Les Beaufs (far, pictured winning the Prix Royal-Oak): Saint-Cloud successPICTURE: Edward Whitaker (racingpost.com/photos)
Les Beaufs gets back in the groove at Saint-Cloud
Report: France, Tuesday
Saint-Cloud: Prix Right Royal (Listed) 1m7½f, 4yo+
WITH all due respect to connections of Prix Edmond Blanc winner Silas Marner, the day belonged to Les Beaufs (Valerie Seignoux/Julien Guillochon), arguably the most unlikely Group 1 hero of last season, who demonstrated his Prix Royal-Oak win was no fluke with an all-the-way success on his return to action.
The popularity of Les Beaufs stems partly from his unfashionable connections but must owe plenty as well to his no prisoners approach to staying races.
Once again Guillochon made plenty of use aboard the horse which is trained by his mother and owned in partnership by her husband and brother.
On the recently rain-softened ground (Ivory Land was withdrawn 20 minutes before post time), only Gloomy Sunday threatened to give the son of Apsis a race before eventually coming home four lengths adrift in second.
"That augurs well for the future because he wasn't 100 per cent today," said Seignoux. "Next he'll run in the Prix Barbeville and then the Prix Vicomtesse Vigier, with the two main objectives the Cadran and the Royal-Oak in the autumn."
Now clearly established among the top bracket of stayers in France, Seignoux was cautious when presented with the idea of travelling to Royal Ascot for the Gold Cup.
"This year I don't know, it's a thought tucked in one corner of my mind," she said. "There's no pressure to go so we'll see."
>> Also on Tuesday
Saint-Cloud: Prix Edmond Blanc (Group 3) 1m, 4yo+
THE biggest prize of the day went to the steeply progressive Silas Marner (Jean-Claude Rouget/Jean-Bernard Eyquem), who held off the late charge of Menardais to land a first group success at the age of six.
"Unfortunately we had to stop with him for more than a year because he had a small problem with his feet at three but, he's made good progress since then," said his Venezualan-based owner Alain Jathiere.
"I was a little worried about the soft ground about which there was a bit of a question mark. Jean-Bernard rode a good race and managed to win without being too hard on him. He'll come back here May 1 for the Prix du Muguet and I'll be booking my plane ticket from Caracas tomorrow."