St Mark's Basilica Completes A Classic Double At Chantilly

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St Mark's Basilica | Scoop Dyga

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As far as passages around Chantilly's circuit go in the 10 1/2-furlong G1 Qatar Prix du Jockey Club, St Mark's Basilica (Fr) (Siyouni {Fr}) enjoyed one as perfect as is possible on Sunday as he toyed with his rivals in the 181st edition of the Classic. Hardly breaking sweat to become the fourth colt to complete the G1 Poule d'Essai des Poulains-Prix du Jockey Club double since 2005, Ballydoyle's 14-5 favourite was slotted behind the pace-setting Normandy Bridge (Fr) (Le Havre {Ire}) from his ideal draw by Ioritz Mendizabal and saved ground against the rail the whole way. As the long-time leader drifted left in the straight, an ideal gap opened for him to slip through 300 metres from the finish and after receiving a whip surged away to settle the outcome in an instant. Flashing his tail late and pulling himself up in the clear, the dominant winner who becomes his stable's fifth Classic winner of 2021 and its first Jockey Club winner was in front by 1 3/4 lengths at the line from Sealiway (Fr) (Galiway {GB}), with Millebosc (Fr) (Le Havre {Ire}) a short head away in third. “It is a thrill to ride again for Aidan O'Brien and there was no doubt I was riding the best horse in the race,” Mendizabal commented after completing back-to-back wins in the Classic following Mishriff (Ire) (Make Believe {GB}) 12 months ago. “The only concern was whether he would stay or not and although it was my opinion after the Poulains that he would, he had to confirm it and he did it in great style. I had a lovely run through the race and he did everything right. He's a true champion.”

It could be argued that this Classic was effectively decided when the draw was made, as the Rosegreen candidate already had enough of a class edge over his assembled peers without the addition of such a clear advantage in the post position. Neither keen nor lazy from the break, the bay was able to move forward and draft in a true “catbird seat” with the giant Normandy Bridge almost acting as shepherd in front. With the Rouget trio Cheshire Academy (Fr) (Flintshire {GB}), Makaloun (Fr) (Bated Breath {GB}) and Saiydabad (Blame) effectively scuppered by their wide draws, they all became hopelessly detached from an early stage and the real action was all up front. Millebosc had tracked the eventual winner against the fence and he was able to enter contention in his own time, but in truth there was only Sealiway who at an insulting 53-1 could even remotely threaten inside the final two furlongs. That G1 Prix Jean-Luc Lagardere hero briefly flattered before Mendizabal shot up the rail on St Mark's Basilica and was able to temporarily take a pull, such was his control of the race at that stage. As he had in ParisLongchamp's mile Classic three weeks earlier, the winner was in a different league once his acceleration had been employed and while the winning margin was not exaggerated, his superiority was.

Very few European Derby winners are able to win over six furlongs at two, but St Mark's Basilica is in that unique category having broken his maiden over that trip at The Curragh in August, just 13 days after running fifth in the G1 Phoenix S. over the same track and trip. Third to Thunder Moon (Ire) (Zoffany {Ire}) and Wembley (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) over seven furlongs in the G1 Goffs Vincent O'Brien National S. back there in September, the bay took a step forward to reverse the form with that pair in the G1 Dewhurst S. at Newmarket on his 2-year-old finale in October. Whether he ends up a G1 Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe contender remains to be seen, especially as the stable already has a cluster of horses for that showcase, and it is more likely that he will become another from Ballydoyle able to mix it between a mile and 10 furlongs.

“We are absolutely delighted–we thought he'd come forward from his first run at Longchamp, as they usually do and Ioritz gave him a brilliant ride,” his trainer said. “He's a great horseman and very intelligent–he takes all the information on board and when he rode for us at Deauville last year we were very impressed with him. When Frankie rode St Mark's Basilica last year in the Dewhurst, he said he'd have no problem with a mile and a quarter and he relaxes and quickens and is a very easy horse to manoeuvre–he's a very intelligent horse. We know the pace he has and it makes him very special–he has those qualities you need in France more than anywhere really. He was very impressive on his first run and did the same thing today–he puts a race to bed very quickly and very few can do that. He's out of a Galileo mare by Siyouni and he has the qualities of both. We'll see how he comes out of this and its possible he'll stay further, but when you have a horse who is able to quicken over mile like he can you don't know. We'll see what the lads want to do, but he's a very exciting horse.”

