Cracksman's Ace Impact Sweeps Aside Big Rock For Jockey Club Glory

Ace Impact | Scoop Dyga


Ecuries Serge Stempniak's hitherto undefeated Ace Impact (Ire) (Cracksman {GB}–Absolutly Me {F}, by Anabaa Blue {GB}) posted a third straight win when annexing last month's Listed Prix de Suresnes at Chantilly and returned to that Paris venue for Classic glory in Sunday's €1,500,000 G1 Qatar Prix du Jockey Club.

Preceding his black-type breakthrough with impressive early-season wins at Cagnes-sur-Mer and Bordeaux-Le Bouscat, the 19-2 chance extended trainer Jean-Claude Rouget's record to six wins in the contest after defeating 17-10 favourite Big Rock (Fr) (Rock Of Gibraltar {Ire}) by an impressive 3 1/2 lengths. The trainer has now won five of the last eight renewals while jockey Cristian Demuro, also victorious aboard Rouget's Brametot and Sottsass, improved his tally to three. The winning time of 2:02.63 was a new standard for the race, going under Sottsass's previous best by 0.27 seconds.

Ace Impact employed patient tactics from flagfall and settled several lengths off Big Rock's tempo in 10th with 'TDN Rising Star' Padishakh (Fr) (Wootton Bassett {GB}) the only rival in arrears. Making smooth headway on the bridle in the straight, he was stirred into action passing the quarter-mile marker and powered off into the distance once swooping to deprive Big Rock of control with 100 metres remaining. Christopher Head's long-time leader was safely clear of the remainder, with G1 Poule d'Essai des Poulains hero Marhaba Ya Sanafi (Ire) (Muhaarar {GB}) running on well from off the pace to finish 2 1/2 lengths further adrift in third. Rising Stars filled three of the next four spots with the supplemented Feed The Flame (GB) (Kingman {GB}) fourth, Epictetus (Ire) (Kingman {GB}) fifth and Padishakh seventh.

“We've always liked him, I call him 'Monsieur Sans Souci' and he really is without a care in the world,” said Rouget. “I've never had any problems with him, apart from the fact that he managed to sport a winter coat in the middle of summer. We gave him all the time he needed as I saw something in him when he made his debut at Cagnes-sur-Mer this year. He sprouted wings in the straight that day, just like he did today. He's a very good colt and we thought he was good, but he needed to prove it. I think having three races under your belt prior to running in the Jockey Club is a good thing, but just two races is cutting it a bit fine. When Sottsass ran I didn't believe he was up to it, because of the ground, and yet he blew us away. Just like Ace Impact did today. Sottsass was exceptional, capable of winning on any ground, and Ace Impact has proved that he's very good. I'm very happy to see the colours of a French owner win the race.”

Looking ahead, but without committing to immediate targets, the trainer added, “He's entered in the [G1] Eclipse [at Sandown], but we'll mull matters over first. He has the profile for the [G1] Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe as he has both the physique and the stride pattern. I'd prefer him to run on good ground, like all good horses, but he should be able to emulate Sottsass and be capable of winning on both fast and heavy ground. There are races for him before the Arc and his future programme has not yet been established. Obviously, we are tempted [by the Arc].” Rouget also indicated his other runners Padishakh (7th) and Rajapour (10th) ran too freely and shall revert to shorter trips in the future.

The Also Rans
Connections of the vanquished paid homage to the spectaular nature of Ace Impact's demonstration and were in largely positive mood in the aftermath. Big Rock's trainer Christopher Head was first out of the blocks and admitted, “Big Rock caught a tartar today, but he ran his race and his performance was really very good. Ace Impact looks to be a lot better than Big Rock and the winner did something exceptional. With the pace we set during the race, the bar was set pretty high and I'm very happy with Big Rock's effort.”

Andreas Schutz was a degree lower on the satisfaction gauge and reflected, “I was very happy with his physical condition going into the race, but unfortunately the race didn't go as we'd planned. We thought he'd be closer to the pace. He was a little intimidated when racing amongst horses in the peloton and, when the gaps came his way, he really picked up. He's already won the race [Poule d'Essai des Poulains] we were aiming at, so this is a bonus.”

