Racing: Hughes beats Peslier on marks

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The Independent Online
IT WOULD not be often that the jockey Richard Hughes would have the opportunity of teaching Olivier Peslier a trick or two but here yesterday he could claim, with some justification, that he had just done so. Not in a one on one; even the tall Irishman's mum would have to acknowledge that the French champion has a certain unmatchable style.

But in the Prix du Cadran, France's premier long-distance race, Hughes showed just how Invermark, the neat half-length winner, should be ridden and launched the first leg of a notable stayers' double for James Fanshawe's in-form yard, completed by Arctic Owl in the Jockey Club Cup at Newmarket two hours later.

Invermark is a four-year-old of high promise, but he needs to be kidded a little with a lead from his rivals and, on his first venture into Group company, in the Prix Gladiateur round Longchamp's turns a month ago, Peslier sent him off in front and came home in fourth place.

But with Hughes back in the saddle the tables were turned on that day's winner, Tiraaz, at a rewarding 19-1. "When I won on him at Chester the time before I sat last on him for most of the way and he never came off the bridle", said the jockey. "He's not really quirky, but he's still a bit green and he's happier settled behind. As soon as I went past the other horse today he almost started pulling up. It would be a nightmare to go the whole way in front on him and I couldn't quite figure out what they were doing last time"

Canon Can, one of three British challengers for the two and a half mile contest, took the field round the first circuit of this glorious Paris track at a fairly sedate pace with his ears happily pricked. But when Peslier - for it was he - tried to wind the pace up in front his partner found little and it was Tiraaz, another progressive four-year-old but only the Royer-Dupre team's number 12 shirt after his better stablemate, Tajoun, met with a setback, who took over in front.

Only on sufferance, however; as soon as Hughes asked Invermark to do so the Machiavellian colt - who is a half-brother to yesterday's Jockey Club Cup fourth Craigsteel - quickened and took the leader close home with a perfectly-judged effort.

John Gosden's Three Cheers was a never-dangerous fifth and Canon Can faded into sixth place. His trainer Henry Cecil was fined 2,000 francs (pounds 200) after the gelding was spotted wearing a type of hind shoe, with raised calkins on the heels for grip, which is illegal in France.

It was the third and bestGroup One victory, after two in Italy, for Hughes, who started his riding career over jumps and still keeps his hand in over hurdles and will watch with great interest today's chasing debut of His Song, whom he rode into second place in the Supreme Novices' at the Cheltenham Festival last March.

And it rounded off a perfect day; on his only other ride of the afternoon he notched his first winner at Longchamp on the two-year-old Bienamado in the Group Three Prix de Conde.

"That was a bonus," he said. "I didn't know that horse - though I'd been told he was good - but I know Invermark, and I really fancied him. He copes so well with soft ground that you'd swear it was riding good when you're on him and I'm sure he'll make a Gold Cup horse next year."

Hughes had a less complicated ride on Bienamado, who, despite not particularly enjoying the ground - soft, but made rather tacky by yesterday's bright sunshine - ran right away from the Andre Fabre candidate, Persianlux, for a three-length win in the nine-furlong two-year-old contest to give the raiders a bright start to the Arc weekend.

The big American-bred colt, who had to share the spoils on his debut, is considered one of the better juveniles at Manton and will be put in the Derby at the next entry stage.

"If the ground is OK he might go for the Racing Post Trophy", his trainer, Peter Chapple-Hyam, said, "but I won't be concerned if he doesn't run again this year. He's got plenty of developing to do."

Insatiable, who had looked a high-class prospect when he bolted home in the Brigadier Gerard Stakes on soft ground at Sandown back in May but failed in the Prince Of Wales's Stakes at Royal Ascot and the Eclipse Stakes at Sandown, returned to his best form when he headed a British clean sweep in the Group Two Prix Dollar. The five-year-old got the better of Handsome Ridge by half a length, with Eco Friendly third, to earn a step back up to Group One company in the Champion Stakes.

"He was a bit lit up and unsettled at Ascot," his trainer, Sir Michael Stoute, said, "but in the Eclipse he would have gone close but for being stopped on the rails two out. He'll run in the Champion Stakes but I hope it keeps raining."

Insatiable's stablemate Rambling Rose and the Clive Brittain-trained, Prix Vermeille runner-up Cloud Castle finished out of the money behind Lexa in the Group Two Prix Royallieu.

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