'My heart is broken' – agony for Scott as Polydream collars James Garfield
Scott Burton witnesses joy and despair at the end of a pulsating Group 1
If a week is a long time in politics then how do you measure the timespan of the final half a furlong at the end of a furious sprint?
The Prix Maurice de Gheest is run over a unique six and a half furlong trip and, but for that unconventional addition of 100 yards, George Scott's James Garfield would have made all for a famous first career Group 1 success.
Had that been the case, Freddy Head's petite speedball Polydream would have had to settle for second.
In actual fact it was Head who proudly sang La Marseillaise on the victory podium, while Scott could only reflect with a mixture of immense satisfaction and profound agony after James Garfield had come so close to pulling off a daring win.
"I won’t lie, my heart is broken, but I am so proud of him and for Tim and Bill [Gredley] my father-in-law," said Scott. "He is a warrior and I don’t think it was because he was too long out in front on his own. He certainly wasn’t stopping at the line, we were just beaten by a better horse so we take it on the chin."
Scott admitted he hadn't expected James Garfield to give such a bold show in front, as the Gredleys' yellow and black silks blazed away at the head of a minority group of three on the far side, while the other 17 runners headed for the stands' rail.
"It was the first-time blinkers and he really hit the lids today," said Scott. "He was the last one in and he was ready to jump and run. There are no excuses, he has been beaten by a better horse but he is obviously a very good horse in his own right and it is pretty amazing to have him in my barn."
James Garfield has already provided Scott with a first Breeders' Cup experience and now his first runner in France.
"We’ll go back, take a breath and probably we’ll need to re-plan his campaign now," said Scott. "Six and a half [furlongs] is a specialist trip so we’ll have to look at six and maybe come back to Longchamp for the seven furlong race on Arc day [Prix de la Foret].
"I imagine now he will stay in training and he could be a horse for Hong Kong and Dubai, he could go around the world."
'He's back to his best'
Frankie Dettori has never been short of Group 1 victories during his storied career, but it was obvious that he would have got quite a kick had he been able to add another for Scott and the Gredleys.
"It was a huge race and the blinkers definitely sharpened him up big time," said Dettori. "The last half a furlong I just came to the end of my run and Polydream got me.
"But it was an amazing run and he is back to his best. I’m obviously upset we didn’t win but delighted with the way he ran."
Polydream continues dream Deauville for Head
Polydream's scintillating defeat of Laurens here last August was one of the most memorable two-year-old performances of 2017 but, having suffered an injury when second in the Prix Marcel Boussac, it has been a long road back to get to this point.
"I always knew she would come good here and I have never had her so well as today," said Head. "But I never thought she would catch the leader and I thought we were booked for second."
A rematch with James Garfield at Longchamp on Arc day looks a real possibility, while Head could be packing his bags for Churchill Downs at the end of the year on the "Goldikova road" to the Breeders' Cup Mile.
Head said: "She has her whole future ahead of her and the Prix de la Foret is a likely option, while the owners, Alain and Gerard Wertheimer, love to run in the United States."
The Tin Man emerged from out of the pack to claim third and will now be aimed at the Qipco Champions Sprint, which he won in 2016.
"He was just a bit edgy in the stalls and missed the break a bit and he finished very well," said James Fanshawe.
"The race was just happening a little bit away from him but he has run well. He loves Ascot so we'll work back from that. Whether that takes us to Haydock first, we’ll see after this."
Another Ascot specialist, Librisa Breeze, was even worse away from the gates but charged home for fourth.
Dean Ivory said: "I am really happy with him. The nice ground helped and the important thing is that over here, when they say 'good ground,' that is what it is."
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