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Sealiway shocks big guns in Champion Stakes

Sealiway sprang a 12-1 surprise in the Qipco Champion Stakes at Ascot as the big two, Adayar and Mishriff, finished out of the first three.

Fifth in the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe 13 days earlier, Sealiway bettered the form he showed when runner-up to St Mark’s Basilica in the French Derby to lift the mile-and-a-quarter showpiece.

The three-year-old colt, trained by Cedric Rossi and ridden by Mickael Barzalona, was made to fight all the way by the William Haggas-trained Dubai Honour, who only went down by three-quarters of a length.

Mac Swiney ran a big race in third place, a length and a half away. Mishriff was a length back in fourth.

Addeybb, successful 12 months ago, disputed matters, although he was a spent force early in the straight after Derby hero Adayar set sail for home.

But as in the Arc, his bid fizzled out and Sealiway came through to lead. Mishriff tried to mount a challenge, but he had no more to give in the closing stages.

It was left to Dubai Honour to put it up to Sealiway – but the French raider was just too strong despite drifting in the closing stages.

Barzalona – who won the Derby in 2011 with Pour Moi – said: “It’s great to be back in the big time and be with this horse since the beginning. He deserved to prove his talent like he did today.

“I didn’t sit on him on Arc day but the team were very confident, they said he was in good form and that he had improved a lot since the Arc run so although it was a tough race they were pretty confident.

“I thought I was always going to hold Dubai Honour when he didn’t pass me straight away.”

Sealiway and Dubai Honour
Sealiway and Dubai Honour (Steven Paston/PA)

Rossi said through a translator: “He recovered really well from the Arc because that was a mid-seasonal reappearance and we came here with the thoughts of winning it.

“The Arc did him the world of good and he was ready for this race. All we needed to do was to keep him ticking over.

“Ascot is very beautiful. We are very proud. It’s a beautiful racecourse, it’s a beautiful day, beautiful racing, so very proud.”

Haggas said Dubai Honour, who had won the Prix Dollar on Arc weekend: “He was a little bit unfortunate because he’s a hold-up horse drawn in stall 10 and Adayar missed the break and just as James (Doyle) was trying to get him in, Adayar went hurtling past him and set him alight a bit.

“No excuse, we were quite far back but that’s the way he needs to be ridden. He came with what looked like a winning run, but the other horse outstayed him.

“He’s another that has made great progress. I was thinking that the Hong Kong Cup might suit him, he would enjoy that long straight and he seems to run well right-handed. I don’t know about Australia for him yet.”

Adayar was fifth, and trainer Charlie Appleby said: “William (Buick) said that he was always doing enough and although one back and one off the rail looked like he was in a nice position, Will just said that he was always doing too much and it paid up the straight. Those exertions paid towards the end.

“We made the decision to come here and maybe it was a tougher race than we thought in the Arc.

“We’ll put him away now and he’s still a nice horse for next year.”

Breeders’ Cup in the mix as Sealiway and Barzalona demolish Lagardere rivals

Sealiway absolutely relished the testing conditions as he turned the Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere into a procession at ParisLongchamp.

Trained by Ferderic Rossi, the Galiway colt appeared to have a bit to find on the form book with the overseas runners, with a second in a Group Three last time out the best of his form.

That was a good deal removed from Clive Cox’s Nando Parrado, who caused a 150-1 shock at Royal Ascot and proved that was no fluke when chasing home Campanelle in the Prix Morny.

He was keen early for Christophe Soumillon, as Mick Channon’s Cairn Gorm set only steady fractions, understandably in the very soft ground.

Nando Parrado was well placed to strike when the small field entered the false straight, but as Cairn Gorm began to back pedal, it was Sealiway who hit the front and Nando Parrado had no answer.

The race was over as a contest on entering the final half a furlong and although there was little between the others, with Ken Condon’s Laws Of Indices sticking to his task gamely on the rail to claim third, Sealiway was a country mile in front of Nando Parrado.

For Rossi, who won the French 1000 Guineas with Dream And Do earlier this season, he appears to have another Classic contender on his hands, while it was another Group One for Mickael Barzalona.

Rossi said: “I’ve always thought he was a Group One horse, but to go away in that final straight was impressive.

“The initial plan was to run in the Prix Morny, but we very quickly realised that distance would not be to his advantage and he needed a longer trip.

“We decided to ride him differently and I told Mickael Barzalona to ride him the English way – let the horse him express himself and go early.

“The owners are happy to travel with this horse and he could go to the Breeders’ Cup. We will discuss that first before thinking about next year.”

He added: “For 15 minutes after Alkuin was just beaten by Princess Zoe in the Cadran (on Saturday), it was hard, but today is more the satisfaction of having trained a horse I have always believed in.

“From the beginning of the year I thought he was a proper Group One horse.”