Watch a full replay of the Prix Vermeille at ParisLongchamp on Sunday and read Geoffrey Riddle's report from the course.
No trainer has won the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe more than Andre Fabre and the French maestro appears set on emptying his stable in an attempt to secure an eighth win in the Qatar Prix De l’Arc de Triomphe in three weeks.
Fabre has not won Europe’s most prestigious prize since Rail Link's success in 2006. Yet after Kitesurf won a fast-run Prix Vermeille and Waldgeist thundered past stable companions Talismanic and Cloth Of Stars in the Prix Foy, the record-breaking French handler is keen on pitching in at least four runners back here on October 7.
“I couldn’t be happier, they all have run well,” Fabre said, after Waldgeist had handed him a 12th success in the Group Two event.
“It was a prep race so I told the jockeys not to squeeze them. You’ll see in a few weeks time. Waldgeist just has more acceleration than the others.
“Regarding Kitesurf (owned by Godolphin) I will see with Sheikh Mohammed, but she ought to take her chance in the Arc. Fillies usually run well in the Arc.
“I have some regrets with Talismanic as I think a mile and a half is a bit beyond his limits at his age. He is more a mile and a quarter horse. He ran alright, and there are no complaints. The Breeders’ Cup is the target, but he will run in the Arc next. Cloth Of Stars will also run in the Arc.”
After her triumphant return at Kempton last weekend, Enable was clipped by several firms to defend the crown she seized at Chantilly last year and is a best priced 11-8 with Sky Bet. She was sent off at 10-11 last year.
Waldgeist is now 12-1 fourth favourite behind Sea Of Class, Cracksman and Poet’s Word, while Kitesurf is no better than 25-1. Talismanic and Cloth Of Stars are 33-1 and 50-1 respectively
Kitesurf stopped the clock under Mickael Barzalona in 2min 26.39sec for the 12 furlongs, which beat Racing Post standard by 4.11seconds.
Such was the unrelenting pace throughout the race that it is clear the daughter of Dubawi, who has sired the past three Vermeille winners, will have no issues lasting home in what is increasingly looking like a fillies’ Arc.
She may not be good enough, but her gears and versatility will surely be of considerable benefit.
“We thought long and hard last season about whether to keep her in training and she has paid us back richly,” Godolphin representative Lisa-Jane Graffard said.
“During the race I went through the gamut of emotions, but the times was really good and Mickael did not panic. She stays well, has a great turn of foot and seems to go on any ground. I suspect she is better on softer ground.”
Waldgeist’s time of 2 min 27.70sec was more a product on how much more slowly his race was run, and in the closing stages Pierre-Charles Boudot showcased the son of Galileo’s turn of foot. The Grand Prix De Saint Cloud winner held off Talismanic and his giant blaze by two and a half lengths.
“It is hard to analyse such a race when you are so excited but he was very impressive,” German owner Deitrich Von Boetticher said.
“He has shown that he has great staying power and has great acceleration. He has a little bit of Galileo in him and we will found out how good he is in a few weeks.
“Andre is a perfect trainer and has the instinct. It is too early to say whether he is the best French horse in the Arc but it is the ultimate thing for us to have a runner. It is what we are all trying to achieve.”
One winner who looks unlikely to run in the Arc is Godolphin’s Prix Niel victor Brundtland, who showed tremendous determination under James Doyle to keep at bay Wayne Lordan and Coolmore’s Hunting Horn in what turned out to be a three-furlong slug-fest on the front end.
Doyle set off at a modest pace and wound up his mount through the fractions and for the whole of the straight the son of Dubawi kept in front to win by a short head in 2min 31.55sec. It was the jockey’s first success at the course.
“He’s tough and stamina is his main key,” Doyle said. “All the way around he was looking at everything and he can only improve.
“We’ll see what Charlie (Appleby, trainer) thinks. Having ridden Sea Of Class and Poet’s Word I think the race might be a bit strong for him.”