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Saga shrugs off penalty to land Vichy spoils

Report: France, Wednesday

Vichy: Grand Prix de Vichy-Auvergne (Group 3) 1m2f, 3yo+

SAGA DREAM (Freddy Lemercier/Christophe Soumillon) bounced back from a below-par effort in the Grand Prix de Chantilly with a gritty all-the-way success.

With no obvious pace in the race Soumillon took matters into his own hands before leading the tightly packed field off the final bend across to the stand side rails.

Despite giving 4lb away to the likes of Saoinois for his Group 2 success in the Prix du Conseil de Paris last October, Saga Dream was able to hold his pursuers at bay, fending off Valley Jem to score a shade comfortably.

"I didn't particularly give any orders to Christophe to set off in front but I've always thought we might try it at some stage and he was in the right spot as the race panned out" said Lemercier.

"A big word also must be said for his regular jockey, Thierry Jarnet, who has helped make the horse what he is. As for the future I have no holiday planned for him so we'll look at the Prix Gontaut-Biron at Deauville. He's always at his best in the autumn so we'll look forward to that."

The Hugo Palmer-trained Making Eyes ran well in fifth considering the drying conditions but Saonois will have left connections scratching their heads once again.

Last season's Prix du Jockey Club hero was brought to win his race by Antoine Hamelin but failed to show the acceleration which made him such a potent force last season.  

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