Waldgeist Swoops To Deny Enable History In the Arc

4th at LCP, Gr. Stk, €5,000,000G1 Qatar Prix de l'Arc de Triomphe (12f)Winner: Waldgeist (GB), h, 5 by Galileo (Ire)

Waldgeist | Scoop Dyga


Those in the epicentre at ParisLongchamp held their collective breath, but ultimately there was no momentous third G1 Qatar Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe for Enable (GB) (Nathaniel {Ire}) on Sunday as TDN Rising Star Waldgeist (GB) (Galileo {Ire}) charged late to finally bring her winning sequence to an end. Frankie Dettori had sent Juddmonte’s brilliant mare into what appeared to be a decisive advantage passing the two-furlong pole, but although she got closest to this particular landmark achievement than any other it was not to be as Pierre-Charles Boudot conjured something special from Gestut Ammerland and Newsells Park Stud’s warrior. Wide apart as they sought the line, it was not until the final 50 metres that it was clear that the 13-1 shot had her measure and such was his momentum he ended the race 1 3/4 lengths to the good. The G1 Prix du Jockey Club hero Sottsass (Fr) (Siyouni {Ire}) was the same margin back in third, a half length ahead of Japan (GB) (Galileo {Ire}) as the cream rose to the top.

“He was very impressive–he was eating up the ground at the finish,” Andre Fabre commented after greeting a remarkable eighth Arc winner. “I got very confident after Ascot, as although he was well beaten he was really finishing with a good action. After the King George, Pierre-Charles said ‘he is going to win the Arc’ and he was right. I was very concerned about the conditions, as he had moved so well on good ground in the Ganay, but he had won on the deepest ground at two so he does handle it.” John Gosden’s immediate reaction was a magnanimous one. “She’s run a great race but has got outstayed on the ground,” he said. “I couldn’t be more pleased with her and the winner is a fine horse trained by Andre and owned by a good friend of mine. We would have preferred quicker ground.”

Waldgeist’s journey to Arc glory has been a long and winding one, with some ups and downs along the way but it was not until this season that he looked like the finished article. At two, he had served notice that he was out of the top drawer when holding off a British, Irish and German seige on the G1 Criterium de Saint-Cloud run in desperate conditions. Behind him on that occasion were future Melbourne Cup, Epsom Derby, Irish Derby, St Leger and Caulfield Cup winners. His Classic year saw him denied by a short-head by Brametot (Ire) (Rajsaman {Fr}) in the G1 Prix du Jockey-Club but also beaten by the solid but unremarkable older horse Danehill Kodiac (Ire) (Kodiac {GB}) in Ascot’s G3 Cumberland Lodge S., so it was clear that his talent was not yet being consistently brought to bear.

It was only during the following summer that the chestnut began to find some consistency, winning the G3 Prix d’Hedouville over this course and distance, the G2 Grand Prix de Chantilly, the G1 Grand Prix de Saint-Cloud and G2 Prix Foy and he was coming on at the finish when under two-lengths fourth behind Enable in this. Soundly-beaten in fifth in the GI Breeders’ Cup Turf and closer but still in the same position in the G1 Hong Kong Vase, he returned to France enhanced by the travelling and reappeared with a dynamic 4 1/2-length success in the 10 1/2-furlong G1 Prix Ganay at this track Apr. 28. Sent to Ascot twice, he was staying on in trying ground when third in the June 19 G1 Prince of Wales’s S. at the Royal meeting and in the King George and had enjoyed a slick trial when winning the Foy again Sept. 15.

In the run, Walgeist was niggled at in stages racing slightly worse than mid-division as Magical (Ire) (Galileo {Ire}) and Fierement (Jpn) (Deep Impact {Jpn}) put pressure on Ghaiyyath (Ire) (Dubawi {Ire}) to ensure no repeat of his dominant G1 Grosser Preis von Baden display. Frankie moved Enable up to fourth out wide and the runners followed the established status quo into the “false straight”. Magical was committed at the top of the home run, but Enable was immediately there to press her as she has done so many times before and as the main protagonists headed to two out the outsiders were left behind.

Enable was asked to draw the sting from the smooth-travelling 3-year-old colts Sottsass and Japan with two furlongs left in her quest and she gave her customary generous reply, but Boudot had only just begun to wind up Waldgeist and she was never able to put enough distance between them to ensure the victory. It was still tangible inside the final 150 metres, but the Fabre runner was only getting stronger as the yards accumulated and Dettori could only observe as his rival powered by approaching the line.

