Vision D'Etat battles to Niel success
REPORT: FRANCE Sunday
Longchamp: Prix Niel
VISION D'ETAT ran the perfect trial for the Qatar Prix de L'Arc de Triomphe on Sunday, when he took the Group 2 Prix Niel at Longchamp.
The Eric Libaud-trained colt was given a precision rideby Ioritz Mendizabal and he got up in the last stride to win by a nose from Ideal World and long-time leader Centennial.
He was immediately shortened for the big race on October 5. Coral go just 7-1 (from 12), but 12-1 is available with Totesport andPaddy Power.
Vision d'Etat deserves extra credit as he was racing for the first time in three and a half months at Longchamp, and over 1m4f for the first time.
The son of Grand Prix de Paris winner Chichicastenango is now unbeaten in six races andLoire Valley-based Libaud has done a fantastic job with the colt half-owned by his wife Vicky.
Jimmy Fortune took the field along from the start on Centennial and they were still going welluntil the furlong marker, when Stephane Pasquier and Ideal World took over.
Mendizabal still had plenty of ground to make up on Vision d'Etat, and quickened well to pinch the race in the final stride.
Libaud said: "The horse was very well ridden. He showed excellent acceleration and was by no means fully wound up for today's race. We would definitely prefer softer ground for the Arc de Triomphe."
Mendizabal added: "It was a bit firm for him today and I lost two or three lengths running down the hill. I then realised I was following the wrong horse, so had to change plans.
“I gave him three taps in the straight and he quickened impressively. The colt was only 85 per cent fit for today's race."
Vision d'Etat had not been seen out since winning the Prix du Jockey-Club on June 1.
Pasquier gave Ideal World every possible chance, and reversed Prix Eugene Adam form with City Leader, who was fourth on Sunday.
Ideal World is owned by Kahlid Abdullah, whose racing manager Teddy Grimthorpe said: "He ran a super race and was in front everywhere but not where it mattered. We were beaten by a Derby winner.
“He's much improved and may be better at four. We will have to go away and think about where to run him next.”
Of the Great Voltigeur winner Centennial, trainer John Gosden said: "He ran a great race and we were really pleased, but we needed more rain.
“This was the best race of his life and we may give him one more run and then put him away."
Jamie Spencer said of City Leader: "He ran well but we were slightly leaned on by the winner and that cost us third place. More cut in the ground would have also been an advantage."
The biggest disappointment of the race was the Grand Prix de Paris second Prospect Wells, who finished a well beaten sixth.
"He got a bit nervous beforethe start and ran very free in the early part of the race," said jockey Olivier Peslier.