Race horse trainer TIM EASTERBYPICTURE: Martin Lynch (racingpost.com/photos)
Mattmu makes all for impressive win
Report: France, Tuesday
Maisons-Laffitte: Criterium de Maisons-Laffitte (Group 2) 6f, 2yo
MATTMU (Tim Easterby/David Allan) held off allcomers to run out a convincing winner on his first start at Group level.
Having gone close twice in valuable sales races during the autumn, the son of Indesatchel opened his pattern account easily enough in the Listed Rockingham Stakes last time but was allowed to go off fourth best by local punters behind red-hot favourite Shamal.
Mattmu and Shamal matched strides throughout the first two furlongs but on punishing ground it was the British raider who lengthened clear and, despite looking around a little inside the final furlong, the winner was always holding Queen Bee and Goken.
"He loved that ground, it can't be too soft for him," said Easterby on his first visit to Maisons-Laffitte. "He goes on good ground too and he's just a very good horse. He is very quick but Dave [Allan] says he'll have no problem going seven furlongs."
Irish raider Shepherd's Purse and Gary Carroll didn't enjoy the smoothest of passages but were well beaten back in seventh, while the Richard Hannon-trained Parsley trailed home in last.
Also on Tuesday
Maisons-Laffitte: Prix Seine-et-Oise (Group 3) 6f, 3yo+
GAMMARTH (Alex Pantall/Mickael Barzalona) put an end to a frustrating sequence of near-misses at Group level when powering through the mud on a track where three of his five career successes have now come.
The son of Layman had three quarters of a length to spare over the former Jo Hughes charge Caledonia Lady (now trained in France by Myriam Bollack-Badel), with Catcall a short head away in third.
"He deserves that because he has always been the bridesmaid at Group level and I must congratulate trainer [Alex Pantall]," said owner/breeder Gerard Mimoul.
Pantall added: "He goes well on soft ground but I must admit I was worried about it being heavy like today. But he was always tracking the right horses and he was produced at just the right moment."
The David Elsworth-trained Justice Day made much of the early running before his stamina ebbed away while Maarek was unable to reproduce anything like his best form and was never a factor under Billy Lee.
Maisons-Laffitte: Prix Miesque (Group 3) 7f, 2yo fillies
Prix Marcel Boussac fourth Night Of Light failed to justify cramped odds as Ameenah (Frederic Rossi/Franck Blondel) ran down the favourite inside the final furlong.
The daughter of American Post reinforced the form of stablemate Evasive's First, who proved too strong when the pair met in a Vichy Listed race and has subsequently landed the Group 3 Prix des Chenes at Longchamp.
"She has really shown today that she is a good filly," said Rossi, who is one of the dominant forces of racing in the South of France and whose rare raids on the capital's Group prizes are frequently rewarded. "I'm very pleased because I told M. Seroul after Lyon that we should save her for this race. He agreed and she was a fresh horse today which is always an advantage at this end of the season."