Fabre paid respects to the runner-up as he reflected on the winner. “I’ve immense admiration and respect for Enable, but am also very proud of Waldgeist,” he said. “He has continued to strengthen up and has become more mature. He is a calm horse and straightforward to train. The Arc is one of the world’s great races and the win is just reward for the efforts undertaken by the Dietrich Von Boetticher-Andreas Jacobs partnership. It will be them who will decide the next step, as the horse could be retired to stud.”

Von Boetticher had bred an Arc winner before, but the 2005 hero Hurricane Run (Ire) (Montjeu {Ire}) was sporting the Michael Tabor silks and so this result was a profound moment in his illustrious career. “Winning the Arc is an incredible feeling and it represents a lifetime’s work, but in general terms, you don’t tend to succeed,” he commented. “It’s taken some time to bring to fruition. Harping back to the past, we bred Hurricane Run and were placed with Borgia. In order to win these types of races, you need at times to know how to work in partnership, which is something we embarked upon with Andreas Jacobs. I hadn’t expected to beat Enable or bargained for the way the horse picked up in the straight.”

Retirement beckons for Waldgeist, but whether it is immediate is open to debate according to the owner of Gestut Ammerland. “I don’t wish to make a decision before consulting with Andre Fabre first,” Von Boetticher added. “We will do what is right by the horse. They aren’t machines, but living creatures.” Andreas Jacobs was also ecstatic at the result and said, “It’s a feeling comparable to the day I got married! When it comes to breeding horses, you don’t always need to follow the latest trends. At our stud, we prize those renowned and stamina-endowed German lines. We used that criteria when it came to standing our stallion Nathaniel.”

Pierre-Charles Boudot was to go on to a third group 1 victory in the Prix de la Foret later in the afternoon, which brought his total of wins over the two-day meeting to six, with five at pattern level. He summed up the feeling afterwards. “It hasn’t sunk in yet, but I’m over the moon. To win the Arc is just a wonderful feeling,” he commented. “Waldgeist is a horse of a lifetime as far as I’m concerned and I’m happy to say that it rang true today, as he showed tremendous heart. We had a lot of respect for Enable, but today she was simply beaten by a better horse on the day. It’s all a little crazy right now and I can die happy. You need a crack performer to win the Arc.”

“I was struggling to lie up with the pace on account of the very strong tempo and the ground was very sticky,” Boudot added. “My horse was crying out for a patient ride, so I let him do his own thing in the false straight, which enabled him to recharge his batteries. We made our effort on the outside of the pack and on hitting the straight, there was a wall of four horses fighting it out in front and my horse subsequently picked up.”

None of Enable’s connections would be drawn into future plans for Enable and Teddy Grimthorpe was keen to remain positive from a position that has become alien to them where this particular performer is concerned. “She has run a great race and we are all very proud of her,” he said. “The ground was too holding for her, but she ran a blinder and we couldn’t have asked any more of her. Enable has become a real icon. She is held in deep affection by many people and the public at large. The Prince will decide her future and at this moment in time, we are counting our blessings that a mare of such quality has come into our lives. The expectation levels coming into the race were simply huge and it’s great that so much positive energy has accompanied her on this particular journey. It is very emotional for us all and she has made us proud. We don’t love her any less for that defeat.”

Sottsass beat Japan in the private battle of the Classic generation in a strong Arc and trainer Jean-Claude Rouget was happy with the outcome. “We are delighted and the four leading fancies have filled the first four places, so the logic has been respected,” he said. “It was a true-run race. I had feared that Ghaiyyath might sail into a big lead, but that wasn’t the case. Every horse in the race was there with a chance and it was a very good race. The rumour mill beforehand suggested that Waldgeist wouldn’t act on a heavy track, but it proved to be his summer! He’s a seasoned performer and his preparation was geared towards this race. Enable also ran her race, as did Sottsass. Cristian Demuro gave him a perfect ride and the colt courageously held onto third. He deserves a good break during the winter and it’s on the cards that he will stay in training next year. So expect to see him contest the 2020 edition of the Arc!” Peter Brant’s representative Michel Zerolo added, “He’s run a great race and proved that he is the best 3-year-old in Europe. Whether he runs again this year or not, we’ll have to see but the Breeders’ Cup is a possibility.”

