Novellist (right) on his way to winning the Grand Prix de Saint-CloudPICTURE: Scoop Dyga
Novellist wins as Cirrus flops on comeback
Report: France, Sunday
Saint-Cloud: Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud (Group 1) 1m4f, 4yo+
CIRRUS DES AIGLES has achieved a lot of things on a racecourse, but winning on his first start of the season is not one of them.
The seven-year-old, who is the highest-rated horse in the world, was unplaced behind the Ryan Moore-ridden Novellist, with former Melbourne Cup winner Dundaden in second and Haya Landa back in third.
You have to go back to 2011, and the Hong Kong Cup at Sha Tin, for the last time Cirrus Des Aigles finished out of the first two. But having led turning for home he was powerless to stop several passing him, eventually finishing fifth.
"He needed it," said trainer Corine Barande-Barbe. "At 2,000m he probably would have won but at 2,400m he was just a bit short today. For the moment the plan remains the same and he'll progress in the next five weeks."
Moore took the race as the field straightened, kicking to the front and going clear. He never looked like being caught and Jamie Spencer, who took a while to get out on Dunaden, eventually got the better of Haya Landa to take second.
"He settled very well and travelled into the race," said Moore. "When he got the split there he quickened up well. I probably got there a bit soon and he got a bit lonely but he's tough."
Meleagros was the other runner to pass Cirrus Des Aigles, who folded tamely and wasn't given a hard time by Olivier Peslier.
Novellist was inserted at 6-1 by Paddy Power for the King George, though Cirrus Des Aigles is fancied to reverse form and is a 4-1 shot, while BetVictor make the winner a 20-1 shot for the Arc.
"Very proud of Dunaden again today who will be given a break before an autumn campaign culminating in the Arc. Lovely to see," tweetd David Redvers, racing manager to Dunaden's owner Pearl Bloodstock.