'He's A Magical Horse'–Head Delighted With Big Rock

Big Rock relishes the rain-soaked turf Scoop Dyga


If there was any doubt who was the Cock Of The North among the French 3-year-old middle-distance colts heading into Tuesday's G3 Prix de Guiche, Yeguada Centurion's Big Rock (Fr) (Rock Of Gibraltar {Ire}–Hardiyna {Ire}, by Sea The Stars {Ire}) provided the emphatic answer with a dominant display at a rain-soaked Chantilly. Compared to Frankel (GB) by the commentary team of Racing Galop afterwards, the homebred first foal out of the owner-breeder's €72,000 Goffs November purchase from The Aga Khan's draft was more Old Vic (GB) as he sliced through the testing ground to kill off all threats without Aurelien Lemaitre needing to delve into the deep reserves. Out on his own for the entirety of the nine-furlong G1 Prix du Jockey Club prep, the 6-5 favourite was sauntering late on with his peers coming home behind him at margins more akin to steeplechases.

At the line, the powerhouse G3 Prix la Force winner whose family includes all The Aga Khan's “H” luminaries headed by the Derby and Irish Derby hero Harzand (Ire) (Sea The Stars {Ire}) had five lengths to spare over Le Haras de la Gousserie's Patrice Cottier-trained Horizon Dore (Fr) (Dabirsim {Fr}), with another four back to Grey Tornado (Fr) (The Grey Gatsby {Ire}) from the Henri-Alex Pantall stable. TDN Rising Star Padishakh (Fr) (Wootton Bassett {GB}) was beaten 14 1/2 lengths in fourth, with the other big representatives Rajapour (Ire) (Almanzor {Fr}) and Flight Leader (GB) (Frankel {GB}) the last two home by unthinkably large margins.

Jockey Club The Aim

It is a big week for Leopoldo Fernández Pujals' breeding operation and the Christopher Head stable, with Blue Rose Cen (Ire) (Churchill {Ire}) in pole position in Sunday's G1 Poule d'Essai des Pouliches now that Big Rock has spurned dreams of a 2023 Classic double.

“He is an amazing horse with such a high cruising speed–he destroys the field,” the trainer said of the homebred, beaten on his inauspicious first three starts for the Mathieu Brasme stable and unbeaten since the switch, including a handicap and the Listed Prix Maurice Caillault at this track. “It's even more amazing on such testing ground. He was really very, very impressive today, more than ever.”

“We got him at the beginning of the season, but he showed his class pretty early on,” Head told TDN Europe of Big Rock.

“Because of the ground, I wasn't expecting such a dominant win. It was a nice result and a proper preparation for the Jockey Club. That's the main aim.”

He added, “It's very important to be able to train this calibre of horse. I really want to thank Yeguada Centurion, and the confidence they have instilled in the stable. Their project is exceptional and will get better and better in time. I'm very lucky to train for them.

“We are looking forward to Blue Rose Cen, running for the same owners, in the French Guineas this weekend.”

Pedigree Notes

Hardiyna, by the aforementioned Harzand's sire, is an unraced daughter of the G3 Silver Flash S. scorer Harasiya (Ire) (Pivotal {GB}) who was also second in the G2 Debutante S. and third in the G1 Moyglare Stud S. The third dam is the G3 Athasi S. winner Hazariya (Ire) (Xaar {GB}), who alongside Harasiya and Harzand also produced three other black-type performers including the Listed Finale S. winner Hazarafa (Ire) (Daylami {Ire}) who was in turn responsible for the G3 Derby Trial and G3 Amethyst S. scorer Hazapour (Ire) (Shamardal).

Hazariya is a half to Barathea's G3 Blue Wind S. winner and G1 Irish Oaks and G1 Yorkshire Oaks third Hazarista (Ire) and listed-placed Hidden Brief (GB), better known as the dam of last year's G1 British Champions Fillies & Mares S. heroine and Oaks runner-up Emily Upjohn (GB) also by Sea The Stars. Hardiyna's second foal is a 2-year-old colt by Ten Sovereigns (Ire) who was a potential bargain €20,000 purchase by Emil Zahariev at Arqana Deauville October.

Tuesday, Chantilly, France
PRIX DE GUICHE-G3, €80,000, Chantilly, 5-9, 3yo, c/g, 9fT, 1:55.48, hy.
1–BIG ROCK (FR), 128, c, 3, by Rock Of Gibraltar (Ire)
     1st Dam: Hardiyna (Ire), by Sea The Stars (Ire)
     2nd Dam: Harasiya (Ire), by Pivotal (GB)
     3rd Dam: Hazariya (Ire), by Xaar (GB)
O/B-Yeguada Centurion SLU (FR); T-Christopher Head; J-Aurelien Lemaitre. €40,000. Lifetime Record: 7-4-2-0, €134,650. Werk Nick Rating: A. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree, or the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree.
2–Horizon Dore (Fr), 128, g, 3, Dabirsim (Fr)–Sweet Alabama (Fr), by Enrique (GB). 1ST GROUP BLACK TYPE. (€45,000 Ylg '21 ARQAUG). O-Gousserie Racing, Ecurie du Sud, Ecurie Gribomont, Daniel Dumoulin, Mlle Chantal Becq & Mme Francoise Delaunay; B-Mlle Chantal Becq (FR); T-Patrice Cottier. €16,000.
3–Grey Tornado (Fr), 128, c, 3, The Grey Gatsby (Ire)–Veldargent (Fr), by Kendargent (Fr). 1ST BLACK TYPE; 1ST GROUP BLACK TYPE. (€25,000 Ylg '21 ARQAUG). O-Patrice Bourigault & Mlle Ingrid Pantall; B-Patrick Chedeville & Mme Yvette Pantall (FR); T-Henri-Alex Pantall. €12,000.
Margins: 5, 4, 5HF. Odds: 1.20, 7.60, 15.00.
Also Ran: Padishakh (Fr), Circeo (Ire), Rajapour (Ire), Flight Leader (GB). Video, sponsored by TVG.


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