Rouget relief as Brametot pulls out the stops for Classic strike
Brametot dug deep under a determined Cristian Demuro to wear down Le Brivido in an epic finish to the French version of the 2,000 Guineas, providing his trainer Jean-Claude Rouget with an enormous lift following hard on the heels of what he has recently described as “the worst week of my career”.
A month ago Rouget didn’t know whether a sizeable number of his string would survive an outbreak of the deadly Equine Herpes Virus.
Though Brametot was never affected and had already provided a rare glimpse of sunshine to peek through the clouds in the Prix de Fontainebleau, Rouget was understandably delighted to land his first win in the Classic.
Al Shaqab bought a half share in Brametot at the start of the week and it was in Sheikh Joaan Al Thani’s colours which he recorded the victory.
It will be Chantilly for the Prix du Jockey Club in three weeks’ time that Demuro is due to climb aboard the son of Rajsaman in public, this time sporting the cream and lilac of his boss, Gerard Augustin-Normand.
Brametot is bound to be surrounded by an element of drama when he appears at Chantilly, such is his habit of dropping himself out before thundering home.
On the evidence of this run, anything he has achieved over a mile is a bonus.
“Brametot is certainly not like the others and he is not a huge horse,” said Rouget.
“But he has a bonny face and a big heart. The Jockey Club is the logical next step. He is entered at Ascot but I think it would be more interesting to try him over further.
"If you want to find out if he is a horse for the Arc you can’t stay at a mile all season. On pedigree he should certainly be better up in trip, he isn’t really bred for 1,600 metres. If he turns out to be even better over a longer distance, that would be great.”
Reflecting on the ordeal from which his string is slowly emerging, Rouget said: “It is not at all easy. I would have been happy enough to have been second but the fact that he got his head in front is important for us.”
Le Brivido ran a race full of credit on what was both his first try at a mile and his first Pattern race.
He doesn’t look to be crying out for further and the St James’s Palace Stakes – for which Prince Faisal Bin Khaled would need to supplement him – would look a logical alternative.
Behind the two principals, Rivet proved clear best of the rest and gave William Haggas a second podium finish of the weekend in the French Classics.
He will be at Chantilly on June 4 to attempt his revenge over Brametot in the Jockey Club.
“I think maybe we should try further now, those two horses seemed to be quicker than him at the end,” said Haggas.
“I had planned to go to the Irish Guineas but I think we’ll come back here for the [French] Derby. I think he’s a strong galloping horse and the others were just a bit quicker, but he put the rest to bed.
"I think we must try to see what he is like over a mile and a quarter and the French Derby is the place to do it.”
The disappointment of the race was National Defense, who looked primed to challenge two furlongs out but who was heavily eased by Christophe Soumillon after failing to pick up.