Qatar Prix du Cadran (Group 1)
ARC weekend was given a fabulous kick-start last Saturday when Aidan O’Brien’s outstanding stayer Kyprios left his rivals in a different parish at the end of the two-mile, four-furlong Qatar Prix du Cadran in one of the most amazing finishes ever seen at the culmination of a European Group 1 flat race.
His jockey, Ryan Moore, was quite simply unable to stop him from sauntering past the front-running Lismore with half a mile to run and, wise to the fact that that the rain-softened ground might make an idling leader vulnerable to something with more momentum, rode him clear on the home bend.
Kyprios was so far in front passing the furlong marker that he got bored and lonely. He then made such a sharp left-handed deviation that one wondered if he might poke his head over the stands rail and ask an unsuspecting punter if they would like a selfie.
For a moment it looked possible that he would actually come to a standstill, but Moore was having none of that, and Kyprios consented to go forward quickly enough to cross the line a ridiculous 20 lengths clear of his nearest pursuer.
God knows how gargantuan the margin would have been if he had maintained velocity and stuck to the far rail.
This Moyglare Stud-bred and part-owned sibling to the top-class pair Search For A Song and Free Eagle thus completed a Group 1 four-timer and a perfect six-out-of-six 2022 season.
This performance proved that the son of Galileo can cope with testing terrain and, but for the possibility of more waywardness or injury, it is hard to imagine any opponent being good enough to lower his colours in next term’s top long-distance events.
“He’s an incredible horse with a very high cruising speed and it’s a privilege to train him,” O’Brien said. “He stays so well yet he’s quick enough to win big races over a mile and a half.
“He’s a good-natured horse and it’s unlike him to hang like he did. Ryan just said that he thought the race was over – he saw the gap in the running rail where he had come out on to the track and thought ‘my work is done, it’s time to go home.’”
Moore was effusive, startlingly so for someone usually so measured and under-stated. “He scared me today, crossing the track to look for the exit, but he could have won by a furlong,” he said.
Winner of this race in even worse conditions two years ago, the Tony Mullins-trained Princess Zoe did manage to go with Kyprios for a brief while before weakening into fourth, while Henry de Bromhead covered his travel expenses with Lismore’s fifth-place prize money.
Sea silks back with Group 1 success
Qatar Prix de Royallieu (Group 1)
SATURDAY’S other Group 1, the Qatar Prix de Royallieu was considerably less clear-cut but the William Haggas-trained Sea La Rosa was a deserving winner, evoking memories of the Arc triumphs of her sire, Sea The Stars, and paternal grandam, Urban Sea, in carrying the the Tsui family yellow silks to victory.
Olivier Peslier gave David Menuisier’s Ottilien (the other British raider among a field of 10 fillies and mares) such a canny stop-start front-running ride that she almost held on for second place, losing out to Jannah Flower in the very last stride of this one-and-three-quarter-mile event.
But Tom Marquand, aboard Sea Le Rosa, was wise to Peslier’s cunning and, having moved onto the leader’s quarters with half a mile to run, conjured a decisive final furlong surge which carried the partnership to a one-length victory.
Emily Dickinson proved to be the better of the O’Brien-trained duo here, beaten by just a length and half in fourth with her stablemate, Perotan, another length and three-quarters back in sixth.
Sea La Rosa has made relentless progress since winning in handicap company at Doncaster 13 months ago with listed, Group 3 and two Group 2 successes.
She has now reached the pinnacle and is in line for one further outing before retirement, either in Japan or at Ascot on Champions Day.
There was no happy ending to the Verry Elleegant saga, the Melbourne Cup winner beating just three home having been denied the opportunity to take part in the Arc.
Remarkably, having bombed out three times, her owners are still keen on another European outing, in the Champion Fillies & Mares Stakes at Ascot where she could again have to take on Sea La Rosa.