Group 3 marred by death of River Proud
REPORT: FRANCE, Saturday
Longchamp: Prix du Prince d'Orange (Group 3) 1m2f
A SHOCKING Prix du Prince d'Orange was marred by the death of the Paul Cole-trained River Proud, who collapsed in front of the stands halfway up the Longchamp straight after cutting out the running inthe Group 3 event.
The race, in which Never On Sunday beat the favourite Russian Cross, did not look much of a guide to the Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe as the winner is most unlikely to run, whereas the second now looks set to be supplemented to the Emirates Airline Champion Stakes.
Olivier Peslier gunned River Proud straight to the lead but the colt became unbalanced in the straight and his legs gave way before he rolled over on to the track. Paul Cole was devastated. "The vet told me that his aorta valve burst," he said. "It's so tragic as he was a really great horse.
Peslier said: "Coming out of the last turn he lost his action and I knew something was wrong. He began wandering before I realised exactly what had happened."
As River Proud lost his action, Stephane Pasquier moved Russian Cross into the lead and he stayed there until Christophe Lemaire brought Never On Sunday with a sweeping late run upthe centre of the track. He went on to win by a neck with Trincot four lengths away third.
Never On Sunday played up so much when trainer Jean-Claude Rouget tried to fit his blinkers in the paddock, the stewards allowed him to race without them for the first time in three outings. "I won't bother putting them on again," said Rouget, completing back-to-back successes in a race he won with Literato in 2007.
"It is most unlikely that he will run in the Arc de Triomphe as he is in the Arqana sale the night before and this race comes far too close to the Arc. He isn't even entered in the race. We will just have to wait and see what happens."
Owner Edouard de Rothschild, chairman of France-Galop, ruled out the Arc for Russian Cross. "The Arc distance would be the end of the world for him so we have decided to supplement him into the Champion Stakes," he said.
"It was still a good run as he was giving two kilos (4lb) to the winner. This afternoon we got the information we wanted to know."