Pascal Bary feels 'TDN Rising Star' Feed The Flame is not yet the finished article and needs more time to develop. “Ace Impact was impressive, but Feed The Flame lacked a bit of maturity and race experience and he's a colt who still needs to learn,” the trainer said. “When he made his move in the straight, he quickened really well. But, when Christophe Soumillon asked him for extra, he perhaps showed us that the track was a bit too fast for him. I also think that the first and second are better than him. He'll be better on a slightly softer track and will continue to learn his trade. We'll see how he comes out of the race, but the [July 14 G1] Grand Prix de Paris is a possibility.”

Almost never satisfied in defeat, John Gosden had a positive outlook when dissecting the performance of fellow Rising Star Epitectus. “He had a good run and picked up well,” he said. “He had third place in his sights for a long time and only gave in at the very end. It was a good performance.”

Pedigree Notes
Ace Impact becomes the first Group 1 winner for his second-crop sire (by Frankel {GB}) and is the leading performer out of the Listed Berenberg Cup runner-up Absolutly Me (Fr) (Anabaa Blue {GB}). Absolutly Me has also produced Listed Grand Prix de la Riviera Cote d'Azur runner-up Alessandro (Fr) (Australia {GB}), Listed La Coupe de Marseille third Apollo Flight (Fr) (Rock Of Gibraltar {Ire}) and the unraced 2-year-old cold Arrow Eagle (Fr) (Gleneagles {Ire}). Absolutly Me is the leading performer out of a half-sister to the stakes-winning GII Santa Barbara H. runner-up Mabadi (Sahm), herself the dam of the dual Group 3-placed Listed Prix Omnium II and Listed Criterium de l'Ouest victor Salai (Fr) (Myboycharlie {Ire}). Ace Impact's third dam Barakat (GB) (Bustino {GB}), who is from the family of MG1SW distaffer Red Bloom (GB) (Selkirk), is kin to MG1SW G1 Irish St Leger hero Ibn Bey (GB) (Mill Reef) and G1 Yorkshire Oaks heroine Roseate Tern (GB) (Blakeney {GB}).

Sunday, Chantilly, France
QATAR PRIX DU JOCKEY CLUB-G1, €1,500,000, Chantilly, 6-4, 3yo, c/f, 10 1/2fT, 2:02.63 (NSR), gd.
1–ACE IMPACT (IRE), 128, c, 3, by Cracksman (GB)
1st Dam: Absolutly Me (Fr) (SP-Fr & Ger), by Anabaa Blue (Ire)
2nd Dam: Tadawul, by Diesis (GB)
3rd Dam: Barakat (GB), by Bustino (GB)
1ST GROUP WIN; 1ST GROUP 1 WIN. (€75,000 Ylg '21 ARQAUG). O-Ecuries Serge Stempniak; B-Mme Waltraut Spanner (IRE); T-Jean-Claude Rouget; J-Cristian Demuro. €857,100. Lifetime Record: 4-4-0-0, €911,100. *1/2 to Apollo Flight (Fr) (Rock Of Gibraltar {Ire}), MSP-Fr, $139,492; and Alessandro (Fr) (Australia {GB}), SP-Fr, $111,837. Werk Nick Rating: A. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree, or the free catalogue-style pedigree.
2–Big Rock (Fr), 128, c, 3, Rock Of Gibraltar (Ire)–Hardiyna (Ire), by Sea The Stars (Ire). 1ST GROUP 1 BLACK TYPE. O/B-Yeguada Centurion SLU (FR); T-Christopher Head. €342,900.
3–Marhaba Ya Sanafi (Ire), 128, c, 3, Muhaarar (GB)–Danega (GB), by Galileo (Ire). O-Jaber Abdullah; B-Rabbah Bloodstock Ltd (IRE); T-Andreas Schutz. €171,450.
Margins: 3HF, 2HF, 3/4. Odds: 9.50, 1.70, 9.00.
Also Ran: Feed The Flame (GB), Epictetus (Ire), Flight Leader (GB), Padishakh (Fr), Continuous (Jpn), American Flag (Fr), Rajapour (Ire), Winter Pudding (Fr). Video, sponsored by TVG.

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