All roads lead back to the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe for Torquator Tasso after the German raider finished best of the rest behind Pyledriver in the King George VI And Queen Elizabeth Qipco Stakes at Ascot.
The Marcel Weiss-trained five-year-old caused an almighty shock when lifting Europe’s premier middle-distance prize in Paris last October and he has since dispelled any notion that victory was a fluke.
A comeback run at Baden-Baden was underwhelming, but Torquator Tasso got back on the winning trail at Hamburg earlier in the month ahead of his British debut in Berkshire.
And while the son of Alderflug came up short in his bid to emulate Danedream and Novellist, who won successive runnings of the King George for Germany in 2012 and 2013, in finishing second – eight lengths clear of a multiple Group One winner in Mishriff in third – he only enhanced his reputation.
Torquator Tasso’s rider, Rene Piechulek, said: “The ground had to be soft for us to win, but he has run a great race on that.
“The owner and trainer are very happy, in fact we all are. The target is October and the Arc is what it’s all about.”
Broome finished fourth for Aidan O’Brien after forcing the pace for a long way along with disappointing favourite Westover.
The six-year-old finished fourth in last year’s King George before going on to take second behind Yibir at the Breeders’ Cup and another trip across the Atlantic is likely to be on his agenda.
“We were happy to get a lead and I was pleased with the run. He will do what he did last year again, including the Breeders’ Cup (Turf),” said O’Brien.
Another big disappointment was Oaks runner-up Emily Upjohn, who trailed home last of the six runners.
Her jockey, Frankie Dettori, said: “The trip was too far for her at that pace.”
The stewards’ report added that Thady Gosden, who trains the filly with his father John, “could offer no explanation” for her performance, while a post-race examination “failed to reveal any abnormalities”.
James Doyle told the stewards Mishriff was slowly away and Colin Keane said Westover ran too freely.