Mishriff confirmed Prix du Jockey Club form in his Chantilly rematch with The Summit and Victor Ludorum in the Group 2 Guillaume d’Ornano at Deauville.
A soft surface on the Normandy coast produced the same finishing order as the premier French Classic last month. The reimposing of quarantine restrictions for those going across the Channel threw the plans of many British raiders into doubt.
Not John Gosden and Frankie Dettori, however. The Italian jockey foregoes his rides at next week’s Ebor Festival in York in pursuit of a big French race double over this weekend.
Thanks to Mishriff staying on strongly up the stands’ side in a tactical race, the first leg is up. Dettori restrained him and took him wide in the back straight, before moving closer rounding the home turn.
Once Mishriff was driven to lead approaching two out, he forged clear for an impressive 4 1/2 lengths victory over The Summit. Victor Ludorum again found that rival getting the better of him for the third time this season, by a head.
Starting prices with both British bookmakers and the parimutuel returned Mishriff at odds-on, yet that wasn’t how this race was initially priced up.
Victor Ludorum was favourite at first, but support soon came for Mishriff and his early price of 6/4 soon became odds-on.
The bookies, including Betfair have cut Mishriff into 25/1 for the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe at Longchamp on 4 October.
Sottsass pushed out for Arc after Skalleti scalps him
All did not go to plan for last year’s Arc third Sottsass later on the card, however. Trainer Jean-Claude Rouget opted to drop 2019 Prix du Jockey Club hero down in grade after his Prix Ganay victory last time out.
Competing at Group 3 level meant a hefty penalty for Sottsass, though, and he couldn’t follow-up under it. When headed by Skalleti approaching the final furlong, he did stay on for pressure.
Sottsass was held a neck with the weight proving key to his defeat by Jerome Reynier’s five-year-old. It is also the second time this season that he has been a beaten favourite.
Those same bookmakers who were so taken with Mishriff just over an hour beforehand reacted differently to Sottsass. His defeat means Unibet go 25/1 about his Arc chances this autumn.
As a four-year-old now, Sottsass will be giving weight to younger rivals at Longchamp. The fact he could not win under a penalty at Deavuille is disappointing, then.
Rouget is keeping faith, however. “He has run a good race giving away three kilograms to a good horse,” the trainer said of Sottsass.
“We knew beforehand [that] it would be a tough ask. This sets him up for the autumn. In principle it will be the Irish Champion Stakes and then the Arc.”
The fact that Sottsass swerves the Prix Foy – a race being targeted by champion stayer Stradivarius – is interesting.
Analysis: Mishriff market move makes sense
Jamie Clark, Horsebetting.com Editor
When you have won two top races over 10 furlongs in France, the bookies have every right to cut Mishriff for the Arc.
Dettori’s quotes afterwards suggested that where next isn’t final yet. “He is going to be entered in all the big races: the Champion Stakes, the Arc, all those sorts of races.”
If there is one doubt about Mishriff for the Arc, then it is on breeding. His pedigree strongly suggests that a mile-and-a-half is beyond him.
Trainers can be made to look very foolish when their horses lose. Rouget won’t care about that, however, if Sottsass delivers in the Arc this autumn.
I still feel Port Guillaume looks a better bet for that race from within his stable. Sottsass simply hasn’t looked convincing in his outings this term.
Defeat at Deauville isn’t the destination, though, only a race taken in on his Arc journey. Other future bets to come out of this card concern Skalleti and Victor Ludorum, meanwhile.
Godolphin have tried the latter twice over a mile-and-a-quarter now and he came third each time. Dropping Victor Ludorum back to mile is the way forward.
Skalleti appreciates further, however, and the suggestion of a repeat bid in the Prix Dollar has merit. Acting on a soft surface means Reynier can make hay with him in the autumn.