Henri-Francois Devin’s Texas is headed for the Prix Paul de Moussac after producing a massive run to finish second in the Poule d’Essai des Poulains at ParisLongchamp on Sunday.
The Wootton Bassett colt, who was drawn in stall 15, was a rank outsider for the one-mile Group One but led from the first bend and looked likely to defy his huge odds until Charlie Appleby’s Modern Games passed him in the home straight and prevailed by a length and a quarter.
“I was very happy with his run, he came off a bad draw and he’ll probably be a bit better on softer ground. He got a very good ride and we were very happy with the result,” Devin said.
“He looked like the winner but the horse of Charlie’s (Appleby) is obviously very good and we were beaten by the better horse on the day. With a better draw and softer ground, he probably would have got closer to him.”
Though Texas was left a mountain to climb by the draw and therefore written off by the market, Devin had more faith and knew that the horse would have come on from his fourth-placed run in the Group Three Prix de Fontainebleau last time out.
“He was at a very good price, it was an impossible draw statistically and that’s why he was such a high price, but we always had great confidence going into the race that he would run very well,” he said.
“It’s really nice to run a good race in the Guineas, it’s a very difficult race to have horses in and when you’ve got one good enough to run you’re very happy.
“Particularly for a small stable like us, it’s always very satisfying to be able to compete at that level.”
The trainer, who is based in France but has family roots in Ireland, was also quick to praise to performance of jockey Clement Lecoeuvre, who did his all to overcome the unfavourable positioning and gave his mount every chance of success.
“He was given a very good ride, it is not easy from that draw to lead and still manage to give the horse a breather,” he said.
“This is a very good rider with a big future and a lot to look forward to in his career, he should be rising up the ranks and the jockeys championships in the years to come.”
Whilst overseas missions to England and Ireland are not prioritised due to the valuable French breeders’ premiums, the Group Three Prix Paul de Moussac has been identified as a next step and the Breeders’ Cup is also under consideration for the tail end of the campaign.
“We’ll see where we go from there but we’ll probably run in the Prix Paul de Moussac next and from there we’ll think about where we go, but we’re really thinking about the Breeders’ Cup Mile for him – we think it’d be ideal,” Devin said.
“There are plenty of options, at the moment we’ll focus on trying to get him to win a Group Three in France and then we’ll see.
“Having spoken to the owners, at the moment they’d like to try to run him in France because there’s great prize money and the horse has got French premiums.
“Maybe at the back end of the year we will take him abroad, but right now it’s not the priority.
“He’s a flagbearer and we’ve got a few nice horses, the yard is in good form and long may it continue.”