Sacre bleu! French turn Lingfield blue, white and red with stunning treble
The Irish flag may as well fly over Cheltenham and perhaps Lingfield should be raising the French tricolour after raiders from across the English Channel laid siege to All-Weather Championships Finals Day.
The teeming rain was correctly forecast for the Surrey’s track big day but not the impact of the French as Funny Kid in the Marathon, City Light in the Sprint and 40-1 chance Lucky Team in the Mile, who broke the track record, disappeared back over the Channel with three of the six big prizes from just four runners.
First up was Funny Kid, who came late and fast under Maxime Guyon to claim the Marathon and prompt trainer Christophe Ferland to reach for the champagne.
It was Funny Kid’s first taste of Lingfield but Guyon might have thought he was back in France as the five-year-old, sent off at 7-2 and running in the Goldikova colours of the Wertheimer brothers, swooped off the kind of pedestrian pace more associated with races there to pip Lord George by a nose.
Ferland, who trains 100 horses near Bordeaux, said: “This has been the target and he was 200 per cent ready for it.
“He’s got a good turn of foot and the way the race was run, where they didn’t go too fast early, suited him as he could use that speed at the end. When he came with his run I thought he was going to do it. Now for a glass of champagne."
Unbeaten record falls
The trip over was a little shorter for Deauville-based Stephane Wattel, who watched fast-track qualifier and 8-1 chance City Light overcome a wide draw to end Kachy’s unbeaten record on the all-weather with a decisive burst up the straight.
The trainer said about City Light, running in the same colours as his 2,000 Guineas hope Sacred Life: “He was impressive at Chantilly but there is no better place than Lingfield to win on the all-weather. This was my dream.
“I wasn’t worried too much about the wide draw as we didn't want to get trapped on the inside. I knew he had the speed to follow the pace and that we had options."
Trainer Joel Boisnard, based in Angers where has a string of 60, said about Lucky Team: “He’s very good-looking and very talented. I was expecting him to run well but he’s won and broken the course record. If he was as good on turf he would be a superstar.”
Bachelot said: “I’ve been here and to Kempton six times before and not had a win, so it’s great to get one in a big race like this. I love this game.”
Watch out Britain and Ireland – next year’s finals day is already in the Gallic crosshairs. Pierre-Yves Bureau, racing manager to the Wertheimer Brothers, said: "Hopefully we will come back next year with horses for other races. It's a very good idea."
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