Vadeni impresses with French Derby demolition

Vadeni produced a dominant display to provide trainer Jean-Claude Rouget with a fifth victory in the Qatar Prix du Jockey Club at Chantilly.

A field of 15 colts went to post for the French Derby, with a strong British contingent headed by Charlie Appleby’s French 2000 Guineas winner Modern Games.

Also successful at the Breeders’ Cup last season, the son of Dubawi was quickly into his stride from his wide starting berth and soon navigated his way to the front in the hands of William Buick.

Modern Games remained in front halfway up the home straight, but 8-1 shot Vadeni loomed up ominously in the hands of a confident Christophe Soumillon and accelerated clear in hugely impressive style.

El Bodegon, a Group One winner in France last season for James Ferguson but disappointing on his seasonal reappearance in the Dante at York, bounced back to form with an excellent run to finish second, with Modern Games far from disgraced in third.

Andrew Balding’s Irish 2,000 Guineas third Imperial Fighter showed up well before fading, while Aidan O’Brien’s pair of Ivy League and The Acropolis were never able to get in a serious blow.

Bet £5 Get £20 as a new Tote customer

Of El Bodegon – who had the winner back in third when landing a Group Three at Chantilly in his two-year-old season – Ferguson told Sky Sports Racing: “Fantastic, it’s just so great to see him back on track.

“He’s obviously the horse that made us last year by winning a Group One and with all the owners having flown over from Australia for this race, it meant a lot – I’ve never been so happy to come second!

El Bodegon in the parade ring before the Dante Stakes
El Bodegon in the parade ring before the Dante Stakes (Tim Goode/PA)

“All credit to the winner – he’s a fantastic racehorse and he won very well. But having known he was gone, we’ve beaten everything else.

“He wears his heart on his sleeve this horse and he tried all the way to the line. He was given a good ride (by Ioritz Mendizabal) and we’re looking forward to seeing what he can do in the future.

“I’ll have to wait and see what the owners want to do. Emotions are a bit high right now, so I’ll ask them a bit later.”

Appleby said: “James’s (Ferguson) horse has run very well and full credit to him and his team.

“More importantly for ourselves, we did what we wanted to do. He’s got great speed and William was controlling it how he wanted to control it on the front.

“You could spot the winner a long way out and at the end of the day we lost second because we didn’t go through the line, whereas the second horse did.

“We knew the trip would be towards the end of his petrol gauge and, going forward, the likelihood is we’ll probably take him to America for something like the Belmont Derby or the Saratoga Derby.

“Running over 10 (furlongs) or nine and a half on quicker ground is probably his gig.”

A delighted Rouget said of the winner: “I’m happy when a horse is flying like him today.

“I didn’t know before the race. I like him and thought he could run well. I thought he would stay the trip strongly but maybe didn’t have enough speed and would be better at a mile and a half.

“He had a very good draw and was always in a good position. After that, the acceleration was the same as when he won first time out last year in La Teste. He is a horse with a lot of class.

“He was not a smashing yearling, he was quite a poor yearling, but he improved a lot.

“I hope he will have a good summer and autumn.

“The horse ran above my expectations. He won so easily, in the final yards you could see that he was going so easily, he produced a performance that was certainly better than expected.

“He’s already established among the best horses and we hope we can take him into the autumn and we can keep him at that level.”

Both Coral and Paddy Power make Vadeni 8-1 for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe, but Rouget hinted he is more likely to stay at a mile and a quarter like his 2016 winner Almanzor, who went on to land both the Irish Champion Stakes at Leopardstown and the Champion Stakes at Ascot.

When asked about the Arc, the trainer added: “I think we will do more the Almanzor programme, but it’s a bit early to be definitive.

“The Irish Champion is a smashing race and there’s Deauville if the ground is not too soft.

“For me the 2,000 metre distance is the perfect distance now. The English programme is the Eclipse at Sandown and then you have the Irish Champion and then the Champion Stakes at Ascot at the end of the season.

“In France, you don’t have any Group Ones for my type of horse until later in the year, so you have to go abroad for that type of race.”

Soumillon, meanwhile, compared Vadeni favourably with some of the great horses he has ridden.

“It’s not easy to compare horses, especially when they are not unbeaten like Zarkava or Dalakhani,” he said.

“But this kind of sensation was a bit like when Almanzor won the Jockey Club or like when I rode Orfevre – they are horses with a great turn of foot able to quicken so fast and give no chance to the opponents.

“Honestly it’s not easy to say (whether he will stay a mile and a half). He looks like a horse who wants to go a mile and a mile and a quarter and from the horses Jean-Claude has had in the past there is just Sottsass who was able to go for the Arc.”

Other Recent Posts by This Author:

Your first 30 days for just £1
0 replies

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.