Aidan O’Brien was also satisfied with the effort of Japan and Magical, with the latter fading out of contention to be six lengths behind her stablemate in fifth. “They both ran very well,” he commented. “This ground may have been on the soft side, but it was the same for the other contenders. It’s possible that these two horses will race again this season.”

Waldgeist is the first foal out of the G3 Prix Penelope heroine Waldlerche (GB) (Monsun {Ger}), who was likewise a TDN Rising Star and who also produced last year’s G2 Prix de Malleret winner Waldlied (GB) (New Approach {Ire}). A half-sister to the G1 St Leger hero Masked Marvel (GB) (Montjeu {Ire}) and the dam of this year’s Listed Pat Eddery S. scorer Al Dabaran (GB) (Dubawi {Ire}), she is out of Waldmark (Ger) (Mark of Esteem {GB}) who raced in the Newsells Park Stud colours and was runner-up in the G2 Falmouth S. She in turn is a daughter of the four-times group-winning German champion and runaway G2 Deutsches St Leger heroine Wurftaube (Ger) (Acatenango {Ger}) whose other progeny includes the G1 Deutsches Derby hero Waldpark (Ger) (Dubawi {Ire}) and the G2 Diana Trial runner-up Waldjagd (GB) (Observatory) who is herself the dam of this year’s Listed Prix du Pont Neuf winner Urwald (GB) (Le Havre {Ire}).

Waldmark’s full-sister Waldbeere (GB) is the dam of the six-times group-winning sire Wiesenpfad (Fr) (Waky Nao {GB}), this year’s G3 Hackwood S. hero Waldpfad (Ger) (Shamardal)–who was disappointingly last of 12 in the Foret later on this card–and the listed scorer Waldtraut (Ger) (Oasis Dream {GB}) who was also third in the G1 Preis der Diana. Waldlerche’s 3-year-old gelding Waldstern (GB) (Sea the Stars {Ire}) is a useful handicapper for the John Gosden stable, while she also has an unraced 2-year-old colt by Kingman (GB) named Waldkonig (GB) and a yearling full-sister to Waldgeist.

Sunday, ParisLongchamp, France
QATAR PRIX DE L’ARC DE TRIOMPHE-G1, €5,000,000, ParisLongchamp, 10-6, 3yo/up, c/f, 12fT, 2:31.97, vsf.
1–WALDGEIST (GB), 131, h, 5, by Galileo (Ire)
1st Dam: Waldlerche (GB) (GSW-Fr & SP-Ger), by Monsun (Ger)
2nd Dam: Waldmark (Ger), by Mark of Esteem (Ire)
3rd Dam: Wurftaube (Ger), by Acatenango (Ger)
O-Gestut Ammerland & Newsells Park Stud; B-Waldlerche Partnership (GB); T-Andre Fabre; J-Pierre-Charles Boudot. €2,857,000. Lifetime Record: MG1SP-Eng, 21-8-3-3, €4,846,576. *1/2 to Waldlied (GB) (New Approach {Ire}), GSW-Fr, $123,344. Werk Nick Rating: A+++ *Triple Plus*. Click for the eNicks report & 5-cross pedigree.
2–Enable (GB), 128, m, 5, Nathaniel (Ire)–Concentric (GB), by Sadler’s Wells. O-Khalid Abdullah; B-Juddmonte Farms Ltd (GB); T-John Gosden. €1,143,000.
3–Sottsass (Fr), 125, c, 3, Siyouni (Fr)–Starlet’s Sister (Ire), by Galileo (Ire). (€340,000 Ylg ’17 ARAUG). O-White Birch Farm; B-Ecurie des Monceaux (FR); T-Jean-Claude Rouget. €571,500.
Margins: 1 3/4, 1 3/4, HF. Odds: 13.10, 0.50, 6.60.
Also Ran: Japan (GB), Magical (Ire), Soft Light (Fr), Kiseki (Jpn), Nagano Gold (GB), French King (GB), Ghaiyyath (Ire), Blast Onepiece (Jpn), Fierement (Jpn). Click for the Racing Post result or the free Equineline.com catalogue-style pedigree. Video, sponsored by Fasig-Tipton.

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