lodge Stakes at Ascot last year, could finish only fifth in the Prix de Fontainebleu at Longchamp yesterday, and even when Aristotle, last year's Racing Post Trophy winner, managed to pass the post in front in the Group Two Prix Greffulhe, he was the winner only for as long as it took the stewards to demote him to third.
The Greffulhe is a traditional trial for the Prix du Jockey-Club (French Derby) and both were won last year by Montjeu. Aristotle was going well as the field turned into the straight, but he veered sharply left as Michael Kinane brought him to challenge Sobieski, and interfered with Boutron in the process. Aristotle continued to jink left in the closing stages, losing at least half a dozen lengths as a result, and did well in the circumstances to finish two lengths clear of Boutron.
His subsequent demotion was inevitable, however. "I tried to correct him but there was nothing I could do," Kinane said afterwards. "It is extraordinary because he has never done that before. At least I must be happy because he got the trip well in the bad ground."
Royal Kingdom had earlier finished two and a half lengths adrift of the AndrÃ© Fabre-trained Berine's Son in the Prix Fontainebleu, while in the day's other major Classic trial, Lady Of Chad, last year's Prix Marcel Boussac winner, took her unbeaten record to three in the Prix de la Grotte for the English-born, Chantilly-based trainer Richard Gibson.Reuse content