Spiritjim wins back on favoured track for Bary
Report: France, Thursday
Longchamp: Prix Lord Seymour (Listed) 1m4f, 4yo+
CHRISTOPHE SOUMILLON needed to be at his strongest as Spiritjim (Pascal Bary) wore down Au Revoir and Maxime Guyon to land a race which has plenty of recent pedigree in finding future Group winners.
Bary had warned beforehand that the ground might be a little on the lively side for the four-year-old son of Galileo, who was only making his sixth racecourse appearance.
Spiritjim's stiffest task last season came when pitched in against Kizuna and Rule The World in the Prix Niel and, while that may have come a bit soon for him, another winter seems to have improved both his body and mind.
"Physically he has developed very well and he is a lot stronger now, " said Bary. "He adores Longchamp and the ideal race will be back here in three weeks for the Prix d'Hedouville over the same 2,400m [1m4f] trip. He would stay further but it is a more valuable distance for him to prove himself at."
Au Revoir was only beaten in the final stride and emerged with plenty of credit, with his fitness edge over Spiritjim cancelled out by the need to carry an extra 3lb under the race conditions.
Given that he races in the colours of Australian syndicate OTI Management, a trip to the Melbourne Spring Carnival later in the year is very much on the cards for the former Coolmore colt.
Also at Longchamp on Thursday
Spiritjim first caused observers to pay attention when running out a three and a half length winner of the newcomers' race over 1m2f which opened this card 12 months ago.
Bary was able to keep the prize at home after Teletext (Christophe Lemaire) came late on the scene to score by half a length from Hargam.
Khalid Abdullah's homebred son of Empire Maker appeared to stay on much better than his owner's more fancied runner, Stunned, having momentarily looked outpaced after turning for home.
"Christophe gave him time and gave him a chance to get his breath before he finished off his race nicely," said Bary, who was in no hurry to nominate a target for Teletext, although the colt has entries in both the Prix du Jockey Club and the Juddmonte sponsored Grand Prix de Paris.
Frankie Dettori was back in a Parisian winner's enclosure for the second time in three days, after steering Helwan (Jean-Francois Bernard) to a maiden success over 7f in the Al Shaqab silks.
The son of Bernstein finished second to the highly-regarded Avenir Certain on his only start at two.
Dettori said: "He pulled on the way down to the start but he relaxed really well after that and I think he's up to Listed standard, although we'll have to take it a race at a time."
Reflecting on the success of Redbrook at Saint-Cloud on Tuesday, Dettori added: "We always liked him and he won despite getting a little tired. He is a little bit hot so Alain de Royer-Dupre has tried to get him settled down and, I think he left him a bit short rather than get him revved up. He is a good horse for the future."