He was not the best Derby winner of all time but he was certainly one of the most flamboyant in victory. Sadly, the turbo-boost that took Pour Moi from last to first down the length of the Epsom straight and prompted an equally spectacular last-strides celebration from rider Mickael Barzalona will be seen no more. The colt's retirement from racing, due to a leg injury, was announced yesterday.
Pour Moi, trained by André Fabre for the Coolmore partners, struck into the back of his right-fore ankle with a hind hoof at exercise in Chantilly on Friday, not an uncommon self-inflicted harm known as an over-reach. Rumours about the son of Montjeu's wellbeing started to circulate overnight and soon after bookmakers removed him from their betting for the Prix de'Arc de Triomphe – he had been favourite – in the morning, confirmation came that his first career was over and that he will start his second alongside his sire in Co Tipperary next year.
"He badly over-reached himself," said Fabre yesterday, "and a scan revealed that the damage was deeper than we first thought. It's a difficult injury to mend for a racehorse. But I'm sure he'll be a super sire; I'd never trained a middle-distance horse with such acceleration."
Pour Moi had not run since the Derby; after a break he had been due to resume in an Arc trial next month before the Longchamp showpiece in October. The blessing is that his injury, though severe, is not life-threatening; the disappointment is that all his thrilling potential as an athlete – his run at Epsom, where he beat subsequent dual top-level winner Treasure Beach a head, was only his fifth – will remain unrealised.
Fabre, though, is in no doubt of his charge's innate talent. "What he did at Epsom was amazing," he added. "When a horse comes from behind and wins narrowly they are sometimes difficult to rate but the way he accelerated and got there so easily was a sign of great ability."
Pour Moi gave Fabre his first Derby; now the multiple French champion must rely on the Grand Prix de Paris winner Meandre to give him an eighth Arc, and the Coolmore owners on Ballydoyle-based So You Think for their fourth.
Obviously, the betting for the great Parisian prize has been shuffled, though no clear favourite has emerged from the pack. Last year's first and third Workforce and Sarafina are vying with So You Think and Nathaniel at the top of the lists at around 5-1, with Meandre, Galikova and Sea Moon on their heels.
On the subject of last-to-first victories, Dubawi Gold's at Goodwood yesterday had none of the drama or prestige of Pour Moi's finest hour, but was satisfyingly pretty to watch, his rider Richard Hughes at his unflurried, inch-perfect best.
Hughes, much-criticised (including by himself) for the three-year-old's defeat in the Irish 2,000 Guineas this year, excelled in the Celebration Mile. After making a forward move from the rear with Poet's Voice he was briefly impeded as he left the faltering favourite behind but, confident of his own mount's momentum and ability, switched calmly to the outside of the pack and surged past to beat Set The Trend a half-length.
The Group Two contest can be a consolation for top-level defeat or a stepping stone to better things; for Richard Hannon-trained Dubawi Gold it has been one and may be the other, with the Prix du Moulin at Longchamp his next target.
Another to finish with a flourish on the Sussex track was juvenile filly Regal Realm, who beat Rakasa, Questing and Nayarra in a four-way photo for the Prestige Stakes. But though the margins, a short head and two heads, were narrow, she can be expected to prove much better than the bare result, having been thwarted three times in her progress.
"Luckily, I got the splits at the right time," said rider Jimmy Fortune. "She's very nice filly going the right way." The Jeremy Noseda-trained daughter of Medicean will step into top company next month in the Fillies' Mile at her local track, Newmarket. Two of Ireland's best of her age and sex, Maybe and La Collina, square up today in the Moyglare Stud Stakes at the Curragh.