Edited Breeders’ Cup Release — Gousserie Racing & Ecuries Serge Stempniak’s Ace Impact (IRE) maintained his unbeaten record Sunday with a stellar victory in the Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe (G1), beating 14 rivals and gaining an automatic berth into the $4 million Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf (G1) through the Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series: Win and You’re In.
The Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series is an international series of 80 graded/group stakes races whose winners receive automatic starting positions and fees paid into a corresponding race of the Breeders’ Cup World Championships, scheduled to be held Nov. 3-4 at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, California.
“The Arc,” Europe’s richest race, was the centerpiece of a spectacular day of racing at ParisLongchamp, which featured five Breeders’ Cup Challenge Series races.
After a fairly even break, Juddmonte’s group 1 winner Westover (GB) settled on the inside matching strides with Hukum (IRE), who earned an automatic berth in the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf when he won the July 29 King George VI And Queen Elizabeth QIPCO Stakes (G1).
Drawn in stall eight, the Jean-Claude Rouget-trained Ace Impact was held up by jockey Cristian Demuro, who was en route to his second Arc score after previously tasting victory on Rouget trainee Sottsass (FR) three years ago. The 3-year-old colt by Cracksman (GB) was traveling well before being pulled wide in the straight, 2 furlongs out, as Hukum, ridden by Jim Crowley, was set to challenge.
The thrilling closing stages saw Westover temporarily take the lead with Ace Impact rallying on the outside. The Fabrice Chappet-trained Onesto (IRE), Japan’s Through Seven Seas (JPN), and the Derrick Smith, Mrs. John Magnier, Michael Tabor, Westerberg-owned Continuous (JPN) all gave chase but Ace Impact was too good and drew clear in the final furlong to win by 1 3/4 lengths, with Westover in second. Onesto finished third.
Ace Impact has progressed with each run since his Jan. 23 debut and had been most impressive when landing the June 4 Qatar Prix du Jockey Club (French Derby, G1) by 3 1/2 lengths. Prior to today’s victory, he won the 1 1/2-mile Prix Guillaume d’Ornano (G2) on Aug. 15 at Deauville.
Ace Impact, now 6-for-6, completed the 1 1/2-mile contest in 2:25.50 over a course listed as good to soft.
Rouget said: “I won with Sottsass three years ago. It was incredible because I started in Pau a long time ago. It’s a long way (journey of training career) and two Arcs in four years is fantastic.
“Thank you to all of my team. I have two teams now, one in Pau and one in Deauville. There is a lot of work always in a serious, serious way. We always say they are the best when they win. I think (the secret to Ace Impact’s success) is his strong acceleration. It is something I have never seen.”
On Westover’s second, trainer Ralph Beckett said: “What a run. I’m delighted. Hukum came across and looked like he helped the pace along. At the top of the straight, I thought we were in business, but there was one better.”
Beckett indicated that Westover would likely start next in the Longines Breeders’ Cup Turf.
“I’ve nothing to add – he’s done it again,” he said. “I always fancied the Breeders’ Cup Turf for him as he enjoys his time away, as we saw in Dubai earlier in the year. That race is shaping up to be the best ever, but that’s life and I think we’ll probably go.”
Rosallion Impresses in Qatar Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere
An eye-catching winner following a disappointing run in the Sept. 16 Betfred Champagne Stakes (G2) at Doncaster, Rosallion provided jockey Sean Levey with his first international group 1 victory when he landed the Qatar Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere.
The Derrick Smith, Mrs. John Magnier, and Michael Tabor-owned Henry Adams (IRE) set the pace in the day’s opening race, with Ballymount Boy (IRE) close behind. The Aidan O’Brien-trained Unquestionable (FR) was in third and the Richard Hannon-trained Rosallion (IRE) and Philippe Allaire & Haras D’Etreham’s well-fancied Beauvatier (FR) were held up towards the rear.
Beauvatier moved to the outside at the 3-furlong marker and made a move 2 furlongs out but was no match for Rosallion,who made impressive headway and pulled clear in the final stages to win by a length with Unquestionable second and Beauvatier third.
