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Cirrus Des Aigles - Ascot - 15/10/2011

Cirrus Des Aigles: won the British Champion Stakes at Ascot in 2011

  PICTURE: Edward Whitaker (  

Cirrus slump continues as Tres Blue triumphs

Report: France, Sunday

Deauville: Lucien Barriere Grand Prix de Deauville (Group 2) 1m4½f, 3yo+

IN THE wake of Frankel's retirement, Cirrus Des Aigles started 2013 as the highest rated horse in training. He won't finish the year in the same position.

2012 was an annus mirabilis for the seven-year-old gelding, with Group 1 wins in the Dubai Sheema Classic and an eight-length romp in the Prix Ganay, as well as getting within two lengths of Frankel in the British Champion Stakes - a race he won the year before.

But in 2013 he has looked a pale imitation of the rampant force he was last year, with time, and quite possibly 49 career starts, catching up with him as he flopped for the fourth time this season.

A fifth and a fourth behind Novellist, in the Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud and King George respectively, prompted a drop to Group 2 company where he fared better finishing second, albeit beaten a head by the seemingly vastly inferior Petit Chevalier - when sent off the 9-10 favourite.

That he lined up at Deauville as a 2-1 shot against horses he would have been shorter than 1-2 against last year reflected the belief he is no longer the force of old, and the performance underlined it.

Settled in mid division, Christophe Soumillon loomed up ominously on the favourite as the field approached the home turn, sitting upsides longtime leader Slow Pace, who set just that under Olivier Peslier.

Yet as they entered the home straight Soumillon went from cruising to sending out distress signals in a matter of strides and Peslier had held more than enough to repel the challenge of the horse he has partnered to most of his biggest wins.

Christophe Soumillon

Christophe Soumillon: "surprised how hard he was blowing"

  PICTURE: Masakazu Takahashi  

"I suppose I am a little disappointed," said his trainer Corine Barande-Barbe. "Christophe [Soumillon] said he kept a little for himself. When two or three others got to him he slightly held back. His condition is obviously still coming along but Christophe was surprised, on slightly softer ground than he's had, how hard he was blowing."

Peslier looked to have stolen it but Tres Blue, who had been sat handy throughout, got the perfect split between the pair and picked up for pressure from the fast-finishing Penglai Pavilion down the outside to hold on for a head victory under Fabrice Veron at 11-1. Very Nice Name passed Cirrus Des Aigles close home for fourth.

"We were going to go to the race in Germany but then changed the plan at the last moment," said trainer Alex Pantall. "He gets tougher with every race, he's German-bred and it's somewhat in their make-up.

"He's strong and tough. He's in the Arc and I don't see why he shouldn't go. He won't have a run beforeand, the Niel will come too soon and he's already run three weeks ago in the Prix Reux."

Also on Sunday:

Deauville: Prix Quincey Lucien Barriere (Group 3) 1m, 3yo+

THERE was a British one-two in the Group 3 Prix Quincey with Neil Callan making all on the William Knight-trained Fire Ship to get the better of George Baker's Royal Ascot winner Belgian Bill, who finished fast under Gerald Mosse.

"I wanted to drop him in because I always felt that was the best way to ride him and he's always better with something to run at," said Callan.

"I thought I might as well get beaten for the right reasons and, when I let him stride on, he settled quite well. When I come to France I like to get the race going a good three or four futrlongs out. If you try and ride the French way they'll always outsprint you.

"The key to him was the rain this morning. When he ran at Goodwood it was only four days after his Listed race but it was still a credible run because the ground wasn't really to his liking. As it happened Plan B had to come in to play."

Baker was delighted for his fellow British trainer, even if his jockey wasn't. "Gerald is gutted. He thought if he'd got out half a stride earlier he'd have won," said Baker.

"But all credit to the winner, William is a great mate of mine and we've got the one-two. He's in the Cambridgeshire but we're second in a Group 3 so there's a Group 3 in Munich on September 15, that's probably the way we'll look now."

The Christophe Ferland-trained Spoil The Fun led home the home team, getting the better of the Elie Lellouche-trained Pinturicchio in a photo-finish.

Deauville: Prix de Meautry Lucien Barriere (Group 3) 6f, 3yo+

MYASUN landed the second Group 3 of his career, finishing strongly under Olivier Peslier to overhaul the Andre Fabre-trained 5-2 favourite Tulips inside the final 50 yards.

Myasun's last success in Group company came when getting the better of David Nagle's British Champions Sprint winner Maarek.

While that was nine months ago and he has only won one of his four starts since, the 12-1 shot overcame a wide draw to come from last to first to win by a neck, with Dibajj getting the better of Morning Frost in the photo-finish for third.

"We were disappointed last time, when he pulled too hard, and if he'd run like that again we would have lowered our sights," said trainer Christian Baillet. "We'll discuss it but I think he'll be entered for the Prix de l'Abbaye de Longchamp."

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