With almost 10 weeks to go to Irish Champions Weekend, the September showpiece is already assured of an international headline act in the French star Vadeni.
The Aga Khan-owned colt followed up his Prix Du Jockey Club rout last month with a narrow but decisive success in Saturday’s Eclipse at Sandown.
If there was a sting in the tail for jockey Christophe Soumillon with a 12 day careless riding ban for causing two of his rivals having to snatch up after the line, both he and trainer Jean Claude Rouget didn’t hesitate nominating the Champion Stakes at Leopardstown as Vadeni’s next start.
Rouget and Soumillon combined for a memorable victory in the Day 1 highlight of Irish flat racing’s shop-window event with Almanzor in 2016.
“I have 43 years of training in my legs so I know it is always difficult to win a maiden and to win the Eclipse, for me it was a real challenge.
“Winning the Irish Champion with Almanzor we were the same. I hope this one will win the other race [Irish Champion].
“Almanzor had physical [presence]. They are two champions but they are a bit different. The change of foot of this one is terribly good and what we saw in the Prix Du Jockey Club. Next will be the Irish Champion,” Rouget commented.
Vadeni earned 5-1 quotes for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe on the back of his weekend victory although Soumillion believes the son of Churchill is a prime mile and a quarter talent.
“For me he is a pure mile and a quarter horse. In the beginning of the race he doesn’t show too much speed but the way he accelerates, and if you look at him physically, he really looks like that.
“We will see how he goes. Next is probably for the Irish Champion Stakes and from there we will see. For sure he is a really special horse,” the Belgian rider said.
On Sunday Aidan O’Brien’s High Definition failed to fire in the Group One Grand Prix De Saint-Cloud when fading to sixth behind the English-trained winner Alpinista.
The Sir Mark Prescott trained mare, a triple-Group One winner in Germany last year, was making her first start of the season and was cut to 14-1 for October’s Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe back in Paris.
High Definition was bustled into the lead soon after the start by Ryan Moore but quickly came under pressure in the straight.
In other news, the Irish Horseracing Regulatory Board has said its investigation into the circumstances of the Paddy Twomey-trained Rosscarbery getting disqualified from third in last week’s Group One Pretty Polly Stakes for weighing in light will be “as swift as possible”.
The matter was referred for further investigation by the Curragh stewards after jockey Wayne Lordan weighed in almost 5lbs light, having been told by the clerk of the scales he was 5lbs heavy when originally weighing out.
Twomey has said it was an error either by the clerk of the scales or a computer problem but either way described the IHRB as not being fit for purpose on the day. He has lodged an appeal against Rosscarbery’s disqualification.
Before any appeal can be heard the IHRB investigation has to be concluded and a regulatory spokesperson said on Sunday: “It will be a thorough investigation and it will be as swift as possible. Once that is completed, we will proceed to the appeal”.
The spokesperson didn’t put a time frame on the investigation’s length but it is understood it could be concluded later this week.