Frederic Rossi said of Sealiway, “He ran a bad race last time in the Poulains and that was my mistake, as I think I gave him too hard a race in the Fontainebleau first time this season. He was not quite ready for that and so paid the price in the Poulains, but he had given every sign that he was bouncing back in the mornings and we saw the Sealiway I know on the track this afternoon. There is no doubt that he was beaten by a better horse, but the result says that the European champion 2-year-old won and the French champion 2-year-old was second which says it all. We'll give him a break and bring him back for the [G2 Prix] Guillaume d'Ornano [at Deauville Aug. 14].”

Millebosc's trainer Stephanie Nigge said, “I'm still crying–it was a little bit too much pressure! I always said he was a nice one and he's run a superb race. Unfortunately, he had a few setbacks earlier in the season and we had to bring him back for the races late and he still needed the race in the Prix de Guiche last time. He had changed a lot and improved physically since. He'll probably stay further in the second half of the season and he's a top horse for the future.”

St. Mark's Basilica becomes the second Prix du Jockey Club hero for his sire and also gives his G3 Silver Flash S.-winning dam Cabaret (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) a third Classic after Magna Grecia (Ire) (Invincible Spirit {Ire}) took the 2019 G1 2000 Guineas. Cabaret is kin to the G3 Solario S. winner Drumfire (Ire) (Danehill Dancer {Ire}) and the Hong Kong stakes scorer Ho Choi (GB) (Pivotal {GB}) who was also runner-up in the G2 Gimcrack S. The third dam Fife (Ire) (Lomond), who was third in the Listed Lupe S., is also the second dam of the G3 Park S. winner and G1 Moyglare S. runner-up Ugo Fire (Ire) (Bluebird) and is a half-sister to Piffle (GB) (Shirley Heights {GB}). She in turn is the dam of the GI Hollywood Turf Cup hero Frenchpark (GB) (Foolshome) and the G1 Prix Vermeille heroine Pearly Shells (GB) (Efisio {GB}). Cabaret's unraced 2-year-old full-brother to St Mark's Basilica is named Paris Lights (Ire), while she also has a colt foal by Kingman (GB).

Sunday, Chantilly, France
QATAR PRIX DU JOCKEY CLUB-G1, €1,500,000, Chantilly, 6-6, 3yo, c/f, 10 1/2fT, 2:07.30, sf.
1–ST MARK'S BASILICA (FR), 128, c, 3, by Siyouni (Fr)
1st Dam: Cabaret (Ire) (GSW-Ire), by Galileo (Ire)
2nd Dam: Witch of Fife, by Lear Fan
3rd Dam: Fife (Ire), by Lomond
(1,300,000gns Ylg '19 TATOCT). O-Derrick Smith, Susan Magnier & Michael Tabor; B-Robert Scarborough (FR); T-Aidan O'Brien; J-Ioritz Mendizabal. €857,100. Lifetime Record: Hwt. 2yo Colt-Eur, G1SW-Eng & G1SP-Ire, 7-4-1-1, €1,528,756. *1/2 to Magna Grecia (Ire) (Invincible Spirit {Ire}), Hwt. 3yo-Ire at 7-9.5f & MG1SW-Eng, $597,769. Werk Nick Rating: A+++ *Triple Plus*. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Sealiway (Fr), 128, c, 3, Galiway (GB)–Kensea (Fr), by Kendargent (Fr). (€62,000 Ylg '19 ARAUG). O-Le Haras de la Gousserie & Guy Pariente; B-Guy Pariente Holding (FR); T-Frederic Rossi. €342,900.
3–Millebosc (Fr), 128, c, 3, Le Havre (Ire)–Mixed Intention (Ire), by Elusive City. O-Gerard Augustin-Normand; B-Franklin Finance SA (FR); T-Stephanie Nigge. €171,450.
Margins: 1 3/4, SHD, 1 1/4. Odds: 2.90, 53.00, 25.00.
Also Ran: Saiydabad, Cheshire Academy (Fr), Pretty Tiger (Ire), Adhamo (Ire), Derab (GB), Makaloun (Fr), Van Gogh, Normandy Bridge (Fr), Megallan (GB), Fort Payne (Fr), Baby Rider (Fr), El Drama (Ire), Smile Makers (Fr), Ninth Titan (Ire), Royal Word (Fr), Policy of Truth (Fr). Click for the Racing Post result or the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree. Video, sponsored by TVG.

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