Dark Angel's Angel Bleu Pounces For Jean-Luc Lagardere Triumph


Angel Bleu  | Scoop Dyga


Unseen since annexing Goodwood's G2 Vintage S. in July, Marc Chan's 2-year-old colt Angel Bleu (Fr) (Dark Angel {Ire}), dented a host of lofty reputations and pounced late for a game success in Sunday's G1 Qatar Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere – Grand Criterium at ParisLongchamp, a “Win and You're In” for the GI Breeders' Cup Juvenile Turf at Del Mar next month.

The Listed Pat Eddery S. runner-up had snagged two low-key heats, at Salisbury and Pontefract, in his first four starts and was sent postward as an 11-2 chance for the seven-furlong test. Steadied at the break to race off the pace in a midfield sixth along the rail, he responded to Frankie Dettori's continued urgings in the straight to go second approaching the final furlong and kept on relentlessly under a late drive to deny Godolphin's pacesetting Listed Flying Scotsman S. winner Noble Truth (Fr) (Kingman {GB}) by 3/4-of-a-length nearing the line. Coolmore and Westerberg's 12-5 favourite Ancient Rome (War Front) came from off the pace with a late rattle, but was unable to catch the front two and finished the same margin back in third.

“We felt the bend really helped him at Goodwood and the bend helped him again today because he can be quite exuberant,” explained trainer Ralph Beckett. “We came for the ground, it all fell into place today, this is my first Group 1 win in France and it couldn't have worked out any better. It was tough as he had to go and get the other horse and then put it to bed. We were always going to come here after Goodwood, he's tough and it's all worked out. He has been great to train from day one and he's really been very straightforward. He's been brilliantly managed, [owner] Marc Chan is a very easy guy to deal with and he has taken the advice of Jamie McCalmont, who has called it right all along.”

Looking ahead to future targets, the trainer didn't commit to punching a “Win-And-You're-In” ticket to the Breeders' Cup and added, “The Breeders' Cup is a possibility, but there's not much soft ground in Del Mar. It was soft at Newmarket on Saturday, he's still in the [G1] Dewhurst [next Saturday] and I wouldn't rule that out. He's backed up quickly before and when they're in good form and the ball's at your feet it's always a good idea to kick it.”

For Frankie Dettori, it was some measure of compensation having missed on a ride in the Arc following the withdrawal of Love (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}). “I had a good draw and a good race,” claimed the rider after registering a third win in the contest. “I waited until the false straight before making my move and I always knew that we were going to win. I don't have a ride in the Arc, unfortunately, but winning a Group 1 race on this card is always special. I'm delighted for the owner, Marc Chan, who is a newcomer to racing and has acquired several horses with a view to winning the Hong Kong Derby.”

“I'm delighted and it's definitely a step up from where we've been,” said Charlie Appleby after Noble Truth had made a bold attempt to win from the front. “We've tried to hold on to him before, but he's a fairly keen horse so we tried a different tack today. We tried it at home in midweek before we decided to come here. We let him roll on the front end of a gallop and they couldn't get to him and he very nearly pulled it off today. We'll see how he comes out of it and we'll see where we are. I thought we might go to Saint-Cloud [for the one-mile Oct. 23 G1 Criterium International] with him. We know he'll handle conditions there so we might have a look at that.”

Rider Mickael Barzalona was of the opinion the draw was the most significant factor, and not the heavy going, in contributing to the defeat of Ancient Rome and elaborated, “Ancient Rome ran well and was not hampered by the ground judging by the way that he finished his race. We would have preferred to have been drawn on the inside, but, unfortunately, we were forced to deal with his number nine draw.”

Angel Bleu, half-brother to a yearling colt by Siyouni (Fr), becomes the ninth Group 1 winner for his sire and is the first of two foals produced by a full-sister to MG1SW sire Highland Reel (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}). His dam Cercle de La Vie (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}), a daughter of G2 South Australian Oaks runner-up Hveger (Aus) (Danehill), is also full to G1 Caulfield S. hero Cape of Good Hope (Ire), MG1SP G2 Great Voltigeur S. and G2 Hardwicke S. victor Idaho (Ire) and G3 Ballysax S. victor Nobel Prize (Ire). The February-foaled bay's G1 Australia Oaks-winning third dam Circles of Gold (Aus) (Marscay {Aus}) threw MG1SW Australian champions Elvstroem (Aus) (Danehill) and Haradasun (Aus) (Fusaichi Pegasus). Circles of Gold is the leading performer for Olympic Aim (NZ) (Zamazaan {Fr}), whose descendants include MG1SW sire Starspangledbanner (Aus) (Choisir {Aus}) and G1 Schweppes Thousand Guineas victrix Amicus (Aus) (Fastnet Rock {Aus}).

Sunday, ParisLongchamp, France
QATAR PRIX JEAN-LUC LAGARDERE (GRAND CRITERIUM)-G1, €400,000, ParisLongchamp, 10-3, 2yo, c/f, 7fT, 1:24.58, hy.
1–ANGEL BLEU (FR), 126, c, 2, by Dark Angel (Ire)
1st Dam: Cercle de la Vie (Ire), by Galileo (Ire)
2nd Dam: Hveger (Aus), by Danehill
3rd Dam: Circles of Gold (Aus), by Marscay (Aus)
1ST GROUP 1 WIN. (€120,000 Ylg '20 ARDEAY). O-Marc Chan; B-Pan Sutong Racing Bloodstock (FR); T-Ralph Beckett; J-Frankie Dettori. €228,560. Lifetime Record: GSW-Eng, 7-4-1-1, €349,201. Werk Nick Rating: B+. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Noble Truth (Fr), 126, c, 2, Kingman (GB)–Speralita (Fr), by Frankel (GB). (€1,100,000 Ylg '20 ARAUG). O-Godolphin; B-Jean-Pierre-Joseph Dubois (FR); T-Charlie Appleby. €91,440.
3–Ancient Rome, 126, c, 2, War Front–Gagnoa (Ire), by Sadler's Wells. O-Michael Tabor, Derrick Smith, Susan Magnier & Westerberg; B-Orpendale, Chelston & Wynatt (KY); T-Andre Fabre. €45,720.
Margins: 3/4, 3/4, SNK. Odds: 5.50, 6.40, 2.40.
Also Ran: Accakaba (Ire), The Wizard of Eye (Ire), Stone Age (Ire), Rocchigiani (GB), Ebro River (Ire), Arnis Master (Ger). Click for the Racing Post result or the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree. Video, sponsored by TVG.

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