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Brametot lands a thriller - FRENCH 2000 GUINEAS


FRANCE’S Champion Flat Trainer Jean-Claude Rouget put behind him a challenging start to the season when he claimed his country’s first colts’ Classic of the year when Brametot led on the line to defeat Le Brivido, trained by compatriot and rival Andre Fabre. In a competitive renewal of the Abu Dhabi Poule d’Essai des Poulains, or French 2000 Guineas, it produced a thrilling conclusion and the colt, owned jointly by Al Shaqab Racing and Gerald Augustin-Normand, finished strongly under jockey Chrisitan Demuro to nail Le Brivido and Pierre-Charles Boudot, with British challenger Rivet back in third.

An outbreak of EHV-1, the equine herpes virus, forced Rouget to put one of his barns into temporary quarantine as a result of which last year’s European Champion Racehorse Almanzor is set to miss Royal Ascot. But Brametot, who had captured the Group 2 Prix de Fontainebleu previously, showed the rest of the operation could function effectively with a strong finish to claim the trainer’s first victory in the French Classic. Rouget said: “He had to be brave because he accelerated but then had to fight and resist. He proved he stayed a mile really well, which was not obvious from his pedigree.

“There are three different people to consult with on where we go next but my idea would be to go for the Prix du Jockey Club. If you want to run in an Arc you cannot stay at a mile all year.” After the field split into two groups exiting the stalls, the Frankie Dettori-ridden Rivet was to the fore in the middle group and still travelling within himself with two furlongs to run. But he was overtaken by Le Brivido who appeared to have sealed the win until Brametot emerged from the stands side group to get up late. Sobetsu, beaten out of sight, but with excuses, by Rhododendron in the Fillies’ Mile at Newmarket last autumn on her previous outing, won the 1m2f Group 1 Prix Saint-Alary under William Buick for Godolphin and trainer Charlie Appleby.

Sobetsu enjoyed the extra two furlongs and soft ground, stretching clear in the home straight to win unchallenged after a rough start in which Lady Frankel was slowly away before getting boxed in on the rails. Appleby explained: “William said she was soon into a nice rhythm round there so we wouldn’t say she won’t stay a mile and a half but she is obviously good at this trip.” The Epsom Oaks was a serious consideration straight after the race but the threat of fast ground was always a concern. Therefore, the following day, it was confirmed that the French equivalent, the 1m2f Prix de Diane, was the target. Appleby explained: “This softer ground really suits her and it can get quite quick at Epsom.

She showed last year fast ground is not ideal. “We discussed it with Sheikh Mohammed and have decided to target the French Oaks, not the Epsom one.” Buick had Sobetsu in the first two throughout which proved the place to be with few able to challenge, including Coronet, the favourite who was a never closer third. Earlier, the weekend’s big Purebred Arabian feature, the 1m2f Group 1 The President of the UAE Cup was won by Sheikh Hamdan’s brilliant Muraaqib. Trained by Francois Rohaut, the 5yo homebred son of Munjiz was produced by Francois-Xavier Bertras to challenge early leader Mehdaaf Athbah in the straight, gaining the initiative over a furlong out.

A duel developed, with the pair a long way clear, and it was only in the final stages Rohaut’s charge started to pull clear. It was a fifth consecutive Group One victory for the horse who has tasted defeat just once, on his second start, in June 2015. Rohaut said: “We have to be very pleased with that, his first run of the season and he should improve from it. “He is a very good horse and, hopefully, has more to come as he has not had many races.”

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07 Aug 2018
Issue Number: Issue 647
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