Rosallion gained an automatic berth into the $1 million Prevagen Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Turf (G1). He completed the 7-furlong contest in 1:18.23 over a course listed as good to soft.
Trainer Richard Hannon said: “It was very sticky ground at Doncaster and he hated it, but I was so disappointed – I couldn’t believe he got beat. We scoped him afterwards and everything was fine and the only thing I can put it down to was the ground. Today was a recovery mission and you don’t generally come to the Lagardere on a recovery mission as it takes an extremely good horse to win it, but he showed today that he’s the horse we thought he was.”
Opera Singer Dominates Qatar Prix Marcel Boussac
Opera Singer delivered a standout performance in the Qatar Prix Marcel Boussac – Criterium des Pouliches (G1), galloping clear to a five-length victory under jockey Ryan Moore.
The Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith, Mrs. John Magnier, and Westerberg-owned daughter of Justify was very responsive when Moore asked her to quicken near the 2-furlong marker, having led most of the way in the 1-mile affair, and left Rose Bloom (IRE) in second, followed by Les Pavots (IRE) in third.
Opera Singer, bred in Kentucky by the late Evie Stockwell, completed the mile in 1:36.40 and gained an automatic berth into the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies Turf (G1).
Trainer Aidan O’Brien, who saddled his fifth Marcel Boussac winner, said: “We’ve been excited with her. Ryan said she was very straightforward and she really appreciated the step up to a mile like we thought she would. I thought she was very strong all the way to the line and it was an impressive performance. Being on nicer ground helped her put in that performance.”
On a trip to the Breeders’ Cup, he added: “It’s very possible, obviously it will depend on what the lads [ownership connections] want to do, but she is by Justify and has plenty of experience if they want to go there.”
Blue Rose Cen Dominates Prix de l’Opera Longines
The Christopher Head-trained Blue Rose Cen (IRE), last year’s winner of the Qatar Prix Marcel Boussac – Criterium des Pouliches (G1), scored a neck victory over Jackie Oh (IRE) to win the 1 1/4-mile Prix de l’Opera Longines (G1) for fillies and mares, 3-years-old and up. Owned by Yeguada Centurion SL, Blue Rose Cen earned an automatic berth into the $2 million Maker’s Mark Filly & Mare Turf (G1).
The Michael O’Flynn-owned daughter of Saxon Warrior (JPN) Lumiere Rock (IRE) was prominent throughout, and held the lead until the 400-meter mark before the Aidan O’Brien trained Jackie Oh surged in front with Blue Rose Cen ranging to her outside.
The pace quickened inside the final 2 furlongs where the leading group battled it out until Blue Rose Cen edged away and crossed the line in front by a neck with Jackie Oh in second. Lumiere Rock finished third.
Blue Rose Cen completed the 1 1/4 miles in 2:03.71.
Winning trainer Christopher Head said: “You never know if they can be running in the Prix Vermeille [Sept. 10 prep race at ParisLongchamp] and still get it back in the Opera – what a filly. For sure she will stay in training at four. She’s nominated for the Breeders’ Cup, but we will have to discuss that.”
Highfield Princess Regales Prix de l’Abbaye de Longchamp Longines
Favored at 2-1 in an 18-horse field, Highfield Princess (FR) looked an unlikely winner at the halfway stage of the Prix de l’Abbaye de Longchamp Longines (G1), but rallied to gain the advantage under jockey Jason Hart. The John Quinn trainee gained an automatic berth into the $1 million Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint (G1).
Taking advantage of the rail, George Boughey’s Perdika (GB) set a strong pace. But as Perdika began to lose her advantage, Highfield Princess surged, and the 6-year-old daughter of Night Of Thunder (IRE) was able to hold on strongly to win by one length, with Perdika in second.
The Aidan O’Brien-trained Aesop’s Fables (IRE), the Clive Cox-trained Get Ahead (GB) and the rapidly improving Tom Clover-trained Rogue Lightning (IRE) were finishing fast, and took the third, fourth, and fifth, respectively.
Highfield Princess, owned by Trainers House Enterprises Ltd., completed the 5 furlongs in 55.07 to earn her ninth career win. She finished fourth in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Turf Sprint at Keeneland.