Knight To Behold crashes party as Study Of Man team turn to Longchamp
Scott Burton looks for Arc clues as Talismanic enters the Longchamp picture
Knight To Behold stormed back to the sort of form he showed in the Lingfield Derby Trial under a canny ride from Oisin Murphy to land the Haras du Logis-sponsored Prix Guillaume d'Ornano, leaving the first three home in the French Derby toiling more than four lengths in his wake.
Prix du Jockey Club hero Study Of Man could only finish third, beaten this time by the Chantilly runner-up Patascoy, while later on the card Godolphin's popular gelding Talismanic put himself in the Arc picture with a comfortable Group 3 success.
After a race which is designed to launch the Classic three-year-olds on the road to the major autumn targets, trainer Harry Dunlop and owner Neil Jones will have some hugely enjoyable discussions about where to go next after the son of Sea The Stars, who holds no entries, put a pair of Derby disappointments behind him on this return to a mile and a quarter.
Dunlop was absent but wife and assistant Christina was understandably delighted with Knight To Behold's success.
"It is a wonderful tribute to Harry's father John and all his pathfinding here in France," said Dunlop, flanked by the late trainer's youngest grandson, William.
"At home we have always felt he might be better than Robin Of Navan, who he works with, and this is great payoff for the patience of both Harry and his lad Colm. I'm sure Harry will have a long chat tonight as to where he'll go next with [owner] Neil Jones, who bred Millenary and Let The Lion Roar in the same family."
Murphy revealed he has been a longtime admirer of Knight To Behold and will also be asked for his input before a plan is hatched.
"I didn’t go slow up front but I set a nice even gallop," said Murphy. "I knew he was saving a bit but I didn’t feel they handed me the race, I feel I was on a very good horse.
"I rode him before he ever made his debut and really liked him but I’ve had to wait a long time to get on his back again. I’d like to see him given some time between his races."
Arc the aim for Study Of Man
Paddy Power introduced Knight To Behold at 33-1 for the Arc – a race for which he would need to be supplemented, while Study Of Man is now available at 20-1 (from 14) with the same firm.
But neither trainer Pascal Bary nor jockey Stephane Pasquier were too downhearted after the Niarchos Family's Deep Impact colt stayed on to be a never-nearer third.
"He was a bit rusty and had a good blow there afterwards," said racing manager, Alan Cooper. "Stephane said he wasn't quite at ease on the track and stumbled a couple of times, but he said he wasn't disappointed.
"2,000 metres [a mile and a quarter] might be a bit short for him now and we'll look towards the Arc, while he will be entered in the Prix Niel beforehand. It's far from the end of the world."
Patascoy might also be given a try upped in trip to a mile and a half after trainer Xavier Thomas-Demeaulte said he was pleased to have reversed the form with Study Of Man but "none-the-wiser" as to what the colt's best trip was.
Talismanic back for another crack at the Arc
Making his first start on turf since chasing home Highland Reel in Hong Kong last December, Talismanic made a pleasing return to action when brushing aside his opposition in the Group 3 Prix Gontaut-Biron over a mile and a quarter.
Trainer Andre Fabre has always had a question mark over Godolphin's flashy son of Medaglia D'Oro's stamina for a mile and a half, despite having won the Breeders' Cup Turf at Del Mar last November.
Talismanic was only 11th behind Found in the Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe as a three year-old but has since strengthened into a different physical specimen.
"The field was alright but the main thing is that he enjoyed himself and for the older horses that is important," said trainer Andre Fabre.
"We’re going to try for the Arc now. He is not in the Irish Champion but we’ll decide later in discussion with the owner."
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