French Fifteen: won Djebel last year before running second at NewmarketPICTURE: ScoopDyga
Vendome shows style in smooth Djebel success
Report: France, Thursday
Maisons-Laffitte: Prix Djebel (Group 3) 7f, 3yo colts & geldings
A YEAR on from hitting the woodwork with his first runner in the Qipco 2,000 Guineas, trainer Nicolas Clement could have another live candidate for the first European Classic of the season after Style Vendome (Thierry Thulliez) succeeded French Fifteen on the Prix Djebel roll of honour.
Available at 50-1 in a couple of places for Newmarket beforehand, Style Vendome was cut in all quarters after bursting through on the rail before putting two and a half lengths between himself and his pursuers.
Coral and Paddy Power both went 14-1 (from 33-1) about the son of Anabaa, although Betfred were less impressed and offered 25-1.
Clement insisted afterwards that no decision between the Guineas and the Poule d'Essai des Poulains would be made until he and owner the Comte Ganay had paused for reflection.
"You have the choice between the prestige and the premiums, the straight course and the bend," he said. "It's a nice choice to have and I'll talk it over with the owner."
At the two furlong marker Thulliez looked like he might not get a run but, when the gap appeared, the race-fit Style Vendome swiftly settled matters.
"He's the perfect racehorse, he's easy to handle and never gives any trouble," continued Clement. "He always gives his running and he's won four from five now."
The pacesetting Snowday stayed on to be second, a short neck ahead of dual group winner Penny's Picnic, who also holds an entry at Newmarket.
"We're very happy with that because we knew he'd need it," reported part owner Thierry Delegue.
"He was given a quiet time over the winter having run seven times last year. We held him up over the trip and it was always going to be hard to make up the ground on that going but he finished well. It's too early to say what comes next but all options are open."
Penny's Picnic is as big as 50-1 with Boylesports for the Guineas, although it should be born in mind that trainer Didier Guillemin has fond memories of the Poulains, having trained the winner two years ago with Tin Horse.