Top chaser Rhialco back with a bang at Auteuil
Report: France, Sunday
RHIALCO (Emmanuel Clayeux/Jonathan Plouganou) coasted to success in the Prix Tofano, the first step on what connections hope will be the road to this season's Grand Steeple-Chase de Paris at Auteuil in May.
After two of his six rivals departed at the water jump in front of the stands, Plouganou dictated the race without giving the nine-year-old a hard time on his first start over fences in nearly 18 months.
The conditions of the race gave Rhialco every chance on both his chase form prior to a lengthy injury layoff, as well as his pair of comeback runs over hurdles last autumn.
"He was very calm and the race unfolded perfectly for him, " said Clayeux. "I could have run him here in the Group 3 over the same course and distance a week ago but he would have been up against better opposition and I think he really benefited from the extra seven days. I don't know about his next race but I might try and find him another easy task."
Later in the afternoon Clayeux sent out the promising Alpha Tiep to make it two wins from three starts over hurdles.
The son of Anzillero will be trained with the major prizes for four-year-olds over fences in the autumn as his target.
Also on Sunday
Auteuil: Prix Duc d'Anjou (Group 3 Chase) 2m1½f, 4yo
LATERANO (Jaques Ortet/David Cottin) underlined his credentials as one of the most exciting members of his generation with a straightforward success, easily disposing of the first three home in last November's Prix Congress.
The margin of victory was five lengths at the line but David Powell, racing manager to owner-breeder Magalene Bryant, believes that underestimates Laterano's dominance over second-placed Nando.
"He was looking around waiting for the others," said Powell. "He's very cool and a super jumper. He beat Calipto on his debut, and he's favourite for the Triumph Hurdle. We'll probably skip the next prep and run in the Prix Jean Stern and then if all goes well he'll go for the Prix Ferdinand Dufaure."