Though the end of Authorized's career proved a miserable anti-climax, Frankie Dettori still left Longchamp with renewed anticipation for the future. His chief employer, Godolphin, had not had a juvenile Group One winner since Dubawi, three years ago, and only one horse capable of winning at that level all season. But Rio De La Plata's success in the Prix Lagardère confirmed his championship calibre and promised the stable an overdue role in the Classics next season.
Having raced eagerly throughout, the chestnut eased through a gap on the inside around a furlong out and loped a length and a half clear of Declaration Of War.
He was in a different class from the rest, Dettori needing no more than hands and heels, and deserves another crack at New Approach, who beat him in Ireland last month. On that occasion he was delayed in his run and was the only pursuer to make inroads on the leader, and Dettori admitted here that things could have worked out better for them that day.
The Guineas sponsors, Stan James, keep New Approach as their 100-30 favourite for the 2,000, but cut Rio De La Plata to 6-1 from 10-1. Ladbrokes think there is less between them, going 4-1 and 5-1 respectively.
Simon Crisford, the Godolphin manager, did not rule out a crack at the Dewhurst Stakes at Newmarket on Saturday week. "It might come a bit quick for him, but he takes his races so well we'll reserve that judgement for a while," he said.
"He'll certainly get a mile and a quarter next year, as he's so switched off. Whether he stays any further we'll have to see, but he is from a very stoutly bred Argentinian family so he may get the Derby trip."
The stable were dismayed by a tame debut in their colours from Laureldean Gale, a recent recruit from Peter Chapple-Hyam. She faded badly in the Prix Marcel Boussac, the finish instead being dominated by two previously unbeaten local fillies. Zarkava, making only her second start, accelerated decisively to see off Conference Call while retaining enough energy to jump a shadow after the post.
She is trained by Alain de Royer-Dupré for the Aga Khan, and will doubtless be aimed at a Classic over a mile nest spring – though her nervy disposition suggests she might be more likely to return here than travel to Newmarket for the 1,000 Guineas.
For some reason the French still struggle to find sprinters and the Prix de l'Abbaye, as usual, was dominated by the raiders. Kingsgate Native, who had the insolence to beat his seniors in the Nunthorpe Stakes at York last time, made a valiant bid to follow up but could not reel in Benbaun, a first Group One winner for Mark Wallace, in only his fifth season.
"It's a fairytale," the Newmarket trainer said. "He only cost six grand and started off rated 56. That was because his trainer made a terrible mistake and ran him over seven furlongs for his first three races, before dropping him in trip for a handicap. The boys had a a few quid on that day!"