Inns Of Court, ridden by Mickael Barzalona, wins the G2 Prix de Gros-Chene race in Chantilly on Sunday.
Inns Of Court tried five furlongs for the first time in the G2 Prix de Gros-Chene at Chantilly, France, on Sunday, and emerged the impressive winner.
The five-year-old Invincible Spirit horse, trained by Andre Fabre and ridden by Mickael Barzalona, is unbeaten this year, having enjoyed a comfortable half-length victory on his seasonal return in the six-furlong Listed Prix Servanne at Maisons-Laffitte on Friday, April 26.
Inns Of Court chased the leaders as third of the five runners nearest the stands’ rail and cruised up to challenge approaching the quarter-mile marker.
He was asked to stretch, soon took the lead and ran on well to win easily by two and a half lengths from Sestilio Jet in 57.64s.
This was Inns Of Court’s greatest success and follows three G3 victories over six and seven furlongs, plus two short-head seconds at G1 level in the seven-furlong Prix de la Foret at Longchamp in October last year and at a mile in the 2017 Prix Jacques Le Marois.
Lisa-Jane Graffard of Godolphin was delighted with success: “It was an excellent performance.
“I have not had the chance to discuss it with Andre yet, but all options are on the table.
“Inns of Court is in the Diamond Jubilee Stakes (G1, 6f, June 22) at Royal Ascot and it will be a question of whether Andre considers supplementing Inns Of Court for the King’s Stand Stakes (G1, 5f, June 18) as well.
“The horse has done what everybody hoped to see today and it is very exciting – he has improved again and is really reaching maturity.
“He has shown plenty of class over five, six, seven and eight furlongs – it is fantastic and really lovely for the horse to be two from two this year.”
Barzalona reported: “I think Inns Of Court has found his way now over five and six furlongs.
“He travelled easily and then picked up nicely as well – he is going the right way.
“I think he will be one of the most fancied horses if he runs in the Diamond Jubilee at Royal Ascot and after the way he won today it looks like he will be 100 per cent ready for the race.”
Meanwhile, G1 Poule d’Essai des Poulains victor Persian King ran well to finish second in another French Classic, the G1 Prix du Jockey Club, over an extended 10 furlongs.
The three-year-old Kingman colt raced a bit freely after emerging from an outside stall (14) among the 15 runners and was held up by Pierre-Charles Boudot in mid-division as a good pace was set up front.
The Andre Fabre-trained Persian King made smooth progress after turning into the straight to go second two furlongs out.
He ran on well and led after another half-furlong, but was headed by the winner Sottsass inside the final furlong.
Persian King kept on to the line, going down by two lengths, and finished two lengths ahead of the third Motamarris, with the rest of the runners spread out. The winning time of 2m 2.90s, a new course record, came on ground officially described as good.
The other Godolphin runner, Roman Candle, with Barzalona up, raced towards the rear on the inside, but stayed on to be fifth, another three and a quarter lengths behind Persian King.
Lisa-Jane Graffard of Godolphin commented: “Persian King ran a super race and was beaten by a colt with a better turn of foot.
“It is a hot afternoon and Persian King raced on the wide outside. Pierre-Charles thought Persian King saw out the trip, running on well to the line.
“So it was probably not a lack of stamina which led to defeat, but given Persian King’s wonderful record over shorter distances, it is not inconceivable that he will return to a mile.
“Andre will make that decision after seeing how Persian King comes out this race.
“Roman Candle ran very well. He was a bit caught for speed, but then ran on in the closing stages.
“His next race could be the Grand Prix de Paris (G1, 12 furlongs, July 14, Longchamp).”
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