Olympic Glory delivers gold for Qatar in a sign of new Turf order
Anyone trying to map the shifting topography of the Turf would be interested to note that Qatari interests – essentially condensed in the Al-Thani family – accounted for as many as 10 runners in the elite races at Longchamp yesterday, compared with only four in the familiar silks of their Gulf neighbours, the Maktoum family of Dubai.
Having also sponsored the Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe itself, there was a corresponding sense of proprietorial pride when one of the young sheikhs celebrated an immediate dividend on one of his latest investments in the Prix Jean-Luc Lagadere.
Julie Wood, his previous owner, had shown prescience of her own in last year christening a Choisir yearling Olympic Glory. He arrived here, with Richard Hughes now wearing the colours of Sheikh Joaan, as winner of three of his four starts during the Olympic summer – beaten only by the exceptional Irish colt, Dawn Approach, at Royal Ascot.
Now he must be counted as one of the top juveniles in Europe after reeling in Indian Jade, who ran a blinder for Kevin Ryan, and then holding off the filly, What A Name – herself representing the Al-Thani clan.
Coral halved the colt's Qipco 2,000 Guineas odds to 10-1, though Richard Hannon Jr, assistant to his father, suggested he might yet be trained for the French version instead.
"It was a good performance, for any two-year-old to quicken past them in that ground is quite hard," he said. "We're lucky to have a few colts that could be Guineas horses and it would be nice to spread them out a bit.
"This one has track experience now, so that would be an obvious advantage if he did come back here."
Thomas Lord Byron, a breakthrough winner for Tom Hogan in the Prix de la Foret, was the only other horse to export a Group One prize on a proud day for the home team.
His remarkable improvement this season is a transparent credit to his Tipperary trainer, who may now amplify his talents to a still broader audience in the Hong Kong Mile.
The raiders had been understandably confident of consolidating their historic domination of the Prix de l'Abbaye, but were confounded by the one and only home runner in a competitive field of 18.
The issue had seemed to rest between the pair who blazed clear for Yorkshire, Mayson slugging it out with Hamish McGonagall as the chasing pack floundered in the sticky ground.
But Wizz Kid, tried in cheekpieces after looking unlucky on several occasions in her career, somehow found traction to make up three lengths through the final furlong and get up on the post.
Robert Collet is now likely to train her for the sprint on Qipco Champions' Day at Ascot on Saturday week, and Mayson may well follow her there.
John O'Connor, racing manager for Wizz Kid's owners Ballylinch Stud, said: "She's been unlucky in a couple of the big sprints before but it's nice everything has gone her way. She loved the fast pace and finished off well."
William Buick did make a bold bid for the Prix de l'Opera on Izzi Top, but Christophe Lemaire was content to let him play his hand first, in such tiring ground, before pouncing on Ridasiyna.
Nap: Majestic Breeze (3.30 Wolverhampton)
First and second in two starts here, excelling particularly on his latest visit when just run down late after contesting an excessive pace.
Next best: Arctic Lynx (4.00 Wolverhampton)
Has always suggested plenty of ability, on a fair mark now, and entitled to turn over a new leaf after joining a trainer who excels with sprinters.
One to watch: Star Request (Keith Dalgleish)
Made promising handicap debut at Musselburgh, struggling with drop to 5f before finishing best for fourth.
Where the money's going: What A Name is 10-1 from 14-1 with William Hill for the Qipco 1,000 Guineas after her excellent second against colts at Longchamp yesterday.
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